Tuesday, April 1, 2014

OUR EDTC IS FUELED BY HORSE MANURE!!!

Thanks to a loyal reader for the title of this post. 

UPDATE: Fort Erie Race Track Season to start on May 27 and end on September 30. 37 days of racing brought to you by your provincial tax money. Do the math: close to $6 million, divided by 37 race days. 

Thibert was interviewed this morning on CKTB. Did not mention The Year of the Horse festival. Earlier, an opinion posted by CKTB's Tim Denis contained this:

However, Jim Thibert, CEO of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, said the announcement of additional funding has still not produced enough cash for the track to host a full season…instead a Readers Digest version of a season that totals about 37 dates.  The number of race dates held at Fort Erie has been steadily declining for years, and took a significant hit last year. After running 80 race dates in 2012, the track dropped to 50 in 2013, and could end up as low as 40 this year so you’ll forgive the people of Fort Erie and the people in the industry, who feel like political footballs, if they call BS on this announcement.

Monday, March 31, at town council, according to Kris Dubé from Niagara Bullet

"The municipality was forced to make a decision to approve pitching in $500,000 to support the track."

Don Lubberts called it what it really is: Bonusing. (Had to add that word to my dictionary)


Here is what the Municipal Act of 2001 cites regarding bonusing:

2.1 Section 106 - Municipal Act, 2001

Section 106(1) and (2) of the Municipal Act, 2001 prohibits municipalities from directly or indirectly assisting any manufacturing business or other industrial or commercial enterprise through the granting of bonuses. Prohibited actions include:
  1. Giving or lending money or municipal property
  2. Guaranteeing borrowing
  3. Leasing or selling any municipal property at below fair market value
  4. Giving a total or partial exemption from any levy, charge or fee
Section 106(3) of the Municipal Act, 2001 provides an exception to this bonusing rule for municipalities exercising powers under the provisions of Section 28(6), (7) or (7.2) of the Planning Act or Section 365.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001.

On Monday (03/31/2014) night, Council voted to give $500,000. from its reserve fund to the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium. It would help the FELRC to purchase some industrial property from racetrack owner El-Ad as part of a deal for a new owner to purchase the track. It has also been reported that the money would pay the $400,000. lease cost for the track for the year. This was rammed through council last night on the demand of Jim Thibert, general manager of the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation who also heads up the FELRC.
The property in question has an interesting history. It is currently assessed at $152,000.  Of course this does not add up. More to come on this later.
Don Lubberts did a brave thing by voting against this $500,000. gift to the FELRC. This council has worked hard to keep taxes down and save money. The reserve fund had well over a million due to these efficiencies. Now, because Jim Thibert was able to bully the council into ponying up a half a million, the reserve fund is lessened.
Millions of taxpayer dollars going to save a horse racing track that has been bleeding red ink for decades.
If it were any other industry, it would have closed down long ago.

(Donnie Lubberts does not expect to be invited to the opening day festivities.)


46 comments:

  1. Donny is right, "if it was any other industry it would of closed down long ago!" as other's business have also left this area in the past 10 plus years, many of those businesses were better paying and none were offered any sweet deal such as this! Jimmy has too many hats and should give up some of them Either do his Job as EDTC or leave and work for the FELRC!

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    1. There was an April Fool report that Jim resigned from the EDTC to run the track. For a second there, I was relieved. Wish it were true. Thibert's obsession with the racetrack has overshadowed the many other opportunities that are present in Fort Erie. Need someone with a larger vision, not one blinded by horse manure.

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  2. THE RACE TRACK Nordic Gaming's Mother didn't raise any fools. She told them if they threw their hooks, lines and sinkers into the water, sooner or later they would catch a big fish. As a tax payer, if your mouth hurts this morning, that hook could be the reason. Stay tuned. In the meantime, as a tax payer, you might want to swing around the Land Titles Office in St. Catharines; lots of information there within the next couple of weeks. THE FORT ERIE RACE TRACK aka 1277230 ONTARIO INC.
    Regards, Shirley Wallington Grace

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  3. This present system is unsustainable, unless we get back the slots, we have no choice but to let the Race Track go, Queens Park used to get a billion dollars a year from all of the racetracks slots, we had a recession that impacted gambling revenue everywhere, even Las Vegas but the cretins at Queens Park said the slots were not producing enough money that things were down, those people who live off the people like parasites are in La-La land.

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    1. Sorry, I cannot see that the mostly part-time low-skill jobs at the racetrack are worth saving. Horse owners are independent contractors. How many real jobs are involved here and what do they pay? We've all seen good paying jobs leave the area. Plants closed. No multi-million dollar payment from the province to keep those jobs.

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  4. Can-Gro the canning plant that was in St,Davids was given millions to upgrade their facilities. the plant was bought out by a holding company from New York City they took the brand names and pulled up stakes and now get their tomato products and fruit from China.so there is never any guarantees when it comes to giving truckloads of our cash to business

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  5. CorruptionFighterApril 1, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    I for one am very glad that the track is still alive and somewhat kicking though I agree with many of the points being made here. Was it right to give a 1/2 million $$ of our local tax money to a private company to MAYBE buy more time and hold on to some jobs??....Time will tell though I fear that most of you are right.

    As for OL Jimbo, in a town full of people throwing conflict of interest allegations around constantly, is he not in a rather blatantly large conflict of interest himself when he twists council's arm for money for the track as head of the FELRC but not for other hurting local business as the head of the EDTC. Seems like the FELRC gets some pretty preferential treatment compared to most local business.

    I for one think he needs to loose one of those hats, probably the EDTC(which we have absolutely no need for anyway) as his bias is totally for the track to the obvious detriment of all other business. Try getting him to agree to that though is another matter.

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    1. Jimmy has a very long history at scamming various governments for funding. I was quite surprised to learn that our esteemed development expert managed to start an arts academy with the help of $10 million from the provincial govt of the day (led by Mike Harris). Withi years it was bankrupt and the Executive Director, Jim Thibert, was moving on to more fertile pastures. This guy wheels and deals with taxpayer money beyond the reach of elected office. It's time for Fort Erie to get rid of him before he suckers us into foregoing even more tax dollars to his ridiculous schemes. I encourage you to read about the White Mountain Academy of Arts for more details on his scheme.

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  6. The slots are not the answer either. Gambling does nothing to enhance business. It's a cash grab by cash strapped governments. It takes money away from business. The same goes for medical marijuana. Suddenly they are going to legalize it. Cash is the name of the game and there isn't enough of it. When governments are this desperate, we are in trouble. This is the economic system government and business devised and it needs to be overhauled, right down to the fundamentals. It doesn't work.

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    1. Peachy, I can understand your frustration, but you are directing it in the wrong direction.

      Yeah, okay, governments toss money to support a faltering venue, like the Fort Erie Racetrack. The slots came out because the revenue from them dwindled, and unfortunately that affected the stability of the track itself. Many may see the track as a seasonal attraction, which it is, but the workers there are counting on the income the receive to support their families. And you know what ...... they spend their money locally, supporting local business'.

      The problem with our economic woes might just fall on YOUR shoulders. Do you shop locally. A lot of business' open in Fort Erie and the various communities it encompasses only to close a year or two later. Why?

      Because their community does not support them. I will bet you a dollar to a donut ( okay, that's an old saying because a donut probably costs more than a dollar today ) that if you went into a LOCALLY OWNED grocery store in our community and, after picking up the necessities to feed your family, approached the manager and said " I tried to keep my purchases down, and I only have $50 to pay for my groceries, can you help me?" , I can guarantee you that that owner/ manager would stand beside you at the till and honour your request.

      You would not see that at a big box store. SHOP LOCALLY. SUPPORT YOUR BUSINESS OWNERS, and you will support YOUR COMMUNITY.

      You never know when your child will need a job to earn money for their education.

      It is up to the COMMUNITY to make a business succeed. A corporation might bring that business in, but it is up to YOU, and YOU and YOU to support them.

      SHOP CANADIAN !!!!!!

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    2. Do a little research. It is not me who does not shop locally. Big business muscles out small ones. When people don't have the money of course they are going to buy where they can save the most. Big businesses have the resources to strong arm suppliers who sell to them for less and push the little guys out.

      Slots and gambling are not going to be the saviour of our economy. Do a little research on the reports out there about what gambling actually does to society, you may be surprised to find out how insidious it really is. Why do you think government was exempted from the criminal code in order to run gambling operations? That's right, for everyone else it is a criminal activity, but not government. And these people are our leaders! Fortunately young people, for the most part, are aware of the possible consequences and are not flocking to the casinos like government hoped. Relying on something as unreliable as gambling revenues is just plain stupid.

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  7. As the last writer noted, Gambling, Tobbaco, numbers, alcohol, and now Marijuana are now run by Government, So what is next? why the sex trade, will your local pimp be a government employee. It makes it damn hard for the mob, to make a living these days.!!!

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  8. I know it is not a popular thing to say in this town: the race track should be able to be self-sustaining. There are many who are fiercely loyal to the track and emotional about its possible demise. I can't help thinking about the Crystal Beach Amusement Park and how it was left to go bankrupt and die. A lot more money came into the community through the amusement park than the race track. The amusement park's demise was explained away as a result of people's changing tastes. I believe that is true too of the race track. I do remember the days when a day at the races was a big deal. Went once or twice a season and that was it. Can't afford it now; many other people can't.

    Jim Thibert can say that the track is striving to be self-sufficient but a $7.9 million shortfall like last season is just too big a hurdle to overcome. Slots are just another way to take money from those who probably can't afford to lose.

    How many more times will the province, regardless of which party is in power, keep subsidizing the race tracks?

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  9. What the hell is the Ontario government doing in the horse racing business anyway ? Whoever is sure that 16 horse racing tracks are an essential service is not thinking straight ! And why my taxes are funding the sham here in Fort Erie is beyond infuriating. This is the most distasteful sort of charity on the part of both governments - these monies could do far more good deployed elsewhere. To prop up an industry that really ought to be put out of its misery only delays our ability to focus our energy and resources on something that is meaningfully oriented to the future!

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    Replies
    1. I'm with you. It seems that one of governments main functions now is to channel money from the taxpayer to corporations. We bail out more businesses and what do we get for it? More jobs? Is that working? Where are the statistics?

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  10. Why is the Town assisting in the Purchase of Nordic Gaming properties? If the Consortium needs to play real estate with Nordic then let them fund the deal. The taxpayers of Fort Erie will not benefit from this. $500,000 is quite a chunk to removed from the Towns Reserve fund especially when so many other areas like infrastructure need money. Doug says it is NOT a Grant then is there a promise to repay from the Consortium? If the track is $2.4 million less in funding from last years $7.9 Million (which reported a loss) then how is the Town getting their money back?
    There is more to this story & the taxpayers are being left in the dark. No full disclosure & over sight On Dougies watch as long as Thibert is in the middle of it.

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  11. CorruptionFighterApril 3, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    so has Whitfield coughed up who is behind dirty dougie's suppressing of the democratic process lawsuit yet?
    Costing the taxpayer yet again.

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    Replies
    1. I think they have a couple of weeks to cough up the names. Some of us believe there will be an offer to settle to avoid revealing the names. Regardless, this will cost the taxpayers large. All for a personal vendetta, played out in the courts.

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    2. CorruptionFighterApril 3, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      I would think you're right.

      There is no way the dirty money backing dougie and his chamber of commerce backed thieves of the public purse want that known or how much this has cost hard working Joe the average taxpayer.

      I know let's give them a beach and maybe they will go away!! yeah right, what would be next.

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  12. CorruptionFighterApril 4, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Sadly, I think the track is doomed.

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    1. Glad to hear from you! Thought the ninjas would have scared you away. LOL

      Welcome to the Insane Asylum.

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    2. The ninjas have declared that you and I are insane. They devoted a post to you. Consider yourself flattered.

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    3. CorruptionFighterApril 4, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      Highly flattered that these friggin thieves and rapists of the public purse, in some cases for decades and have made small fortunes off other backs should so honour me.

      The spot light is on the rats now and the biggest, boldest and the most to loose, have and will scream foul as their ill gotten easy lunches are threatened.

      Run rats run, your days are limited.

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  13. so the NRP were called to investigate the Councillors' legitimate tour inside the Lobster House so the bloggers could report a break-in.. What moron would do that? What silliness and another waste of tax dollars.

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    1. Add that to all the calls to the NRP regarding something I put in my blog. They even bragged that I was under police investigation. Not true. Ironically, the harassment stopped when their NRP buddy was arrested.

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  14. If the former councillors had not piddled away close to 30.000.000 million dollars we could have bought the Race Track and had something like the Welland Fairgrounds or Erie County Fairgrounds and build other smart venues that could have attracted lots of visitors to our Town, We had the money, but with no vision we hire a bunch of high priced staff, that reaped big bucks and then fled the coop. and no doubt found another gullible Town to fleece. Big Jim after spending over 10.million dollars has not added one dollar of value to our Town.but continally gnaws on the hand that feeds him.

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  15. what goes around comes aroundApril 5, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Wynne has served a lawsuit to Hudak, I bet she could also sue Mayor Martin and Thibert for accusations.
    How appropriate would that be to turn the tables on those two?

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    1. I remember the remarks said by Martin after the closed meeting the other night. Railed against the Liberal government and Wynne for not giving the Fort Erie Race Track enough bail-out money. They should be grateful they got any money from the province. Of course, Martin is a loyal Tory so he takes every opportunity he can to bash the Liberals.

      Tim Hudak is probably the worst party leader the provincial tories have ever had. He blew a golden opportunity in the last election and he looks like he's going to do the same in the coming election. He may as well hand over the premier's job to the NDP. Stupid, amateur move to go after the Liberals. They are doing a fine job of self-destruction on their own.

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  16. CorruptionFighterApril 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    The dark side A$$holes think George Jardine is me so I will make it official,......

    Hey dark side A$$holes George Jardine is not me but from everything you have said about the man I believe he would be a good candidate for council along with any of THE FOUR as opposed to the dirt bags who you are putting forward to continue the rape and pillage of our local taxes for your own selfish purposes. After decades of self serving control, your ol boys club/ Chamber of Commerce is directly responsible for the mess this town is in. If any of you looked further than your bank accounts, egos or power trips we would be much further ahead.

    BTW, your moniker is and always has been " While you were out we were DESTROYING the fort". The only thing any of you has ever defended is your own interests. Period. Joe the average taxpayer is waking up and you all should be worried. Run rats run, you will be caught.

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    Replies
    1. I had an interesting conversation with a local taxpayer last weekend. He does not read any blogs; he gets his information from the local newspapers and from conversations with his customers and friends. He is concerned only with his tax dollars and how they are being spent. I reminded him that this council kept the tax hike to the lowest it has been in years. That can be laid directly at the door of the four councillors who worked very hard to keep expenses under control.

      When it is all boiled down, all the strum und drang that has been going on the last four years means nothing to most voters. They vote with their pocketbooks in mind, not the latest gossip. Just wait until they find out how much this latest lawsuit is going to cost them. All to get revenge because the four fired the town lawyer, which is in their purview.

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  17. The "nasties" are living up to their reputation. Recent blogs show their desperation.

    The yellow signs posted KEEP BAY BEACH LANDS PUBLIC.
    I am proud to be a member of a community that does not want a private development to take over our only beachfront property.

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    1. Nasties....Meg I don't know you but I am a concerned person about this community and I know for a fact that there was never going to be a private beach...It was public.

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    2. That was a false narrative started by those in favour of the twelve story condo tower that those against the tower were telling people that the beach would become private. We never said that, those of us who knew. But we also know that the tower project would give the public the impression that the beach was private. You must understand that.

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    3. Right twistedlips, Blocked by a Highrise! And you wouldn't have any problem if they instead build that Highrise where the Waverly use to be!

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  18. Here is a true account of a twisted lips statement:

    Early on in the Bay Beach issue, Martha Lockwood declared from her high seat in Council Chambers that the majority of Crystal Beach businesses supported the Molinaro condo development. Later on she admitted that she hadn't taken a poll at all.
    The then president of the Crystal Beach Business Improvement Association and another member did take a consensus and determined that only one business along Erie Road favoured the condo development on the public beachfront property.

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    1. That must of been Mia, who doesn't think that anyone should be going to that area unless to shop.

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    2. At her store. She's the ninjas' eyes and ears in CB and she gets it all wrong every time.

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    3. Everytime we go by that store it is close. I like shopping locally but have my boundaries.

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    4. She also has closed circuit TV cameras to capture anyone who dares to park in her lot and go to the restaurant next door. What is it with these people and their audio/video devices? Remember that peter K. has them in his restaurant on Jarvis.

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    5. I didn't realize she did that too, thank you for the heads up! I don't really have to worry since 99.9% of the time we go by that place it is closed and a chain across the parking lot, so there is very little chance of us parking in it and she should realize that she doesn't own the spot in front of her shop or the entrance area to her parking lot.

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    6. I hope you haven't forgotten when she accused those opposed to the tower for vandalizing her car after she spoke in favour of the tower at council. Got a lot of press on a wild-assed assumption when the source of the problem probably was much closer to home as she had been robbed and vandalizing before her council appearance. Rumour has it that the Molinaros paid for the repairs to her car.

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    7. I'm sure Molinaros paid for a few things around here, all but the Bay Beach Property!!

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  19. paying attentionApril 6, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    I remember the incident when her spiffy little sports car was hammered. Apparently because the town parking lot was so full because of so many speaking about Bay Beach that many people had to park at the arena. My theory was that some kid came out of his hockey game miserable that he lost and pounded her vehicle with his skates. There are always several incidents of vandalizing in any town.
    What I found disturbing was that Mia called a Hamilton television station and they came to Crystal Beach to interview her. She accused Friends of Crystal Beach for retaliation because she spoke. Lorraine Severson started the report with "it is getting ugly in Crystal Beach"!
    Bob Lund was interviewed in that news segment long before he became a member. I remember him standing in front of the Lobster House during a snow storm and saying that he had never known a condo to be a tourist attraction.

    I am just letting the public know how long this stupid situation has gone on. I suspect it was her friend Martha Lockwood that talked her into such an outrageous accusation. It couldn't have been easy for Mia to appear on television. Of course the local rags picked it up with our illustrious mayor backing her story.

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    1. I was under the impression that the vandalism happened at her home that few even knew where she lived. Anyway, it was very bad reporting for the media to follow up on her version of the story. I know condo opponents who have had their cars vandalized. Could it be those in favour of the condos? How can we know for sure unless they were caught in the act.

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  20. @ Get Real....what do I have to do with a condo at the waverly??? I don't understand your statement?????

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