Thursday, June 5, 2014

NOW, THIS IS THE WAY TO ATTRACT JOBS TO A COMMUNITY

Now that long ago, my home town, Buffalo, was mired in corruption, nepotism and graft. The city went steadily downward for several decades. It was one of the reasons I left. Very discouraging to see your home town fall into blight and disrepair. In contrast, I always enjoyed coming to the family summer home in Bay Beach. It was a wonderful place to enjoy the beach and the laid-back lifestyle. At that time, Fort Erie had a healthy economy.

Flash forward twenty years and it was apparent that Buffalo was on the brink of total collapse. Crystal Beach was following suit with the loss of the amusement park. Fort Erie was floundering, losing businesses and manufacturing plants.

Flash forward another twenty years and Buffalo began its long, slow climb out of its economic depression. A new mayor had a vision and he has largely seen that vision materialize. Community groups had become powerful forces for change and grants were applied for and received from state and federal agencies. The focus for Buffalo became its waterfront which had been allowed to become derelict except for a few bright spots.

Today, came the announcement on our local radio station: More Companies Moving to Buffalo.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has given Buffalo a great tool to enhance and attract local businesses:

The governor stopped in Buffalo on Wednesday to plant eight more seeds in his quest to rebuild the Buffalo Niagara economy, announcing the first eight companies picked to be part of the state’s Start-Up NY tax-free zones for new businesses.

Later in the article, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown offered his philosophy that the mayor of Fort Erie might take note of:

“For a community to grow in a healthy way, you want economic diversity,” Brown said. “You don’t want to put all of your seeds in one basket.”


How true that is. At this point, Fort Erie's Economic Development and Tourism Corporation is focused on one thing only: propping up the failing Fort Erie Race Track. In Crystal Beach, a few people think that a twelve story condo building on public beachfront is the answer for the village's woes.

Wise planners and those whose job it is to spur the economy know otherwise. It's time for Fort Erie to take down the "Closed for Business" and the anti-Liberal banner at town hall and work with all levels of government to bring Fort Erie out of its economic depression. It takes someone with a vision and an understanding of what does not work and what will work.  Most of all, it takes an honest, courageous commitment to make Fort Erie a better place. The Four Councillors: Bob Steckley, John Hill, Don Lubberts and Paul Collard got that message, yet they have been thwarted, sued, stalked, and harassed by those who want to keep Fort Erie as an example of backward thinking - the same type of thinking that nearly destroyed Buffalo. 


To borrow the phase at the end of the Buffalo News article:


After a half century of decline, that would be a welcome change.

37 comments:

  1. I have a lot of family that live around Buffalo, I am also very impressed with the Mayor Byron Brown, I have never seen him appear ruffled, when the people did their protests about Wall Street Bankers in Niagara Square, winter months yet. he did not send in the men with batons, he worked with them and relations were always cordial and calm, I remember Mayor Jimmy Griffin, and he seemed to have a beef just about everything, the press and other politicians et,cet,. What is now happenning in Buffalo, is what has happened already in Baltimore and Cleveland , two cities, that am am very aquainted with, my neice worked at their old Cleveland Press, also my Grand-daughter was born in Strongsville a Cleveland suburb. Buffalo is really happening and we in Fort Erie will get some spill over. Let's be ready and embracing these new visitors. We can learn a lot from our neighbours.

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    1. It's nice that we both have a Baltimore connection. There, like Buffalo, it all started with its waterfront. Fabulous things were done to the harbor and it is now the scene of many activities. I love going to Buffalo's Harbor-front. Lots to do and it costs nothing to park where we go. Fort Erie has a distinct advantage because its waterfront was never ruined in the first place. Fort Erie just needs to embrace its waterfront as a beautiful asset and not sully its beauty with high rise condos which are so yesterday. Back in the 1950s, high rise low-income housing was built near the shore in Buffalo. Ruined everything and it soon became the symbol of urban blight. The former "Dante Project" has been rehabbed to private condos, due to infilling, is now set back away from the waterfront and framed by trees and landscaping. Just a bunch of tall buildings in the background. Buildings closer to the water are no higher than two stories. Good views of the harbor and lake. Large marina on site.

      It took over fifty years for that mistake to be corrected, but it was well worth the effort. As to Jimmy Griffin: he had a family summer cottage near the beach on Graeber. I interviewed him for an article I wrote for my own newspaper. He had mellowed a lot from his "quit complaining about lack of snowplowing; get a six-pack and go home" days. But he was also typical of a pol of the day. His brother held the lucrative job of Park Commissioner and many of his South Buffalo Irish friends held big jobs in his administration. Really, that has got to stop.

      As a side note: it has been verified that Mayor Brown and his family spend part of their summer vacation in Crystal Beach. Also, the deputy mayor of Buffalo lives on my old street in Buffalo. Very middle class but very proud neighbourhood.

      That is why it is so important to embrace and show respect for our friends from Buffalo. They have been a very important part of this community for well over a century. They want only what is best for their favourite getaway spot.

      They do pay taxes, sometimes very high taxes. They do a right to an opinion about how property their tax money is used and they do have a right to express their opinion on land issues that will directly affect their property values and their enjoyment of their homes.

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  2. RICHARD BERRY FOR MAYOR !!!!!!

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  3. The great unwashed from East Fort Erie will not appreciate additional visitors from the other side of the Peace Bridge. They have made it very clear that anti americanism is still alive in well in that part of Town. Too bad we couldn't build a short cut to the beach!!

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  4. Sad isn't it that the long-buried anti-Americanism in Fort Erie has resurfaced thanks to the Great Unwashed? While their mentor/hero struggles to make the race track relevant again, he needs those Americans to keep it going. Used to be attendance at the Fort Erie Race Track was probably 90% American in its glory days. Same with Fort Erie and its villages long before amalgamation. The population almost doubled in the summer, thanks to the American influx. Taxes were paid by American summer residents - big taxes. That money helped keep taxes low in town. Since the American presence has lessened, the taxes have gone up as the locals are using more town services year round. That is a simplistic approach to Fort Erie's tax woes, but it is a valid part of the reason taxes have risen.

    Border towns always rely on revenue coming across the border. Fort Erie has always benefited from its proximity to Buffalo. Yet, these morons from the north/east end of town want Americans to "stay home" or "go home," especially if they have an opinion of how their tax dollars are spent. Americans (and all summer residents for that matter) are expected to gleefully hand over their tax money and let the current administration use it whatever way they want. American summer residents are expected to keep their mouths shut and not complain about anything. According to the GU, you have to be born and raised in Fort Erie to have any say in what goes on in town. Thankfully, thanks to shifting demographics, that will soon become an empty boast.

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  5. I dont know how our friends from the other side of the Niagara River can take any of that Ninja stuff seriously, what are they 10 year olds, in black hoodies? What next lets all have a secret meeting in the treehouse? Bring the Sears catalog, theres underwear ads Wally!!! An insult to Japanese history in every way, maybe too much ninja turtles TV in the 1980s..."and now back to the show"

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  6. The Fort Erie Ninjas, are indeed an infantile bunch of imbeciles, they now use another hate blog site to spew their bile , vile and venom, nobody should ever take Lesley's children seriously, or believe anything that they gurgle up from their potty mouths.

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  7. Really Sharon? The empty suit Byron Brown has done wonders, and is so far ahead of little old Fort Erie? You need a life, or maybe even a drive to Erie PA. They do seem to have most of their oars in the water. A nice convention centre on the water, some CONDOS, great waterfront restaurants, boat cruises, a beautiful park, fishing charters for tourists, great tax free shopping, a racetrack and casino, clean as far as I could see, friendlier people than the wealthy beachfront Western New Yorkers that we are unfortunate enough to have to deal with. Buffalo still has a totally wasted waterfront, a huge welfare and unemployment problem, and you think we should emulate them? Give your head a big shake! Don't become a Canadian citizen, you don't have the intelligence to see past your front door. We already have too many of those, well, at least FOUR of them, don't need any more.

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    1. I just took a tour of Erie, Pa and was hard pressed to find where they have Condo's on the lake side, they do how ever have lots of Green space an park lands and I love the view when heading out along Peninsula Dr and to the point of that peninsula. Are they Giving away any of their park or green space to Developers? The four in the 1st term of Doug Martin being mayor caused so many problems are you referring to them??

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    2. Buffalo has a long way to get back to what it was over a century ago: one of the most prosperous cities in the US. It is taking steps and its waterfront is now a great place to visit. New strategies are slowly bringing in new jobs.

      Let's just compare Fort Erie with Buffalo. What is Fort Erie doing to bring in new jobs and technologies? What is Fort Erie doing to enhance its waterfront?

      Buffalo recently hosted some 1300 "New Urbanists" in town and they freely gave advice on how to make Buffalo better.

      Fort Erie, on the other hand, has Jim Thibert whose main focus is a failing race track.

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  8. I still ask why are we vilified for not wanting a private residence development on our only tiny beachfront public property?

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  9. http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/2014/06/08/new-humberstone-speedways-sunday-night-program-cancelled I wonder if they will still be paying the employee's?

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    1. And I wonder what the attendance was at the Fort Erie Race Track, or if the races were cancelled. We'll never know because they seldom give out attendance numbers.

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    2. Is nothing safe from you criticism. What business is it of yours if the employees get paid? The owners can't control the weather .....GEESH !!!

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    3. I did not pose the question. It was a question, not a criticism. How is anyone to know if the employees are paid when it rains except someone who works there? Seems you are all too ready to accuse me of something, anything. Those who comment on this blog are free moral agents. They have their opinions and they have a right to them, just as you do.I just have to wonder why this particular conversation upset you.

      I went through Crystal Beach yesterday and was heartened to see crowds of people; cars parked all over the place and businesses busy with customers. I am grateful that we live in such a great little community and I hope that the weather and the business climate is perfect all summer long and into the fall. Big doings this year: Friday the Thirteenth Bicycle Day; Memories Days; Volleyball Tournaments on the Beach, Free concerts at Waterfront Park; and a few other surprises yet to be announced. Winnie Swalm and her crew are to be congratulated for their clever decorations and the bikes lining the streets pointing to the beach. Very innovative and they're a real conversation piece in Crystal Beach. Banners are up; flowers in baskets. Lookin' good Crystal Beach!

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    4. Irene, it was an observation by me. I have the right to point out that observation and it would suck to work at suck a place if during the limited spring/summer months that one would be scheduled to work that they close because of rain. It would be hard to make a decent wage in good weather let alone when they close! But I'm sure it's ok for your buddies to go threw Crystal beach Very,Very early in the morning, before most people are up and any business is open, just to video Crystal Beach to make the community look un-lived in and unwelcoming.

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  10. I, just like you, responded to 23 Prime's comment. I realize that you did not make the comment, so don't come off with that " Seems you are all too ready to accuse me of something, anything" . Holy smokes .... touchy or what?

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    1. Sorry. It happens when others pick your life apart and call you a liar about every little thing. Here's an example: I stated that I was on my way to see if the Molinaro sign was gone and the others called me a liar because I already posted a picture of the sign gone. Yes, I did post a picture but it was not taken by me. Wanted to see if the billboard was left up and it is. I have since heard that the high school students are planning a mural or something on that billboard. That is good news. There is also a group getting together to find interested people to paint a new mural at the entrance to the beach at Ashwood.

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  11. YOU ARE CORRECT. there are no condos on the lakefront on ERIE PA. Probably because some poor planning guy put a major roadway along there. What is worse? Anyway, I am thrilled that Sharon saw so much business in CB on the weekend. Give me a break. Where is the comparison to how even though they could have done a better job in Erie PA to the great empty suit Byron Brown?, or even to GREATER FORT ERIE area which has so much more usable beach and riverfront. But I guess the rest of our waterfront is occupied by summer residents, who won't even allow people to enjoy their beach, or drive past their homes to see the beautiful lighthouse? You talk about saving a great beach when you should be talking about why a certain privileged few, most of whom were born into money, can control the majority of the waterfront in Fort Erie. You defend these people for saving BAY BEACH from development , when their biggest interest is keeping the BAY BEACH users and potential development from encroaching on their happy summer times. I am beginning to believe that you have an anti FORT ERIE bias and that you are truly demented!

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    1. I think you really have it all wrong. Those who have lakefront private beaches have them because they were granted to their ancestors decades ago. Same with the road to the light house. After the lighthouse was decommissioned, the road was retained by those behind the gate. These people were not much involved in the condo dispute. Most couldn't have cared less. It was the middle class Canadians and summer residents who worked to save the waterfront public property. It was also Canadian voters who elected Don Lubberts to represent Ward 5. He had promised to do all he could to stop the land giveaway to a high rise developer. You really don't seem to understand why people from Buffalo buy cottages in Crystal Beach and that is a shame. They like the laid back style and the nice beach within walking distance. Crack a couple of beers; put some hot dogs on the grill; have some friends over; enjoy the air and the warm atmosphere. My Dad was a fire chief; saved his money to buy a place in Bay Beach. There are many firefighters, police and teachers from Buffalo who bought cottages in the beach. They are not rich. They bought cottages because they could afford to buy a cottage in the Beach. Families have been coming here for generations, sunning on the former small beach allotted to Bay Beach residents, but mostly at Bay Beach. We often walked along the shore to the Canoe Club and no one bothered us. There are private beachfront estates all along the shore from Point Abino to Fort Erie. Most of the owners mind their own business; pay high taxes and want to be left alone. They are not your enemies, nor do they even care what you think about them.

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  12. paying attentionJune 9, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    I fought the condo encroachment on the PUBLIC BEACHFRONT PROPERTY, I am Canadian and am not wealthy enough to afford a lakefront home, I consider that little stretch of Bay Beach as belonging to me and my grandchildren. It is our window to the lake.
    I do not resent those who are wealthy enough to afford their little piece of heaven. If they didn't personally make the money, then their grandparents did, and that's wonderful to be able to work hard and pass on your success to your progeny.

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    1. Exactly. When my father bought our cottage in Bay Beach, the deed contained "beach rights" through the road allowance at Lakewood. Our beach was a small plot with fences stretching into the water on each side. We would walk around the fence and go over to Rebstock's Bay Beach where all our friends who had cottages would be. Years later, that clause in deeds was eliminated when properties changed hands; eventually the Lakewood road allowance was bought by the next door cottage owners. So, we had no choice and had to go to Rebstock's or join one of the clubs that had beach rights. When the town bought the property, a lot of people were relieved that they would have an absolute right to the beach as it was now public, along with the property around it. What those from the North/East End do not understand that the people they are trashing are actually just regular folks, many who remember the loss of beach rights and steel fences into the lake. No one wants to go back to those days and the Molinaro's plans changed almost daily as, one-by-one, the promised "amenities" disappeared. We never trusted that the access to the public beach would not be compromised if the property was given to the Molinaros. We've seen it happen before - just down the road at the CBTYC. That property should never have been allowed to fall into a developers' hands. It should have been bought by some level of government and made into a public park. That didn't happen and another accessible beach became off-limits to regular people.

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  13. You can see the "thin edge of the wedge" regarding how public that land would have remained if that monument to Sadam Martin would have been built every time a persons belongings are searched going through that chain link gate by some sour faced hobbit in a uniform. This is likely illegal. Does this happen at Waverly, or any of the other public entrances to a beach area? No. You can see the beginning of a pattern that wasnt going to go well for us. Anything a person cares to sneak into this area can be easily done. That whole "search" gimmick is a power play to remind us, of what was supposed to be coming. Now get rid of it. Are those stuffed uniforms being paid using parking money? Add insult to injury. Lifeguards, yes, searching our stuff, no thanks. What a turnoff for visitors.

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    1. All those years ago, when the Rebstocks owned Bay Beach, I never saw a guard at the gate. People passing through the main gate were charged the princely sum of 25¢. Others wandered over from the "designated beach" or from lakefront cottages. Never saw a guard; no one searched our bags; never saw a fight on the beach or anything untoward. Lots of families; lots of young people. Everyone seemed to get along just fine. I'd bet that there was alcohol brought onto the beach; no one I knew did. Why bother? After a day at the beach, it was always great to come back to the cottage to have a "cool one." Truth be told: my father wanted a cottage in Canada because he loved the beer. Back then, you couldn't get it anywhere else. The rest of us, including our mother, loved the beach and the water. Pa stayed home, did some oil painting and enjoyed his Canadian beer.

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  14. Just looked at the (Ninja) site and they posted on their site pictures of Anne Marie and mentioned that Anne Marie was being cosy with Tim Hudak, and that she was agianst giving our tax money to the Race Track, that picture was Tim Hudaks mother who was once Stevensville Councillor, embracing her son, not Anne Marie Noyes. also of Stevensville. They are supposed to be the great fact checkers in our Town, they get a fail from me.!!!

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    1. Actually, Ann Marie Noyes is in the background in many of the pictures. It looks as though photographer Mike Sansano (I thought better of him) deliberately positioned himself so that Ann Marie Noyes was in the frame. Other photographers were standing directly in front of Hudak and his mother.

      And speaking of photographers, the guy who took my picture on the day I was pulled over by the NRP is a man who has a long record of encounters with the law. Neighbours complained about the mess in his backyard on Conway. They were harassed as a result. He was charged with assault and vandalism a number of times. Managed to get out from under it saying he was "seeking counseling." Like Rob Ford is serious about his recovery. (cough)So, the police had to be called to form an escort while RG's property was cleaned up. Yeah, a great guy to have on call. Stalks a number of people and is genuinely feared as he is one of those guys who could snap at any minute. But the ninjas like to use him to delve into people's personal lives like they are insulated from any investigation into their own lives. If the name-calling and lies continue, it might be time to open The Ninja File. And I did not threaten Steve Boyd. I offered him some advice. You ninjas would jump all over a candidate who does not agree with you if they were in such a situation. I wonder how RG explains his side business to disability? Supposed to be unable to work, yet he slugs steel around like a pro. Just sayin'

      BTW, his and the chief ninja's actions have been reported to the police, complete with website links. There are others who will come forward as well. Keep the hijacks and the vandalism out of this campaign, ninjas. And grow up, for Christ's sake.

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  15. Hello. I am Mike Sansano and just wanted to give you a bit of background on pics. I have grown up with and known Tim a long time as was looking forward to catching up with my friend and enjoying the track while also taking pics. Here is the WHOLE set of pics I took (44 pictures total) :
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikesansano/sets/72157645029035646/

    You can choose to believe me or not but I did not try to get anyone in the pictures but Tim, Bart and Tim's parents etc. It was a very fast event and I had barely enough time to get people in focus and confirm settings let alone make sure to get Anne Marie or any other volunteer in the background, especially while jockeying for position. Also, please note that while I may not agree with some of her municipal politics, Anne Marie and I get a long just fine and she would tell you the same I am sure. I definitely was not trying to throw her under the bus or anyone for that matter. I am just a photographer who loves capturing images.

    BTW, my flikr site is more personal. My actual portfolio can be found here is anyone is interested : www.mikesansano.com

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    1. Thank you for that clarification. It seemed that the pictures chosen and the comments made gave the impression that Ann Marie "photobombed" every picture you took. That was a deliberate piece of misinformation on the part of the blog administrator. They used your talent and pictures to make fun of Ann Marie and that is reprehensible. The woman has every right in the world to attend the event regardless of where it is held. She has been a loyal PC member for several years and was supporting Tim Hudak. She is now a private citizen and she does not deserve to be subjected to such treatment. I'm sorry your fine pictures were misused in such a way.

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  16. Not only has Anne Marie been a PC supporter for many years she has supported the race track over all the years she was on council, did she ask questions before supporting the request yes. I can't think of one motion that Noyse voted against in regards to the race track. She did not support the entire yearly budget if the increase was too high but she voted in support of each and every motion regarding the race track. The idiot blog has made up stories about Noyse from the beginning, once she was no longer on JT X-mas list she was attacked relentlessly by that blog. I am sure it will be more of the same once she puts her name in to run for mayor again. But we know garbage when we read it and that blog is known for the garbage it spreads..

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    1. So that other blog picked only those pictures where Ann Marie was in the background. Tried to tell people that she was photobombing and that she was against the Fort Erie Race Track. This is what happens to anyone who questions the great and almighty OZ of the race track. He sues, he sics his ninja wannabes on them or he refuses to invite them to opening day. As the GM of the EDTC, he has an abysmal record; he keeps asking for more money but has very little to show for it. Claimed he had hundreds of thousands of dollars in the EDTC reserve fund, yet constantly asks for and receives money to keep the track afloat. Ann Marie is trying to get information about the EDTC's finances and they have fought her in court and lost. Jim Thibert takes it very personal. It's his own little fiefdom and he doesn't want anyone telling him what to do or asking him how he does it or with whose money.

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  17. One of the other blogs apparently [I won't click on there myself or bother arguing because there is no logic to work with] stated this Town Council has unravelled decades of trust! And also praised Rick Shular and mayor for honouring the agreements of the last Council.
    What about honouring the Council when Wayne Redekop and the award winning Neighbourhood Plan was established? martin totally disregarded everything when he took office.

    Like I said no logic.

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    1. Yeah, they're all suffering from "Four Councillor Derangement Syndrome."

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    2. Yet it was perfectly fine that from Oct 2006-2010 It was always Doug and his 4 cohorts vs Anne Marie Noyes and Bob Steckley. Doug's council also ignored every speaker that spoke up at council that were opposed to the condo deal!!

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    3. Sadly, I remember those days too. The night we were there until past 1:00 am while a steady stream of delegates spoke out against the condo deal. Still they were ignored.

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  18. paying attentionJune 11, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    The Molinaro sales trailer is partially OUT! The huge concrete pad was broken up which signals to me that they don't envision driving the trailer back in again!

    It does look like it is stuck, since they are trying to remove it sideways instead of coming in parallel to Erie Rd from the parking lot as they did in the set-up.

    I just want that eye sore gone.

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  19. Thanks for that posting paying attention. With the money that group has I would have thought that they would order a crane and lift it onto a flat deck in a few minutes. The bill for that would have a business writeoff for them. We all hope youre right in assuming that without a pad to sit on theres no chance of a "promotional" trailer coming back in future. Unfortunately, if they are of the mindset they could place an office for sales anywhere in the area, similar to the sales office in that "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" development at the east end of Erie Rd. Like a dog dropping a turd where everyone can see it, they may have learned to bury signs of their presence, to avoid upsetting all but the people paying the most attention. No matter what were going to need to stay aware of whats going on in the area,if they get smarter (in their view, sneakier), and maybe suck up to Fort Erie's version of Don Cherry at the economic development? office a little more.

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    1. Don Cherry?!! What a great match. The way that Jim has been dressing of late, he may be trying to rival Cherry's sartorial style. On another person's FB page, there is a recent picture of Bay Beach and it looks like it has been cleaned up. Glad the trailer is gone. Good things can and will happen in Crystal Beach without a twelve story condo.

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