Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SHOULD I GET A LAWYER?

UPDATE:  Press Release begs owners of 833 Helena Street to take responsibility for the spill; Region tries to play Victim Card, 



That was perhaps the only question asked at the Helena Spill Open House that was answered. Sort of.
Ron Tripp, former infrastructure head for the Town of Fort Erie, now in a similar post at the Niagara Region, told the questioner that "We (meaning the region) have consulted an attorney regarding the Helena Street Spill." We could take that as a clue as to what concerned neighbours need to do in order to protect themselves from this massive Clusterf*#k.

A group of about forty people heard an hour long show full of evasions and "I don't knows" from officials at several levels of government. The Ministry of Environment representatives answered most questions with the evasive "It's under investigation." The building where the spill was presumed to have come from is owned by a numbered company. No one seems to know who is the owner, yet Larry Coplan from the Fort Erie Fire Department admitted that his department "was aware" of what was in the building prior to the spill.

Even the spill itself is a mystery as to how it came to the attention of officials. An anonymous tip from as passerby alerted the town and the Region "became aware of the problem." Now they're saying that they're almost finished with the clean-up of an admitted 100,000 cubic meter spill.

But they could not give any details nor any predictions on long term effects of the solvents that leaked into the ditch along Helena Street. "There's an order from the Ministry regarding the spill."
So, I looked it up. HERE IT IS. In other words: if you want to know details, look it up yourself!

Some great questions were asked; few were answered. As if we didn't already know:
By-law Enforcement is Complaint Driven.

Mayor Redekop admitted that the Town is often "reactive" when confronted with problems, rather than "pro-active."  He said things should be handled differently. (Ho-hum)

Kimberly Zanko emceed the meeting, apparently reacting to numerous phone calls and inquiries from concerned citizens. Stephen Passero slithered in during the meeting and Sandy Annunziata did ask some pertinent questions. Harry Schlange and his Hobbit friend stayed for a few minutes. It was like Old Home Week for Tripp and Schlange. Tripp is still way out of his depth and Harry Schlange is now running the region in the same way he ran Fort Erie as its CAO.

Too bad those in attendance were not given the respect they deserve by having their questions answered. I'm curious to see what other media sources say about the Open House.

26 comments:

  1. What a waste of time. They could have at least asked for questions before the meeting, from the public, screened out the duds, and got some one to look into the answers. No..wait,that nonsense would be a "debate" as in the ward 2 byelection, and this was no debate. So...feel better about a deliberate dumping into the ditches along Helina road of toxic chemicals? Didnt wayne look in control? You get what you pay for. A lawyer as a Mayor. Doug would have phoned in his opinion of the situation.Maybe this would have been a good place for him to show his now historic weeping act when the sandman looked confused about lab results.Please remember without a little poke with a sharp stick this little get together would never have happened. The boys with the sucker trucks using up $50,000 plus a day along the ditches are going to have a giggle over this assembly of plaid clad horse nuts up in the dead end they call the fort. Hey...who could blame them.

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  2. That information "open house" is after more than a month of expencive work and the "expertise" of the head office of the Region of Niagara. What are they going to do if there is a more extincive problem like a train derailment as happened in Missisauga a few years ago? For this, they are paid ...how much??

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  3. The MOE is in charge. What I find intolerable is no gov't body does a routine inspection of these facilities on even an annual basis. TSSA sends out a doc to be completed that asks are you in compliance. No visual inspection of any hazardous business. REALLY!! When things blow up literally or catch fire or leak it is a reaction but no pro action to ensure safety before the harm is done. How many industries located in Towns are there? Do we know if they are safe, do we know if someone is keeping an eye, well the obvious answer here is NO. But the gov't is very quick to go after the supposed violaters after harm but do NOT take any responsibility themselves. Which in my mind is their business we pay enough taxes at all levels to expect their attention to possible hazardous accidents, Gee, the Fire department do visits to Commercial properties & residential homes to ensure they are compliant with the new laws regarding smoke & Carbon monoxide detectors, so why can't the Region or the MOE do the same.

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  4. This whole thing will blow over and the powers to be will blame each other for not returning phone calls or E mails. The Min of the Env are in charge? In charge of laying out a whole wack of cash to inept sandwich munchers who wont even show a little respect to the people most affected by toxins in their front yards. Sorry to have inconvenienced those who must have had better things to do than drive up here and tell us little or nothing we couldnt have guessed for ourselves. A little less aftershave would have been appreciated. They might be in the toxic waste "business" but theres no need to add to the pollution in an already over crowded "atrium"(?). Or maybe that was Zankos dollar store "perfume"? That was as awfull as could have been expected. As usual.

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  5. The Atrium was very crowded it appears that every politician around, was there, no new news at all , I spoke to one older lady who lived near Helena Street if she still smoked around there , she pointed where she lived on the giant map on display , when I told her how dangerous the fumes were, she giggled and nodded she still smoked. so the dangers were not taken as seriously as they should have, In Toronto, several days ago they had a gas explosion that levelled several houses,.is the danger over on Helena Street ? maybe it is still a time bomb. I still don't know how much reactive chemicals leaked out into the ditches.so we have to wait a lot longer for that information.

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  6. http://www.niagarathisweek.com/news-story/5570998-chemical-cleanup-costs-continue-to-climb-toxicity-levels-decline/

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  7. This Helena Street disaster is still playing out and we know that it will hit the beaches this summer, but another bigger disaster will hit our Town , this year or next, last year, In Haldimand, the Towns of Hagersville and Jarvis were unable to use their water supply because of blue/green algae, this algae had infected their water supply, water treatment plants cannot process this very toxic living bacteria that harbours lots of nasty goodies, Botulism, E-Coli, and the stuff is so bad they warned people not even to water their veggies or wash the car, breathing in the vapours can cause death if it takes hold of the lungs, The blue/green algae is not an American made death threat, this one is made in Canada , the prime suspect is the Thames River that runs through London and empties into Lake Simcoe. will we get a dose of this,? Toledo, Ohio had to shut down it's water treatment plant and a State wide emergency was declared. after two weeks the tide shifted and they had clean water again, I have has lived here most of my life, have no confidence at all, in the people that are running the show in this Town, I intend to stock up on water and use water from my cistern which I only use for watering my garden at this point in time. There will be an emergency , now or later. it is a given, as it get's worse every year. The State of Florida was hit last year with this algae in the ponds were the Manatee were living 190+ died , so this is nothing to ignore and hope goes away.

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  8. We think the MoE has shown it is a knee jerk outfit that appears when there is a problem and depends on compliance by people to uphold some illusion of control. If there is a toxic algae bloom off shore here they will take samples issue alerts and "have a nice weekend". If anything that little show last Tuesday has given people here even less faith in this government agency than they had before. An "Algae Bloom"? Lets hope not. They sure didnt show any real level of control besides pumper trucks, sandbags and maybe soil samples. Legal stuff? As we speak they send out strongly worded letters. Oh please!! Not a letter!! We will do anything you ask!! Curly, Larry and "MoE" in control, how sweet for potential polluters.

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    1. Reading the "order" from the MOE is a real laugh. They have no clue how to find the so-called "owners" of the property on Helena Street. (Clue: one is in England, considered to be non compos mentis.)

      Someone wonders if the defunct company has paid property taxes. If not, the property becomes the town's for back taxes. Oops. The most telling thing to come out of the Tuesday Open House was the answer to the question: Was the fire department aware of the chemicals stored at the Helena Street building? Larry Coplen, Fort Erie Fire Chief said, "Yes." There was also the admission that "only viable businesses" were inspected.

      So, the fire department was aware that potentially dangerous solvents were kept in an abandoned factory; until a passerby informed, there was no knowledge of the spill; no one really knows who owns the building; and the Region only seems concerned because the spill was in regional property. The MOE is busy covering their own asses trying to protect the others.

      Get yourself a lawyer, indeed, neighbours of the Helena Street Spill. You'll get no answers or help from your government.

      Delete
  9. http://www.wired.com/2015/04/incredible-images-algal-blooms-taken-space/
    Click on the photo

    http://www.wired.com/2014/08/lake-erie-algae/

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  10. Speaking of potential pollution, off we go into the world of overloaded sewage treatment plants where the overflow that cant be "handled" (treated) is sent out into the lake to be diluted. With the development we see in the area are these problems being considered? Has anyone seen the stinky sludge that shows up on the shore at Waverly Park after a hot summer week or two? The giant $hit pies that wash up into the shallow water at the Sherkston Shores beach? The cove a few feet south of the Bertie Boat Club 2 or 3 feet thick with black sewage for 2 or 3 hundred feet along what used to be a pristine beachfront? (its private property now but thats no excuse). Where is the all seeing MoE? Taking samples? The lake has a history of taking some real hits in terms of pollution, but there are some real easy ways to see not enough is being done to fix these problems.

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  11. Anyone notice the irony in the article featuring Massa James Thibert in a field that is now available as "industrial land"? He has now become a real estate shill for his corporate masters, the owners of the Fort Erie Race Track. Remember the days when Massa James wailed about the lack of industrial land because of the province's wetland policy? He had all kinds of potential investors waiting in the wings who could not find suitable industrial land in Fort Erie because of the policy? Went on and on about for years. Now, he is suddenly the spokesperson for the potential sale of a large portion of dah-dah-dah-dah (♫♫♫♪) industrial land. He says that there are interested parties (yeah right, that's why you're touting its availability) looking at an unused portion of the Fort Erie Race Track lands now owned by a consortium from Buffalo headed by the infamous Carl Palladino.

    So, this just confirms what we already know about Jim Thibert: he is totally and completely invested in promoting/working for/beholden to the Fort Erie Race Track.

    Otherwise, he's got bupkis to show for all the money that he has received from the taxpayers of Fort Erie.

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    1. Hey come on Madam Editor are you not being rather hard on our "real" Mayor?.......To coin his very well used phrase, we are now finally "Shovel Ready" , whatever that means. Sounds like a statement you feed to a duped dumbed down populace as his whole concept is full of ........well bue/green algae to use a more polite term.

      So now that we are finally shovel ready, the jobs will come rolling in and everyone will have a half decent job?? More blue/green algae if you ask me. By the way, word at the track is Paladino could care less about the ponies and if the now obviously broke province pulls funding, OL Carl will do nothing as his scthiick is real estate development not horse racing. What blue/green algae will Jimmie spew then one wonders?? Not that he has to as "HIS" council will cover up for him (my apologies to Wayne and Donnie as the exceptions). Meanwhile we destroy historic buildings and this council can see no worth in it (of course not as it doesn't pay).

      So we all have a lot of hope now as King Jimmie says so and we have a picture of him grinning like an idiot in front of a couple hundred acres of clear cut mess that will no doubt attract all kinds of investment.......yeah right and for this we have paid him MILLIONS. (BTW, Jimmy is only taking credit for any success by piggy backing off his new bosses greed. One of the few things he does well)

      Only in Fort Stupid can you pay someone huge $$$ to produce blue/ green algae and little to nothing else.

      Delete
  12. Well we have talked about toxic waste & the regions NON explanation & JT's newest friends having industrial land available all of a sudden - you know the saying buy land god isn't making anymore -well I guess THAT IS NOT TRUE in FORT Erie as there is now more land.
    and what about the other land baron in Town - Gary Fraser seems to be having a grand old time - new dev. on Michener Rd on land that has been for sale for 30 years & nobody wanted. What else is he up to?

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  13. It looks like a shameless act of desperattion. Clear it (cut all the bush and trees) and they will come. Who will come? Says " its a lot easier to show if the land is bald. Well, check out that picture and see what is easiest to show because its bald. Might as well disc it up and at least get some sort of cover crop in there. Clear it and they will come. Wouldnt it be nice if it was that easy. We need some new leadership in terms of economic development. That move is just "em-bare-a-sing" when Fort Erie just doesent need any more of that sort of reputation.

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  14. There is so much BS being thrown around over this industrial land issue we really should have a shovel ready to move some of it.So expencive heavy equipment is used to clear land that now belongs to land owners from over stateside. We hope in the interest of "economic development" the money used to pay said heavy equipment didnt come from the funds under the control of the EDTC. That money is from taxs we all pay. Wouldnt it just be the icing on the Paladino cake if after helping this group to buy our land and facilities, the EDTC also helped those guys to clear their own land with our money?? In the interest of "economic development" It really wouldnt surprise anyone from what we have seen EDTC funds used for in the past. If this is true these are "borderoval" criminal acts.

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  15. Somebody must have called the paper for that little photo op. JT in front of the land we paid to clear for the boys across the river, in the interest of economic development. From this maybe a few of the new people in the towns council might finally wake up and see who they have got into bed with. That sort of dishonesty opens a whole new range of possibilitys for the EDTC. Take it to the limit, then beyond, who knows whats next.

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  16. Tax breaks from the "Region" to try to help promote the Motor Speedway along the QEW. Hundreds of jobs, a multiyear plan for construction and the countrys largest (outdoor?) stadium to watch the goings ons. An agreement to try to reduce pressure on infrastructure changes regarding a 2 lane entrance to the facility from the highway. Many millions being thrown around in conversation. Is this like the new bridge across the river we heard so much about from 1998 and on? Where it took so long it became fashionable for people with NY plates to wear a bumpersticker that said "just build the damn bridge"?? Is this one of those projects where it takes so long the whole idea is reduced to a slogan on someones bumper? And still no new bridge? With the regional types throwing a few bones towards the dog house lets hope these rich car loving types finally show us their share of the money. Its in the millions, yes, but try to get this thing in foreward gear before they too may be reduced to a distant memory expressed on the back of someones car in bumpersticker mode. Times a wasting, those dollars arnt going to get any greener by waiting any longer.

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  17. I notice that they took the weed wacker to the scrub land next to the Truck corral, that piece of land along with the land next door was purchased for $120,000 dollars in 1984 dollars from the defunct Air Museum Project run by James Ashby. Heinz Hummel was the then Mayor, that piece of land has been shovel ready since the new sewer and water line was put in for the helicopter plant that was built with taxpayers money ( grants from the province/federal) gratis. Shovel ready and nobody has taken the bait after 35 years. Heinz, the guy who told Toyota, we don't want your stinking union jobs in Fort Erie .So they went to Cambridge and opened not one plant, but two plants. Those jobs with benefits now pay $45 per hour. Glenn Hutton councillor for Ward#2 convinced the Heinz that was a good deal, the for sale sign did not work until the traffic on the QEW was backed up to Black Creek,. and people died in auto and truck accidents .running into stopped vehicles.

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  18. Makes one wonder if old Heinz was still stuck in that old 70's mindset about "foreign" car companys coming here and taking jobs from good old northamerican car builders like GM and Ford. Those old guys used to call those cars japcrap and figured they would never last in those days. Look where that attitude got them. Even now European and Japanese motorcycle companys use state of the art engineering to produce light, quiet, reliable and powerful motorcycles that are used all over the world, but what seems to impress are the sluggish, heavy, overpowered, overweight, overpriced , overdecorated products from the american H. Davison company. Go figure. Theres still a little of that 70's attitude around.? Learn from history or be doomed to repeat it. There are any number of companys suited to this area, we just need promotion from people that think modern. Car racing and horse tracks? High tech is what has fueled huge job growth in many citys. Even Buffalo has figured that out to some extent. It sure would be nice to get some more up to date minds working in the EDTC before its too late. Heavy shiney and loud is from yesterday. People want a chance for a piece of what a real future can bring.

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  19. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. especially when he is doing so well with the old ones. The EDTC is not forward thinking & really should be dissolved, But when you have the OLD BOYS who are like minded in charge then nothing will change, All Fort Erie seems to attract are snake oil salesmen a throw back form the last decade, Same old con's supported by past thinkers.

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    1. CorruptionFighterApril 26, 2015 at 1:51 PM

      couldn't have said it better Curious...........some of the ol boys makes lotsa $$$$ off their old tricks, a couple should write a book......"How to Screw a Town's Future and Profit it by it"....... Now we have the next generation trying to mimic them with the likes of Switch Hitter Steve , Jimmie Dirt Bag's protege whom the Butt is already in bed with, at least financially.

      6 degrees of separation is less than 1 in this town.

      Delete
  20. I have been discussing with an old timer who was raised around Helena Street area , and what he was telling me, things are far worse than imagined, and the Town does not want to let the cat out of the bag,, It seems many years ago a paint plant used to operate between the two Bingo Halls ,doing business where now stands an empty lot, for sale, Golden Nugget and what is now an International Church, that plant used to make paint that had high levels of lead in it, when it was legal, and the Town is aware that the ground has absorbed a lot of spilled lead , and much of that area is saturated with the stuff, water from Garrison Road filters down towards the Lake Water table, an adjacent lot was black topped to cap the soil and used as an auto transfer station, so the Town possibly figured that lowered the risk factor, problem is in the infinite wisdom, they decided to dig very deep and wide ditches which started the water flowing into the ditches , with it the lead , just like Love Canal surfaced. so now we have these chemicals let loose, we have lead, He said that the plant that had these chemicals, Toluene ,Xylene and Acetone made an octane booster when added to cheap regular gasoline took out the knocking and upped up the mileage, In my opinion people around there seeing their property now devalued should get a lawyer, lot's of them preferably out of Town lawyers. ASAP.

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    1. I'm pretty sure you're referring to the old Lucidol plant. Lead contamination is just scratching the surface of what's buried out there. Another fine example of corporate responsibility.

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  21. It would seem in terms of that meeting about the spill into the ditches along Helina street, a record of what was asked and the answers should have been published in one of the newspapers. You can be sure that meeting was recorded in fine detail by the MoE even if you didnt see it. Thus so many of the dead end answers to some very simple questions that were asked. The MoE does not attend public meetings that are not recorded. In the interest of public information, the reporters attending should at very least also record what was said and print what they heard. We pay these people.If they look scared to say somthing its for a good reason. Like their jobs.

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    1. Like this?
      http://www.niagarathisweek.com/news-story/5570998-chemical-cleanup-costs-continue-to-climb-toxicity-levels-decline/

      Delete

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