Monday, April 20, 2015

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CELEBRATES TAKEOVER OF FORT ERIE

The newspaper article reported that 180 people attended the April 16 swearing in of the new/old board of the Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce held at the Buffalo Canoe Club in Bay Beach. Attendance was high this year as there was also an unofficial celebration of the complete takeover of the Fort Erie Town Council by chamber members with the help of the now de facto mayor of Fort Erie, Massa James Thibert.

Like the slaves of old, certain chamber members are taking direct orders from the Massa, especially those on the new council. We have dubbed the two head cheerleaders, Kim Zanko and Marina Butler as the Chamber Maids but they are now bolstered by Stephen Passero (Massa James' Boy), Chris Knutt, and George McDermott. The only non-chamber member of the current council is Don Lubberts who, along with Mayor Redekop, is already considered a Lame Duck by political pundits.

The famous 4-2-0 Plan was 90% effective. Started in 2010, immediately after the re-election of Bob Steckley in Ward 3; landslide victory for John Hill in Ward 4; Don Lubberts in Ward 5; and Paul Collard in Ward 6, the plan included insulting billboards; lawsuits; a whispering campaign; and downright ugly behaviour by the former mayor-by-five-votes, Doug Martin. A couple of so-called journalists piled on further with slanted and misleading stories. It was a team effort, headed up by Jim Thibert who was aware that The Four, as well as others, were applying heat to Jim's "arm's length" corporation (Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation) to be more accountable. Many hoped that Thibert would be fired, but the council could not make that final decision because Massa James was heavily insulated by his cronies and supporters who also held a lot of power in the community. Although his record of accomplishment is far less than stellar, he managed to keep his job and orchestrate the defeat of all but one of The Four.

Keen observers may already be aware that Fort Erie is persona non grata at the provincial level these days. Thibert did manage to get money for the race track, his "other job."  He is obsessed with it to the point that he spends a lot of time at the track and runs it like it was an ante bellum* plantation. Fine for the track workers, but is that all there is? What about all the other people who need jobs? Thibert believes they are "not skilled enough" and that is why they are unemployed. Guess the unemployed need to align themselves with a subsidized industry in Fort Erie, like the racetrack. Or be related to someone at Town Hall. Or have a good friend in the town's inner circle. Otherwise, they are SOL. And Thibert blames them for not being skilled enough. Oh, and the town is nothing but a whore to the province, according to his 2014 State of the Local Economy Address.

UPDATE: A well-established local firm is leaving Fort Erie to re-locate in St. Catharines because it has run out of space in its present location. There was no help from the EDTC because the EDTC mandate, as interpreted by Massa James, is only to assist those businesses that employ ten or more people. This three generation family business does not "fit the mandate." On a side note, a suitable location was found in Fort Erie but the rich local mover and shaker would not come down in his exorbitant price for the property in order to keep a local business local. 

IN OTHER NEWS: Council voted to reach into the Reserve Fund to fund overruns in the Lewis Street construction. $330,000 (including HST) was taken from the Storm Reserve Fund and the Water Reserve. No mention or promise to pay it back. This is added to the $500K to the Race Track and the DSBN for the "State of the Art" theatre.Meanwhile, council denied preservationists a chance to save a school and its historic bell tower. 


The Helena Street Spill.

 OPEN HOUSE 
April 21st at Town Hall from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This is where the councillors should be demanding answers about the long-term effect of the spill that has apparently leeched into the ground and water table. Very dangerous situation that platitudes from the Chamber of Commerce cannot solve. This is where leadership is shown: how a community reacts to a chemical spill of large proportions. Let's not let this develop into a Love Canal scenario. 

PS. I have become very lazy of late. Don't really care about what others say, especially the silliness and Mean Girl antics on Facebook. I am trying to focus my attention on those things I ignored or procrastinated about for the past few years. I prefer now to sit and wait for the inevitable whinging about higher taxes and the balance of power on council going to a 5-2 decision every time. Time wounds all heels.






* (Not to be confused with the great country music band.)

8 comments:

  1. CorruptionFighterApril 20, 2015 at 5:55 PM

    bout sums up the state of Fort Stupid.......

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  2. Most people are not going to understand the finer points of a "clean up" of this type and it will show. Another silly "information meeting" with spokespeople primed for a talk to the "concerned residents", probly a few new addons to the regions circle of seasonal youngsters showing if they have what it takes to BS a bunch of backbush types on a dull Tuesday night. Someone if not all will be wearing some corporate logo over their heart to show their dedication to the effort. They know most of the seated couldnt even pronounce the chemicals that were "spilled" (dumped) never mind the analysis it takes to follow an event like this. Can you say ignorant? Good. Keep that in mind while we listen to this prebaked presentation by people making more money than you ever thought reasonable, for doing less than you ever thought possible.

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    1. During the Love Canal situation, I became acquainted with people who were involved in the fight to get Hooker Chemical to admit its mistakes. One day, a "leak" caused the shutdown of the Rainbow Bridge because of the toxic fumes that caused people on the bridge to become ill or pass out. It was described in the media as coming "from an unknown source." A friend who worked at Hooker and who was funneling information to the opposition reported that the fumes came from Hooker. Never a word as to where or what it was but my friend said she always had a Scott Airpack nearby at work. She was later fired because she was a true whistle blower and there were no laws to protect her. That is the only way we'll get the truth about the spill on Helena - from a whistle-blower.

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  3. Could not have summed up the State of FE better myself. The Mayor has such a misbegotten group to deal with and will be on the receiving end of many 5 to 2 votes. He better get on with bringing the EDTC under control before more damage is done. Council is so boring when they should be proactive with so many challenges ahead. Just read facebook {the intelligent ones}. Ideas for Ridgeway School, FESS, hydro rates,unemployment,local labour, Buy Local suggestions, more use for the five dark days at the Track, and so on and on.These are issues for our Council. They need a think tank to put them on a progressive track.
    On the other side of intelligent,,,we will miss Apples and Oranges but its now replaced by the Barbie Dolls poor reading skills and tonight at Council someone should have corrected Kimmie. Please tell her the word to Appellant and not the four times she said APEALANT,. Lawyer Wayne shuddered visably.

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  4. I am a retired WHMIS instructor and know a little about the chemicals spilled on Helena Street, the main danger was that all of them are highly flammable, and need to be quarantined at least 500 meters. or up to half a mile. they will dissipate somewhat by evaporation, but are highly explosive , will cause skin blisters and can cause dizziness and passing out, if they get into sewers they can cause explosions, they are also used in fracking for gas, as they penetrate cracks and fissures in shale rock to allow gas to escape. the vapours are heavier than air, therein lies the problem ,does anybody remember the leaking gasoline in the South -End ? gasoline got into the water table and penetrated the leaky water pipes and many homes blew up. gasoline was draining directly into the Niagara River. this all happened in the early 1980s the whole South-End along the Boulevard had to be dug up and the water pipes replaced ASAP .None of these chemicals were ever tested for long term exposure , such as carcinogenic , or liver damage. That is an expensive proposition, only just over a dozen chemicals out there are designated cancer causing. (The dirty dozen)

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    1. people in the health care field can tell you that Fort Erie and Chippawa both have a very high cancer rate. I believe that the problem is in the water and/or pipes. Of course, I'm no expert but I wonder why the rate is so high.

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  5. Sharon , You have hit the nail on the head, a none scientific study by a lady who once lived on the Niagara Parkway , counted how many people within a mile of the mouth of Black Creek down river towards Chippawa. she counted 15 people who had died or were on chemo for cancer. Last fall while campaigning in Stevensville found around the Carver sub division young women distressed about how many young children had died of cancer. I have been on low dose chemo for over 15 years for an auto immune condition , very rare Vasculitis also Lupus is a problem here. I never smoked or consumed much alcoholic beverages, what caused this condition ?? That lady's husband A.C.Douglas the founder of Douglastown had a huge cancer growth, size of a grapefruit removed.

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  6. It is reasonable to question the high rart of cancer in terms of water consumption from local sources. No water treatment plant can remove all of the contaminants in the water of Lake Erie. It can be made "safe" for consumption in terms of a broad range of elements that can be tested for by the operators of the treatment facility but only down to a low range that still leaves a question in terms of total contained contaminants. PPM, (parts per million) usually, but PPB, (parts per billion) not usually. The last 200 years of the lake receiving all manners of industrial waste, farm run off, and other assorted toxins leaves the water in a condition, many of those elements complexing to form other, in many cases unidentifyable compounds that should not be injested. They cannot be removed by standard water treatment technologys being used at the municipal level. There are many other enviromental considerations to consider as well, from lawn chemicals, to the extencive use of fresh plastics in food storage and packaging, (not to mention various chemical compounds being used widely in highly processed food). All these things work in tandem to suggest that there is no one single source to point to when considering why one area of the country has a higher than average level of cancers than another. Its all out there, its up to the individual to educate themselves to protect themselves and their familys as much as possible, when possible.

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