Fort Erie council has approved a last-minute decision to give $500,000 to ensure the Fort Erie Race Track has a racing season this year. The decision was made with a 6-1 vote in favour of assisting the track Monday night following a closed session meeting.
The money will be taken from the Town's reserve fund and used for the track's lease payment which was due at midnight.
That was done on March 31 and reported in local media on April 1, 2014. No, it was not an April Fool's Day joke. It was presented as an emergency request so the track could pay its rent for the season. And council voted to give the money to the track.
Flash Forward to Monday, September 8, 2014 and we now learn, during a regular council meeting, that the money had not been turned over to the race track on April 1. Instead, it will go to the track now for "operating expenses." So, what happened to the emergency? Doug Martin explained it away by saying that the province's $7.5 million taxpayer investment in the track came through at 2:58 p.m. the next day, just two minutes ahead of the lease deadline. Does anyone really believe that? Certain members of council didn't but they voted to accept the revised by-law anyway.
This is just another reason that a full forensic audit of the Economic Development and Tourism Corporation be done as well as a forensic audit on the town itself. And hey, throw in the Live Racing Consortium for good measure.
Look at what a forensic audit in Brampton revealed about its mayor, Susan Fennell. The fourteen year mayor, who is running for re-election racked up $172.608 in inappropriate charges to the taxpayers and council voted to send the audit results to the police. It all started with a FOI request by the Brampton Guardian. By November, 2013, council voted 8-0 for the forensic audit. Ann Marie Noyes has been fighting to get the financial information about the EDTC for a couple of years now and her request has been bogged down in red tape and stall tactics. Which would lead any thinking person to surmise that the EDTC has something to hide.
It would seem that whomever is running for council or mayor would want to make sure that the hard-working taxpayers are not giving money to an entity that is careless with the truth.
The Stephen Passero Blind Ambition Tour drew about 100 people to the Centennial Library on Tuesday night. The event co-starred one of the Miller offspring, the family that had helped support the lawsuit against the four councilors. Apparently the Millers matched their campaign donation to Doug Martin with a $1000. donation to the Kinsmen Pool effort.
Passero went on to "promise" that the Kinsmen Pool would be re-opened by June, 2015. This is based on his belief that the Underwater Recovery Unit would sign on to take over management of the doomed pool and refurbish it through grants that only a non-profit group is eligible for. Funny thing, there were four members of the UR in attendance. None spoke about the lease or the situation. Which leads one to wonder if the UR has even received the lease that was reportedly sent to them from the town. Was the pool even discussed at the UR meeting held on Wednesday evening? We think not or there would have been some kind of announcement. Sounds like the deal is dead in the green water of the Kinsmen Pool.
Sure, everyone wants a public pool where kids can learn to swim in a safe, clean environment. Fact is the Kinsmen Pool is beyond repair. Even if the taxpayers invest the recommended $180,000. plus to refurbish the pool, it would only add a couple of years to its dying life. Waste of money, many think. A proper new pool should be built and that will cost in excess of $2 million. Some act as though the decline of the Kinsmen Pool happened overnight (about the time the new council came into office in 2010) but that is far from true. The pool was badly neglected for years and its usage has declined sharply over the years. Kids are learning to swim elsewhere. Lesley North worries about kids swimming in the river at the foot of Jarvis Street. Kids have been swimming in the river at the foot of Jarvis Street and lots of other places for decades, even when the Kinsmen Pool was open. Fortunately, there were no mishaps for such swimmers reported this summer.
Lies, Lies and More Damned Lies:
James Culic lies. And he did it in black and white: HERE.
Of course, the pool was closed for a reasons – it’s old and falling apart – but that’s where the Fort Erie Underwater Recovery Unit (FEURU) comes into play. The town has already drafted up a lease agreement, and is in the process of transferring ownership of the pool from the municipality to the FEURU
The town is nowhere near any kind of agreement with the FEURU and probably never will. Culic has his head so far up Stephen Passero's ass that he didn't even bother to ask any member of the FEURU about the status of the pool situation. If he had, he would have found out that the FEURU has not yet received the lease proposal, nor was the matter discussed or voted on in their meeting on Wednesday night. Passero is promising a June 2015 reopening. Based on what? Nothing but his blind ambition.
So, the Stephen Passero Blind Ambition Tour goes on with absolutely nothing accomplished at his first appearance. I see that he didn't photo-bomb the Shorewalk photo in The Times. After he just about ruined that group, he has been forced to step away while the original founders try to rescue their credibility.
Richard Berry has wisely left the campaign for mayor. Too bad that his health does not allow him to be able to campaign. Berry knows where "the bodies are buried" and he has tried to warn people of the corruption and scams in town. Some of us know he's right and appreciate his dedication and hard work to bring honesty to our local government.
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