Thursday, July 2, 2015

HAPPY CANADA DAY, FORT ERIE?

UPDATE: HERE is why Americans are not coming to Canada for Friendship Festival activities. Great weather notwithstanding, the atmosphere and the location for such festivities is outstanding. An estimated 20,000 people attended the all-day event which culminated in a spectacular fireworks display donated by a local businessman. The renaissance of Buffalo has picked up more and more energy as people flock to the waterfront area. Beaches and waterfront areas are being improved and cleaned up. It's all about making the visitors' experience unforgettable and fun.

Fort Erie has the natural resources and locations to become a desired visiting place once again. Just need people with a vision that does not include high rises on public beachfront property. Enhance and improve what we are blessed with and people will come and spend money.





Searched the morning news services on line and found a great series of pictures of Canada Day in Niagara. All over the region, parades, festivities, fireworks and family fun took place, caught on camera. All but Fort Erie which didn't seem to have anything except a quarter hour of taxpayer-paid fireworks. Hopefully that was well-attended.

You know, I'm embarrassed for my adopted town. WTF? Did not anyone from the once-great Friendship Festival see that when they decided the dates for the event? Holy cripes, Batman. Now the American summer residents will get to celebrate their July 4 holiday at a wonderful community festival in Ridgeway that starts on July 4 (Friday.)

No one can blame the Friendship Festival organizers for the bad weather for last weekend's event. I have not attended the festival in years as there is nothing there of interest to me. I do not fault the organizers for that either, but I suspect there are many others who do not attend for similar reasons to my own. What I am hearing through various people is that everything, including vendor sites, are very expensive. What was once a great low-cost event has become a cash grab and I feel for those parents who must part with significant amounts of money so their children can go on the rides at the festival. I can't get past former Friendship Festivals that celebrated Canadian-American friendship where events coincided with events just across the Niagara River in Buffalo. Fireworks were part of the Friendship Festival, enjoyed by those in Canada near the Old Fort while Americans enjoyed it at LaSalle Park in Buffalo. On July 4, the Americans provided the fireworks from Riverside Park just across the Niagara River near Fort Erie. Great shows and a wonderful choice of handmade items and artwork in a festival that stretched over days and a length of the Parkway between the Old Fort and Mather's Arch. 

Yeah, we know that the bingo money is down. We know that, OK? Then, how can Ridgefest go on for a few thousand dollars, attracting thousands each year? I go to Ridgefest every year because there is a lot to see and it costs me very little to enjoy the festival. Families really enjoy the event and there are a lot of things for the kids to do and see that doesn't cost a fortune.  Food is good and there is plenty of music, along with a street dance sponsored by a service club. 

Fort Erie Friendship Festival organizers have missed the point while they had a bunch of bingo money to throw around. The "bigger" it got, the smaller the potential audience became. If people want nothing but a series of bands parading on stage, they might go to a music festival. The rest of us, members of the Woodstock generation, have had enough of loud bands and third-rate performers; we have all seen the real McCoys. Well-known crafters and artists used to place the Friendship Festival as Number One on their list; now few even show up because the price for a booth is outrageous. 

I believe that the Friendship Festival's only hope is to return to is more humble beginnings. It must run on July 1, even if that is the last day of the festival. Fireworks for a longer period must be part of the event, not budgeted separately. I also believe that the current organizers need to step aside as any long-time organizer/president of any group should step aside after a few years. Stagnancy is bound to happen and the Friendship Festival is in its death throes.

Anyway, Happy Canada Day (a day late as I was elsewhere enjoying Canada Day.)  I am so proud and happy to live in this great country.

33 comments:

  1. Fort Erie Times newspaper does it again. Half page spread on page 3 of the Times about Ridgeway Days Festival includes just about every detail possible and with room left over an old colour photograph of a past street scene. Somehow in all the excitement and spellchecking and so on they forgot to include the dates of what weekend its on. Guess we will go to their website and nose around. They must have got so worked up over the editorial commenting on people complaining on how lame the Freindship Festival has become (on page 6) they forgot to include a few critical details about Ridgeway Days. From that viewpoint this isnt a complaint BUT they may want to hire a few high school students to look over the copy before its sent to print. The high priced help just aint "feedin the cat" as its said in the business.

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    1. You may want to read the whole paper before squawking. Page 3 is just an article on the Ridgeway Festival. The mid section (pages 19, 20, 21, and 22) is devoted to the festival containing dates, times, schedules, and advertisements from mostly Ridgeway businesses.

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    2. KISS (keep it simple stupid)July 2, 2015 at 10:02 PM

      You may NEED to read the whole paper to get all the details regarding the Ridgeway "Festival" (street closure/sales booths). If thats how its done here they need a lot more help at that tired excuse for a newspaper.

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  2. One Patriotic GuyJuly 2, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    To me it is a sad commentary of the times. We were a once proud town that boasted industry, tourism, great downtowns and a lot of water to frolic in. We have become a town of the unemployed, little tourism and downtowns that need a lot of work. We still have water to frolic in though.
    We boast of having one of the largest boarder crossings into and out of Canada, yet year after year we do not invite people to stay. We offer them very little incentive to be here, to celebrate our great little town.
    The festival was not good this year because of the weather but if you talk with enough locals they will tell you they do not go much any more.
    The Ridgeway fest is better but it is starting to stagnate as well. Even Canal Days is becoming the same every year.
    For a town that has provided a lot of cash to the racetrack year after year. For a town that is going to giving a great amount of cash to the DBSN over the next few years, And for a town that can find ways to spend our way to bankruptcy, you would think that each and every year they could provide the towns people with even a slice of cake on July 1st.
    We have in our town one of the largest if not the largest Refugee welcome centres at the Peace Bridge. We have a lot of services for these people as they come into our country and yet we cannot even show them that we are proud and we celebrate the date that we became a country and a milestone anniversary of our flag with dignity. What do they think of us?
    We as a town are becoming very sad and pathetic.
    To see even towns with less population in the region have Canada Day celebrations, we are, or soon will become a laughing stock of our region.
    To even say it will be better next year because Canada Day is on a Friday and can be combined with the festival is just laughable.
    Canada Day should be a celebration every year no matter what day of the week it is on.
    Come on Fort Erie wake up and demand at least a slice of cake next year. Quit being complacent about what we deserve in OUR town.

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    1. CorruptionFighterJuly 2, 2015 at 9:30 PM

      and we have paid MILLIONS $$$$$$$$ to Jimmy Dirt Bags EDTC (T is for tourism btw) to do what I ask........Money well spent as at least if he gets it the cash unbelievably rich DSBN doesnt (still shaking my head on that one. Good job there council!!).

      For a town thats close to moral, social and financial bankruptcy we sure have a lot of $$$ to just piss away. Why isn`t the EDTC running the Festival as it`s tourism is it not. At least we would get something for that VERY large bucket of money thrown down the toilet to keep a useless blowhard in the lifestyle he has become accustomed to.

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  3. Black Creek/Douglastown where the event first started back in 1983 , after relinquishing the "Peace and Friendship" Festival to Louis Ziff and the Chamber of Commerce people , made the "Victoria Day" Festivities our new focal point, This year it was the largest attended event yet, by word of mouth,,. Yes! we have fireworks paid for by generous donors , many of whom are business owners. we don't have a full time event organiser, it is all volunteer, Ron Tripp and family from St.Catharines attended as he seems to like our events. You will never find "The Fort Erie Pravda'" covering any of our events they never have, Our Canada Day events were even covered by radio station CJRN , The Pravda couldn't find us on a map .or they were too lazy, even though we advertised in their weekly rag. it is very odd that Flo Odding's group chose the dates that they did, as our Fort Erie events were always held in conjunction with the American festivities , so people could visit either events at the same time. The whole concept has been changed radically and now it is a shadow of what it once was, Niagara Falls is now the place to be around July 1st , another great loss for our town. anybody who watches our films of the original Festival and see our ideas, can see why the Festival no longer represents, what we are.

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  4. Didnt even think of that. You need to pay someone to set up your stuff in a booth? Wouldnt it be of benifit to everyone if that sort of thing was free of cost? No wonder the thing is fadeing away. Just make it one long craft fair/ yard sale or something. As usual they red tape the thing to death. Costs to show your stuff? Sheesh! Any word on what those costs are? Do people have to pay to "get in"? (Or so bad ,pay to get out). Even the horse track is a free walk in isnt it? Money talks but free admission sings.

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  5. All I know is that a friend of mine paid a lot (didn't ask her how much) for a spot last year. She did not make much money and did not return this year. She is one of many over the years who dropped away from setting up at the Friendship Festival. I think it is free to attend, even the concerts, but the cost of the midway is very high. One must purchase a day pass, rather than buy rides separately, I have heard.

    Seems to me there was a lot more going on in previous years.

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  6. Would really like to hear some financial stats on the festival. Did I read correctly that their budget this year was $250,000? Say it ain't so please. If correct someone has some accounting to do where the bucks went.

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  7. There was a lot more going on in previous years. We doubt if anyone would miss that tired exercise in road closures. Its too bad the town doesent have a fairgrounds where an event like this could build onto itself from year to year. In good years add a building or two and in the lean tighten up and make do. This effort, a complete build up and tear down from year to year is too expencive and time consuming. Its probly too late now but no one could say we dont have the land to dedicate to such a fairground park. So much surplus land industrial and otherwise that communitys with a lot more vision would love to have to develop a fairground .A lot tof them have a horsetrack in there too. They just didnt do it right here and now we see the results. Sound familiar? Did all that land connected with the track vanish down a rabbit hole before such an idea was considered? We may be renting back some of that space in the not too distant future for the boys from Buffalo to make this thing work like it should have so many years ago. At least they were "Friendly" about it. Not to say we were sold out, were we? JT, any comment?

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  8. The Canada Day cake sounds like a pretty good idea, Steve Pessario has a connection for that sort of thing. We could have his cake and eat it too.

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    1. We don't have a Hospital in Town anymore.

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  9. There is a walk in clinic on the strip mall sorta near the EDTC offices funny enough. With the prevelance of junk food take out and heavy salty chow at most of the restaurants here the hospital probly isnt an issue. There are however a number of funeral homes for the eating impaired and business is brisk for strokes, heart problems, and general weight related problems. Cake is probley served after the service, although a bacon sandwich would likely be more appreciated. Run down (ie;drive over) to the mall and get a few more pounds. If we can convince the guests to eat this stuff, the guests will soon be the clients. Is that french fry eating contest still a spectator sport at Ridgeway Days festival?

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    1. I despise eating contests. Certainly gives the wrong message to young children. I did read that McDonald's is closing 700 restaurants worldwide because it is losing money. Perhaps people are finally waking up to the fact that most fast food places do not serve healthful food.

      I find it very hard to afford good quality food. It takes a lot of hard work to stretch a limited budget to include healthful foods. Places like McDonald's are expensive, plus the food is questionable as to freshness and quality. Anyone who has seen the film "Supersize me" would be very wary of going to McDonald's ever again.

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  10. Overweight is the new "normal". Even airlines are getting complaints from people claiming the seats are too small. They havent changed. The general population has. People with an average BMI (body mass index) are looked on as thin, too slim or skinny, (a new bad word in terms of a critical judgement). With the high price of the new king of red meats reaching record prices it might keep a few eaters from that source of fat intake, but their going to get it somewhere else if the addiction is to be fed. Thus the bottom of the barrel stuff, cheap, easy to get and finger likin good. Couple that with a real lack of heart pounding exercise and we got a real problem with what will be a real drain on the health care system. A walk? Burns about 200 calories per hour, about one large slice of bread. Even the dogs being walked look fat. Fine for a farm animal, not so good for poochie, or its walker. Fat loss sites? Thousands. Weight gain sites? Very, very few, usually a commercial site selling soya in a can for people trying to bulk up for some job. Traveling in a distant part of the world local people noted we, in north america eat so often (and so much) we have "names" for our meals (lunch etc). Never felt the same after one of those trips.

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  11. Another one of the many problems with food chains like McDonalds is just how loud and ugly it is on the inside. People may have been impressed years ago to go into a place loaded with neon coloured plastic decor but there has been a shift to a more subtile way to enjoy a restaurant experience. Even the T Hortons franchises caught on early and use a lot of deep brown colour and a much more played down look that people like when they walk in. No clowns or plastic play centres although the food still leaves a lot to be desired. The Mick Dee produces an amazing amount of trash too when you consider the volume of food received verses the packaging that goes into the garbage. A buffet might do well although some of the slobs at that place might scare off the light eaters (where the real profit margin is). All businesses rise and fall in cycles. General public demand is always the best indicator wether its old junky semi-antiques or greasy food. No amount of "spin" is going to change the publics perspective in the long run. Competetive eating? Who would have those two words could have even been used in the same sentence a few years ago.

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  12. Even with the 20% bonus on the exchange on the US/CAN exchange rate there isnt enough for a large number of visitors from the U.S. side to cross over, then stay in this town. There are a base of steady visitors for sure, but then you see the number of cars crossing then continue to drive west out of the area. Toronto and points beyond. Would be lucky to see even one in ten actually exit off into the town and then many only for a few supplys (food and gasoline) to get further away. Even the way the highway itself is set up makes it so easy to cross the border then just keep going. Fort what?

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    1. Yet those who do come to Fort Erie (Crescent Park, Thunder Bay and Crystal Beach) are sometimes not given a warm welcome by those with a bug up their ass regarding Hot Dog Eaters. These dinosaurs forget that the influx of Americans every summer was the life blood of those communities. They pay taxes and spend money in the town; they frequent local restaurants and stores; they love Canada and treasure the beaches and its waterfront.

      What should be a thread that holds both Canadians and Americans together: the waterfront, is the cause of distrust by the locals against what they perceive as interlopers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just look around at license plates when traveling through The Beach. Every one of those American license plates represents a decision on the owner's part to come to Canada. They could go elsewhere, but they chose to spend their summers here.

      They have a vested interest in what goes on here. If there is no decent beach or convenient parking does anyone think that Americans as well as Canadian tourists will come to the area? What else is there, really? A horse track? A promise of a NOT NASCAR car track? A crappy Friendship Festival?

      The Ridgefest proves that the right kind of festival, well-organized (and with good weather of course) will draw thousands. Lots of free and reasonable things for kids and adults alike to do and see. Music and dancing, all fun things.

      Perhaps Bridgeburg should take over the Friendship Festival and do like Ridgeway and block the street off. Get rid of the expensive midway and put in some more kid friendly events and rides. Arrange to have the fireworks set off at the foot of Jarvis Street.

      I don't know if any of that would work, but it's worth a look. (And fire Flo Odding. Please.)

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  13. Not to beat the thing into the ground but if people are not given a warm welcome its probly not the licence plate on their car. Its become pretty fashionable to be pretty rude to strangers around here, (unless of course if they are spending money, then its "how yoo dooin friend"?). Heard a few people ("folks") saying the Canadians are "too nice" as if its a character flaw. Now, coming from New Yorkers thats excuseable, as "nice" isnt something you would want to be accused of on a day to day basis over the river, not wise OR safe. However, if people hear that around here, well, its more than likely people just might need to fix that little misunderstanding. Theres nothing new about this situation, and it gets a lot more pronounced once you get away from this little strip mall of a border town. Just sayin, the overwelming mentality of this sort of thing seems to be working in the direction of "dont be prejustice, dislike everyone equally". (unless they have a lot of money to spend, then its "hey, how yoo dooin friend) no matter where theyre from. (or what their licence plates say).

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  14. I think if you treat others with respect you get the same treatment in return no matter where you come from. I love Crystal Beach. When walking along the road as we all do, when encountering someone, we always have a friendly nod even to strangers. There is an exception, teenagers!

    The fourth of July fireworks along the beach was a wonderful friendly American/Canadian event. It doesn't get better than that with all ages enjoying the special event.

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  15. Teenagers. Yes. Who else as a group are so fashion aware. The cold hard stare. Prefirably while blowing out a mouthfull of tobacco smoke. Prison fashion droopy pants and "hoodies". Sorry Observer, you can treat someone with respect, that DONT mean youre going to get it back. Be nice if it were that simple, solve a lot of big problems in the world. A nod from a stranger is respect? Has it really got to that point? All over the USA new yorkers are among the least liked people in the whole country. Dont know why. Dont matter why. We got a town with a lot of them. Ask some of them sometime, see how that goes. Seen some pretty rude displays in the past. Not the least of in the council chambers from old JT himself. Now where do you think he's learned all that attitude? How "bout mayor Doug. A real gentleman? Could a little of that NY magic have rubbed off on those two?

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  16. CorruptionFighterJuly 6, 2015 at 11:32 AM

    Tonight is the big `WHAT DO WE DO WITH BAY BEACH MEETING``.....just a reminder.

    Like we need to spend 100 grand on another study that anyone including teenagers can tell you. BTW teens, you have the most to loose here. A strong showing would help as the suits don`t want to deal with your wrath at loosing the best beach around.

    Be prepared to read between the lines as there will likely be lots of cute phrases and plenty of smoke to hide the ol boys GIVE the beach away again for ``amenities`` and a generous stipend in the right bank accounts. Yes they are well paid to listen even ask pertinent questions, then take all the notes away to the nearest recycle bin after a good shredding of course.

    I hope every teen for miles shows up to fight for their right to enjoy a nice beach.

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  17. Well certainly in a crowded environment one doesn't nod to everyone! Here in the beach just out walking I think it is rude not to acknowledge someone when you pass. If they do snub me [it happens], I just figure they are ignorant and go on my merry way.

    and mayor martin, that's a very different story!

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  18. Just look at the beautiful beach scene on the front of the new phone book,,,that folks is what we are known for so lets start living up to it.o such thing as a beautiful waterfront if you go to Waverley. The Rich ammonia smell is nothing compared to the STENCH of that waterfront...defy you to go near the water without a gas mask. SHAME on you Council for not demanding better.

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  19. There were a couple of people running a noisy stinky jet ski just outside the ropes (chest deep water) at the beach a little while ago. There are places where that kind of rudeness would be considered criminal and the slobs arrested. Not here though. Too nice. Its the same attitude that allows motorcycles at 90 decibels to roar around, in your car? A ticket for sure. Same slobs, different vehicle. Rudeness comes in a lot of forms. Sure wish the kids didnt have to see it. What are they going to learn? Or what have they already learned? Sure see a lot of it now.

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    1. It would be nice if the Police and by-law officers enforced the noise by-law!! It's a Great Way to generate some Much Needed Revenue!

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  20. I just came from the latest iteration of The Bay Beach Study. Same sh*t; different century. The people I talked with are very cynical about this study. After all, we can go back to 1996's C.A.U.S.E Study, through the Charettes and on to the award-winning Crystal Beach Master Plan. All the effort by volunteers in the community was pretty much thrown out when the lure of a high rise developer presented itself. We could be now enjoying a refurbished, natural beach with amenities if certain people at town hall hadn't been so geredy and ignorant. The "facilitators" let each group think that what we suggest will be given consideration. They might start by calling for the repeal of the by-law that gave permission to build a twelve story condominium tower on public waterfront land. Not they're still hung up on getting "a reasonable return" on the property.

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  21. Beach scene on the cover of the new phone book. Its not around here, there are no islands like that. The way it works now, (and with the money Bell has) they can pay someone to create any photo you can imagine, And a few you cant. Could be beach chairs in the side of a mountain on one of Jupiters moons if they had a mind to. As for the stink at Waverly, well it isnt much more pretty in many of the sheltered bays from here to Lowbanks. If the giant shitpie lets a few ones float into the Bay Beach area we bet the "town" wouldnt know what to do. Its only some tiny bit of backward luck it hasent happened yet. Keep flushing that gunk out into the lake at the Rose Hill plant and we will all be wishing for the freezing weather to return and pronto. Already see some of it at the west end of Pleasant Beach waterfront. (you know, the SS "resort"?) Those clowns in council? Theyre thinking "what are you doing at the beach? You should be shopping, playing golf, or at least at home staring at a television set,"( in AC of course). "Let us show you what the beachfront is for, you just relax".

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  22. Quite a dog and pony show. They seemed confused on a few points, although it could have been mistaken for a lack of creative deception. These arnt the sharpest knifes in the drawer. Shall see tomorrow if they can get their storys straight. The whole thing about "just starting out " is going to wear pretty thin. For $100,000 plus, it would seem, thats a pretty expencive starting out. What was that rasping sound? Could that be the sound of the screws being put on?

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  23. This is a Town that throws money at numerous studies, Bridgeburg has been studied to death, starting in the early 1980s every two years, when the new council took office a study was ordered for Jarvis Street, literally millions of tax money squandered , last time Wayne was Mayor they had two study's done within a year, one mandated by the Province the other by Wayne's Council,. never has a any council adopted anything out of all those very similar studies a complete waste of time and our money, this council will be just like any other council, receive and file in file #13.leaving us a lot poorer and egg on our faces.

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    1. I think that the facilitators thought we were a bunch of idiots that have no knowledge about Crystal Beach. It became clear to me and others that they were trying to push their own version of the truth. At our table, they were corrected by a rather cynical group of us. In fact, in the beginning, when there was a slide presentation full of inaccuracies, I was tempted to stand up and call bullshit on the whole thing. They even had thwe nerve to cite the 2007 Parking Study for the Beach that was a farce. Other "statistics" were wildly inaccurate, based on flawed research. Anything to try to get us to the conclusion they were seeking.

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  24. view_from_the_beachJuly 7, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    Here's a reminder for us all as this "new" Bay Beach usage study gets cranked up.
    The ONLY thing that shut down the ridiculous condo idea was the inability of the developers to sell enough units.
    Why that was the case likely has more to do with the inability to obtain clear title for the land than anything else.
    Until the "title" issue is resolved it seems to me that this "study" is but another attempt to jam even more of the same bullshit down the throats of Crystal Beachers all the while keeping the tracks greased for..well you know who?

    "Reasonable return on investment"
    Who the fu#k is kidding who?

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    1. There were questions about the Molinaro lawsuit and the title issue but the consultant said that it didn't matter regarding the study. Hello? So, this expensive study could result in different conclusions that would be negated if the title issue finds an open road allowance (that can't be built upon) and a small strip of land parallel to the water owned (?) by neighbours.

      we all know that the Molinaro lawsuit was timed to the election to cast a negative impression on the voters. It served its purpose; the Molinaros set their own time limit and they failed to sell the self-imposed number of units. Developers are famous for these sour grapes lawsuits. They have money to burn on lawsuits and to get what they want from stupid people who run towns like Fort Erie. How else can one explain the giving away of the prime piece of public waterfront parkland to a developer? It's not over either. Promises were made; money accepted and spent; payback is still expected.

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