Thursday, October 23, 2014


I admit: this blog is biased. Has been since Day 1.  However, it is not biased in order to feather my own nest or anyone else's. It was started and continues to reveal the other side of local politics: the way some people have used the trust of the people to work against the people's best interests.

A glaring example of this is the Bay Beach Project - or whatever it is called as the name has been changed a number of times. That development was forced on the people of Crystal Beach by town staff in an unholy alliance with a big developer from Burlington. A high rise developer wanting to place two twelve story condo towers on public beachfront property against the prevailing building height limits set in an award-winning neighbourhood plan. we thought that had all been decided, but the new mayor (Martin) along with a staff recommendation, pushed through a zoning change and a Memo of Understanding that seemed to be dictated to the town lawyer by the developer.

That got a lot of people angry. It wasn't supposed to be like that in Crystal Beach. The people had suffered through an earlier town decision to let a developer build a gated community on the site of the old amusement park lands.  So, when the Rebstock Family offered the Bay Beach Properties to the town at a good price, the town wisely took the opportunity, using gaming revenue for the purchase. Soon after, however, the town talked about selling off the northern side of the properties (parking lots) to fund a section of the Friendship Trail. Uh-uh, said a young man and he started a petition and was later elected to represent Ward 5 that encompasses Crystal Beach.  The sale of the Bay Beach Properties was taken off the table, permanently we thought, with the adoption of the Crystal Beach Neighbourhood Plan in 2005.

But, 2006 brought in a new mayor and it wasn't long before the town planner started a campaign to turn the bay area into a wall of condos stretching, in his own words "from Crystal Beach to Point Abino." The Bay Beach Properties was to be the start of Rino Mostacci's dream.  So the high rise developers, the Molinaros were brought in to put on a big show full of promises how they would transform the community with their towers. And, just on script, they scaled back to one tower, one of the oldest ploys in the book (which I'm going to write about all this.)

Four years later, the people showed their disdain for the project by eliminating the turncoat councillor who had replaced the young man in Ward 5; the bully councillor in Ward 4; and with a new councillor for Ward 6 while that councillor, Ann Marie Noyes, ran against the incumbent mayor.  In an election vote tabulation that would rival the presidential election in Florida in 2000, the incumbent mayor squeaked through with five votes.

And then the assault began on everyone who had anything to do with the change in the power structure on town council. I was sued successfully for slander as I simply could not afford to defend myself. Then the so-called Four Councillors were subjected to harassment, insults, lawsuits, compliance audits, complaints to the integrity commissioner and whatever else could be thrown at them merely because they won their seats by large margins and were not falling in line behind the mayor-by-five-votes. The people elected them for a reason: they wanted the town to listen to the people, not just well-heeled developers.  They were not anti-development as they were portrayed in the endless negative publicity; they were for smart development that fits in with the community and is welcomed by its neighbours.

Well, here we are, four years later and the situation has achieved critical mass.  Another election fraught with problems and vicious attacks, topped off with a Developer Drama, one which is rather common in the industry: a $10 Million Lawsuit against the town and the four councillors.





  1. I think you are ready to explode ......

    1. view_from_the_beachOctober 23, 2014 at 9:22 PM

      Amazingly enough "Mary" was able to express a thought, as a complete sentence, without a spelling error.
      We're proud of you "Mary"!

    2. Sharon’s frustration is typical of people who have been active volunteers in the Crystal Beach community. Many in Crystal Beach strongly resent that their wishes for their community were completely disregarded when Mayor Martin came into power. Their carefully-developed Crystal Beach Neighbourhood Plan was replaced by a project dreamed up by Town staff that turned a good chunk of Crystal Beach's precious public beach property over to a private developer to build a tower that was everything that so many residents did NOT want for their community. No matter how hard Crystal Beach taxpayers tried to protest, it was clear that all the protests in the world wouldn't deter Martin from pushing through that condo.

      At this October’s Wards 4,5, and 6 All Candidates Night, Councillor Paul Collard responded to a question about council unity by saying that good leadership would have been the key to avoiding the conflicts that have beset the current Council. This response was spot on. We all know that the division in Council over these past four years has been due to the condo controversy. This division was quite predictable, and it wouldn’t have happened if the condo plan hadn’t been forced upon Crystal Beach without its consent.

      How would a good mayor have handled the condo situation? Listen to the prophetic and wise leadership advice that Wayne Redekop, Mayor of Fort Erie from 1996-2007, gave way back in 2010 to Mayor Martin and his council. Redekop said this:

      “I have concern about how the proposal for development at Bay Beach has divided our community. I am concerned when I am approached by dedicated, long-term volunteers of the area who feel that they are being ignored and who despair that what they have worked toward over the past 15 years is in jeopardy. To be clear, when I speak of “volunteers”, I mean those individuals who have committed time, energy and, often, their own resources, to improving, revitalizing and promoting Crystal Beach, not those individuals who seem to pop up at every opportunity to oppose and criticize anything the Town proposes to do, no matter what. I understand that the dedicated volunteers of Crystal Beach are not unanimous in their views regarding Bay Beach. But a large majority do not agree with the Town’s current proposal. I believe that for you to proceed without having due regard to their views will hamper your efforts to build and to guide this community.

      Crystal Beach has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts over the past decade. With the continued efforts of the dedicated volunteers and the municipality, it will prosper and be an important aspect of the life of Fort Erie. The challenge before you is to maintain the energy, the passion and the commitment of those volunteers, while capturing the opportunities for success in that part of our community.

      Therefore, let your decisions regarding Crystal Beach and the future of the Bay Beach property be guided by a vision – a clear vision – for the community. Not staff’s vision. Not just your vision. But a vision that encompasses that of those who have committed themselves to the success and prosperity of their neighbourhood and this community.”

      It’s too bad Redekop’s advice wasn’t heeded. To try to place the blame for the conflict on the councillors from the west side of Fort Erie who were subsequently voted in to protect their beach from this attack, as Martin and his supporters have tried to do, is to miss the obvious: this project never should have been begun.

      New mayoral leadership is on its way. Let councillors represent the interests of their individual wards. But let the Mayor watch over all of Fort Erie and protect its welfare and harmony by ensuring that each and every ward is treated fairly and with respect.

  2. I was just searching some background of Molinaro Developers and confrontations in Burlington. A group was formed in 2007 RAMAP, Residents Against Maple Avenue Project. The residents were against unrestrained over development. They were objecting to their Official Plan being altered to benefit the developer's coffers. One remark struck me, "prior to the election Molinaros were happy with a 10 storey- now after the election they are pushing for a 17 floor structure".

    This to me just highlights the fact that the Molinaros like to work the elections for their own benefit. This is business, but what about the rights of citizens?

    1. Molinaros are worried about looking bad, how's about sueing a small town for NOT giving them waterfront property?

  3. The ninjuice ars posting beware of whom you vote for the election, but not naming any names as to what candidates deserve their approval. Whats a person to do? It would seem in the confusion to tell readers who is going to be the best choice for the future decisions of the town. A summary of this long awaited list may be a good idea. With all the mud slinging, burning laundry, soundbites, backbiting reporting tidbits,strange references to multi layered legal lane changing, past present and future, both good and bad, it really is hard to tell who would do the most good for the townfolk. If its friends and loyaltys based on the "hey, how you doin" OK, but if its real progresive thinking and a solid workable plan lets hear about it. Name some names with those important specifics.

  4. Strong leadership is what we need, and someone who will make this town their only priority, this cannot be someone's second job. Redekop may have done a speech not supporting the condo in 2010 ( a bit late don't you think). That was easy thing to do, he knew it was the popular choice and was hedging his bets for his future run as mayor. Where was he on the door to door campaigning to stop the condo, or the beach rally, or the many meetings and gatherings that many of us attended. Where was he in the last election 2010, HE SUPPORTED MARTIN IN THE 2010 ELECTION EVEN AFTER KNOWING WHAT MARTIN WAS CAPABLE OF AND PLANNING TO DO.. Redekop has no intention of giving up his day job, and once again the staff will run the town and make all the decisions, that is how Mr. Mostacci got his foot in the door in the first place. Redekop had 13 years to make bay beach a designated park and he did nothing. Don't let one speech fool you. Strong leadership is needed and that can only happen if the chosen leader is there full time.

  5. That disease from Burlington is definitely trying to make a return.

    Why is Dirty Doug still working so hard for the dark side???

    answer.................... his BIG payoff is still on the table


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