Saturday, February 21, 2015


It has been several years since I first attended a Fort Erie Council Meeting, I did attend a budget meeting the other night and it was like old times: some of the same players behaving like they have for over a decade. Got very boring. The so-called "fresh blood" on council is clueless and have no idea what they got themselves into - or did they? Maybe they're so programmed that they can only behave as instructed by their handlers, or maybe their election to council was just a huge cosmic joke. Whatever the reason, the people of Fort Erie are in for a wild ride and higher taxes because these newbies are already spending money like water. 

Someone sent me a piece from that tired old rag of Mike Cloutier's (another example of the dire situation in Fort Erie that Cloutier is still publishing.) I laughed out loud at the comments from Old Guard stalwarts Peter Joon and Doris Emerson regarding the town council's $500,000 commitment to the DSBN to help with the building of a theatre in the new high school being built on Garrison Road. First, it was the council who voted for the funding to the DSBN not the "dam artsy camp." 

Peter Joon: (February 17, 2015) 

 I will remember every councillor who votes for this idiocy and don’t ever count on my vote again, we are being railroaded into thos by the dam artsy camp who have never had to pay their own way

Doris Emerson: (February 19, 2015)

How did the councillors vote -was it unanimous-or just the 1 dissenter? why waste the taxpayers time asking for their opinion when it doesn’t really mean anything. Robbing Peter to pay Paul-where will they get the money to pay Paul?

First, it was the council who voted for the funding to the DSBN not the "dam artsy camp" as Peter Joon calls them. And, everyone but Don Lubberts voted for the up to $2 million pledge to the theatre from the people of Fort Erie. And Doris, who is so strong in her support of the new councillors that she was openly rude to other candidates, now wonders where the money will come from to pay for this new white elephant. 

And it will get even better when the town pledges another $500 K to the racetrack and Jimmy's Little Hobby.

Worse part is that Fort Erie is stuck with these incompetent fools who never ask meaningful questions (really, Marina. Was it so hard to figure out that the graffiti on the Canada Post mailboxes is the responsibility of Canada Post to remove - and not the town?); who vote against staff recommendations (by-election will cost in excess of $40,000); and who are so intertwined with the Chamber of Commerce that the average person in Fort Erie has little representation on council.

All except Don Lubberts who was re-elected and who was part of the previous council that kept taxes as low as possible and who built up the town's reserve fund that is now being drained by the not-so-bright "new blood."

And Mike Cloutier still publishes his drivel to the brain-washed. (He's starting to look more and more like Ted Kacznski every day. Or his doppleganger Booger.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Stephen Passero has filed to run in the by-election in Ward 2. 

Marina Butler is a moron. She proved it by her actions at the Monday, February 9 Regular Council Meeting.  While others were concerned about the possibility that the town would be on the hook for millions of dollars for a new school library and theatre, Marina was obsessed with revisiting the earlier-tabled policy regarding the 30 meter set-back for waterfront properties. Why? For no other reason than she was concerned about "delays" in development on the waterfront. With regard to the 30 meter set-back, in the past four years, there were only four such adjustments requested. Yet Marina wants to speed the process that is seldom used. The reason the recommendation was tabled in January is because the council decided to wait until the Waterfront Strategy was underway to revisit the issue.

So, Marina ("I think I made a mistake.") Butler pushed forward, not really knowing what she was doing. It was cringe-worthy but it was not the only cringe-worthy moment in the meeting. George McDermott sounds like he may be suffering from Alzheimer's Disease as he could not even follow what was going on and could not remember actions that took place at earlier meetings. Kimberly Zanko should bleach her hair blonde as she makes idiots like Jenny McCarthy look like a Rhodes Scholar. Chris Knutt tries but is in way over his head.

Sorry folks. This is not "sour grapes." This is a tragedy in progress. Even Mayor Redekop had to explain and reword questions regarding the resolution to Marina.

Meanwhile, it would seem that those who are in favour of a community-paid (one-way-or-the-other) theater and library at the new high school believe that these buildings are the be-all and the end-all to Fort Erie's woes, including the mental health of its children. Forget that, if the community does not raise the $3.7 million requested by the District School Board of Niagara, it will be paid for by Fort Erie taxpayers. 

"Cut your coat according to your cloth." said one delegate regarding the theater/library proposal. Having never heard that particular saying, I had to look it up and the man was absolutely right. He further endeared himself to me by pointing out that his dapper clothing came from second-hand stores so he could "take his wife out to dinner once in a while" which was a priority on his fixed income. Others expressed support of the theater and library but warned of the cost and the eventual rise in their property taxes which will have a Domino Effect on the local economy.

Wasn't impressed by a couple of  entrepreneurs taking the opportunity to advertise for their acting classes for children while speaking in favour of the theater. Did they not realize that they will have to pay to use the new theater? Like renting ice time at the Leisureplex, it may cost a lot of money?  Check out the long and tortured history of that "community benefit." All that bingo money and slots revenue are gone forever. Not so easy now to get funding from a hard-pressed community. The taxpayers of the town are already going to get hit with a major tax increase. Our newbie councillors haven't a clue about how to put together a budget. Be afraid; be very afraid.

Memo to Gary Skerrett and Shorewalk: Where the "f" were you when the access to the public beach at Bay Beach was being threatened by the Molinaro Monolith?  Yeah, we know. You went AWOL on the issue after you had a private meeting with Doug Martin. Now you want support for a boardwalk at the Holloway Bay Road access? Your organization has discredited itself irretrievably by its non-action in the Bay Beach Issue. Good luck with that.

Monday, February 9, 2015


The people of Fort Erie will soon see their new Ward 4 Councillor's agenda.

"Councillor Butler
Re: Request to Table Report No. CDS-09-2015 (Options 
for Addressing Requests for Relief from Requirement 
for 30 Meter Setback from 1-in-100 Year Floodline of 
Lake Erie as Determined by the NPCA)

That: Council reconsider Recommendation No. 11 
passed January 12, 2015 to table Report CDS-09-2015 
until it is determined whether a waterfront strategy will 
be part of Council’s strategic plan."

So, one of our Chamber Maids, Marina Butler, wants to throw out the 30 Meter Setback requirement even before the so-called "waterfront strategy" is part of the town's plan.  It was tabled last month by council. Her call for reconsideration of the tabling of the recommendation:

That: Council authorize the initiation of a housekeeping amendment to the Comprehensive Zoning By-law No. 129-90 to delete Section 6.47. Recommendation No. 11 Moved by: Councillor Lubberts That: Council table Report CDS-09-2015 until it is determined whether a waterfront strategy will be part of Council’s strategic plan.

Comprehensive Zoning By-law 129-90:

6.47 YARD SETBACKS FOR LOTS ABUTTING LAKE ERIE (By-law 100-05) Notwithstanding any other yard requirements of this by-law, any building or any addition thereto in the vicinity of Lake Erie shall be set back a minimum of 30m from the 1-in-100 year flood elevation as determined by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

Little Miss Housekeeper wants to eliminate this section of the Comprehensive By-law. There is a very important reason that this is in the by-law. It is to prevent any construction within the flood line. Some of us remember the original plan of the Molinaros for Bay Beach. The "washrooms" were planned to be located in the flood zone area. The town would have then been responsible for any damage to the washroom structure once it was built. A couple of years ago, I published pictures of six foot piles of shove ice that, had the washrooms been built on the proposed site, would have been damaged by the ice.

(If there was any doubt that our Chamber Maid panders to developers, that has been put to rest with her effort to change the by-law.)

On to another campaign promise going down the chute: It appears that the majority on council is in favour of the town kicking in $3.5 million to the new high school build for a theater and library. Tonight at council, the people will have a chance to say their piece. Like the many who spoke out against the Bay Beach Project and were ignored, council will no doubt approve the expenditure from the taxpayers. (Only Don Lubberts has indicated he will vote against the library expenditure; the others are all for the full $3.5 million.)

Pay attention. You will soon see more parts of the newbies' agenda. I must say that I thought Marina was smarter than she is. She Seldom asks questions about what the council is discussing and she has little understanding of parliamentary procedure. (I had to laugh out load when I heard her try to limit Don Lubberts to five minutes when he was asking questions of the town planner. Even Wayne Redekop had to call her out on that one. She must have been given that tip from Dougie or Jimmy.)

Monday, February 2, 2015


On this Groundhog Day, it seems ironic that Crystal Beach is going through a repetition of the same events that almost destroyed the Beach in the past. Namely, speculators coming in to the beach and making promises to (while taking advantage of) the hard-working people of the village. Remember what it was like after the amusement park closed? Speculators bought numerous cottages that were up for sale or lost when the financial anchor of the Beach caused a mass exodus. The Beach was red-lined so that only those who had access to private money could pick up a property, many for less than $20,000. The cottages were fixed up just enough to be rent-worthy for people on social assistance who were transferred from the GTA to save the taxpayers some money. The policy further degraded the Beach for several years. A prestigious study (C.A.U.S.E) concluded that Crystal Beach was a "hidden gem" and it could come back if certain recommendations were followed. Thus, the renaissance of Crystal Beach began. Slowly the demographics changed: retirees bought cottages and gave up their pricey homes in the GTA to return to a summer paradise full time. Once the red-lining ended, families began to buy or build in the Beach because there were better choices offered. Despite the contentious Bay Beach Project, new builds and cottage renos continued. The future looked bright for Crystal Beach.

Then, along came Gary Fraser, convicted and jailed for investment fraud, with a grand idea for development in Crystal Beach. Déjà Vu all over again. (Read more about Gary HERE)

And that brings us to the "Then and Now" project that may have been the brainchild of Gary Fraser or one of his followers. It caused a major problem in the Friends of Crystal Beach. Thankfully, the FOCB exercised caution and withdrew an application for a grant that may have helped fund the restoration of the so-called "painted ladies" around Queen's Circle and other places in the Beach. It was unclear as to how much the FOCB would be on the hook for its part of the project. Could have been thousands. 

So, without further ado, I offer you Gary Fraser's (through a company his girlfriend/wife is president of) vision of Crystal Beach Then and Now:
22 Queen's Circle c.2013 (listing photo)

Picture posted on Facebook this weekend (thanks, Lorrie)

A closer look at the house shows that it has been stripped to its rafters and studs. Gone is the wainscoting, antique mouldings and all the features that made this stately former tourist home special. It is now a sad shell. A smaller vintage cottage next to 22 Queen's Circle was removed entirely, termites were cited as the cause. Odd that no other homes in the area have termites. The property was recently listed at one million dollars.