Tuesday, February 11, 2014



Update: Jim Thibert was on hand for the local election coverge. This is the first time I heard this: Thibert admitted that the slots at the race track "weren't working." He said 84% of the slots market share was from the US. Went significantly down when US casinos opened.in Western New York

On Monday, February 10, 2014 Fort Erie Town Council voted unanimously to approve the 2014 capital budget. Unanimously. Even Mayor Martin cast a meaningless vote in favour of the budget.

Today, on the town's blog, the headline read:


Somehow, the four managed to lead the council into a budget that increases the taxpayers' cost by 2.72%. Many would say that is a great example of leadership, awareness and sensitivity to the prevailing economic climate in Fort Erie.  Of course, The Four's detractors will find a way to spin this to make The Four look bad.

Sorry, even the town website is giving council its props. 

Déjà Vue all over again. 

 When the Niagara Parks Commission decided to drop the proposed $150 million redevelopment of the Niagara Parks Marina located on the Niagara River close to Fort Erie, EDTC GM Jim Thibert called a press conference in January 2012.

"Citing that the decision is unfair to the developer, Warren DAC/Sentex Developments, Jim Thibert, manager of the Fort Erie EDTC and Ron Tripp, the town’s acting Chief Administrative Officer said they were hoping to gain audience with Tourism Minister Michael Chan and Minister of Provincial Parliament Kim Craitor, to further discuss this dispute which threatens the future of a $150-million redevelopment."

Two years ago the issue was brought up by Jim Thibert. What happened? Does anyone know? 

Now, two years later, the issue is brought up again. Interesting timing. Of course, council gave its unanimous endorsement to a resolution to approach the Niagara Region and the province to pressure the NPC to renew the development project.

I would guess that Jim Thibert does not think that anyone will remember the last go-around about the marina. Some of us do remember that there was a lot of local opposition because it was to be such a massive change to the scenic Niagara Parkway. Those who live near the proposed marina project were going to be severely impacted and they let the developers know that in public meetings.

UPDATE:  http://www.niagarathisweek.com/news-story/4364273-fort-erie-calls-on-npc-to-revive-marina-project/

"Due to liability issues -- and the fact that it was losing about $40,000 annually -- the NPC signalled its intent to shutdown the marina in 2006. At the time, mayor Doug Martin and then-MPP Kim Craitor stepped in to voice their opposition and the marina was kept open. Working with the town’s Economic Development and Tourism Corporation resulted in a marina development company, Warren DAC, stepping in to take over operation of the aging facility.But when it came time for phase two, a planned $120-million redevelopment of the marina by Warren DAC, the project came to a screeching halt after the NPC declared the whole process invalid and kicked everything back to the planning phase in early 2012.
Craitor later revealed it was because the request for proposal process, which was jointly launched by the Town of Fort Erie, the EDTC and the NPC, was improperly executed. According to NPC rules, no external agency, such as Fort Erie’s EDTC, is allowed to be involved in the request for proposal bidding process."
Does that mean that the mighty Jim Thibert made a mistake? Sure seems like it. Why is Thibert always "making deals" anyway? Shouldn't he be concentrating on bringing in new business and economic development  to Fort Erie instead of trying to be Donald Trump without the comb-over? 

During my research I came across the Tourism page of The Town of Fort Erie.  It was titled:


Three major developments were touted on the page. The Canadian Motor Speedway (just getting started);a major development at the Fort Erie Race Track (never started); and the marina (stalled.)

Hardly "creating success" as the page boasts. Remember this?

"Nordic Gaming/Fort Erie Race Track – Potential home to a new $300 million dollar destination attraction at the site of the Fort Erie Race Track. Initial plans call for a convention facility, water-park, indoor carting facility, hotel, retail outlets, commercial space, restaurants, golf centre, Niagara wine pavilion, and new grandstand and backstretch facilities. Designed to act as Niagara’s southern tourism anchor, the destination attraction will provide visitors to Niagara with still more to do. Complimenting the tourism amenities and gaming facilities already in place in near-by Niagara Falls, the Fort Erie Race Track destination will also act as the Southern Gateway to Niagara and will offer visitors a unique opportunity to re-visit the Niagara area and explore Fort Erie as a component of their visit to the region."

Didn't the council of the day pledge some money towards this project? Why is this still on the 
town's tourism page? The whole tourism section needs updating. In one story, the Waterfront Park is described as "just steps away" from the public beach. Everyone knows that the beach near the Waterfront Park is not very good. The public entrance to Crystal Beach is a lot more than "a few steps." Of course, there is no mention of the National Historic Site, the Point Abino Light House, quite visible from Waterfront Park and Bay Beach.

 Who writes these brochures?