Monday, September 28, 2015

PAY ADMISSION TO BAY BEACH?

Frankly, I'm tired of talking about Bay Beach, but we must, mainly because of how the whole Bay Beach Properties Issue has been mishandled from the time it was purchased from the George Rebstock back in 2001.

Since that time, for some possibly (fill-in-the-blank) reason, the property has been treated as a step-child in the Fort Erie Family. We quickly learned that the property was "required to bring a return on the investment" of $2.05 million. So, early in 2002, someone at town hall decided to sell off the north parking lots to fund an extension of the Friendship Trail. Soon, there was opposition and, eventually the idea was dropped. But, we knew that was not the end and, almost as soon as Doug Martin was elected, the other shoe dropped and we entered the Molinaro Era which was bad, very bad.

So, here we are again; back to 2001 with another "study" to decide the future of the Bay Beach Properties. And, once again, they're talking about selling off the north sections (parking lots.) Thanks so much, we really needed to hear that again, a decade or so later. Meanwhile, the beach itself is drawing more and more people, mainly because it is free and the nearby Sherkston Shores is closed to day trippers.

We are hearing stories of parking problems; garbage on the beach and crowded conditions. The paid parking lots at the Beach are a mere $5.00 for the day, while non-enforced parking nightmares make local residents angry. Busloads show up on nice weekend days, depositing people from far away. They go to the free beach and spend the day until the bus returns. At the end of the day, there are piles of garbage bags that sometimes sit for days before they are removed. Just past Point Abino, Pleasant Beach has been overrun with beach-goers as well. 

Something has to be done. But what? Earlier, I had offered that there is a report that over 7,000 people were at Bay Beach on one day this summer. Even if half that number were non residents and were charged $1.00 admission, that would bring $3,500. on a good day. I also opined that the parking lots should charge as much as the hospitals charge at their lots. Years ago, there was a resident card available for the beaches of Fort Erie. Don't know what ever happened to that initiative. 

So, have at it. What do you think? Tonight the Study will be presented to council. Watch for the hook in the sandwich. As I said earlier: Back to 2001.

(I'm going to transfer the remarks about this issue from the previous thread.)



51 comments:

  1. Sharon, would you start a conversation about the pros and cons of charging beach admission to out of towners?
    The Bay Beach Master Plan suggestions will be presented at Council this Monday.

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  2. What is the definition of a resident? Would it include the seasonal property owners/

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  3. Not unlike someone visiting Niagara Falls, being able to visit the lakefront should remain free of charge. At Niagara Falls money raised from parking fees more than cover a variety of expences the NPB seem to manage very well. Would familys pay to park then get charged one by one as they go through some gate? Residents, nonresidents whomever, no one deserves this kind of treatment. At best put in a donation box or two similar to what they did at the outdoor pool and if people want to pay so be it. To be double charged like that is just plain wrong. Besides if we ever hope to attain park status for that stretch of waterfront charging people to visit a park purchased with tax funds sets a bad example. If that was privately owned OK, but not public land, and certainly not in some way that takes advantage of people that are not living here full time or otherwise. We sure could use a more open ended approach to promoting tourism here. The EDTC isnt going to do it except for their seasonal interest in a horse track (still foreign owned no less). When that property was privately owned an admission charge was appropriate. Not now. Resident visitors or not.

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  4. To charge or not to charge, is a big issue. I think the problem this year at Bay Beach is the fact that too many buses come in drop off beachgoers for the day and then pick them up at four and leave. One must agree that the beach was too crowded. Should a capacity limit be set to stop this problem?

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  5. That beach is for sure too crowded at times. Imagine a family arriving and being told "sorry, you will have to wait untill a few people leave" like at some popular restaurant, wait for a spot to open up. Approaching Bay beach by boat it looks like an ant hill someone stirred up with a stick sometimes. No wonder not that many locals from outside CB go there. Its a mob scene at times and some people enjoy that. If there was more waterfront open to the public we wouldnt see that so much. Maybe that is something that has to be considered even though there are greedy self centred types that have done their best to keep that from happening.

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  6. Absolutely NO CHARGE!!.........the beach is everyone's right to enjoy and the town should look elsewhere on turning a buck a two. After all years of successive council's (with 1 or 2 exceptions) have squandered opportunity after opportunity here. So don't make day tripping beach goers pay for it now.

    Tear down all the fences, charge/regulate parking and encourage private business to set up shop nearby. This in turn employs people and pays taxes back to the already way too wasteful, short sighted TOFE, who for the most part cannot see past individual greed and opportunism(gotta keep those connected insiders rich and happy!). That should keep them away for at least a short while and what little public beach we have left, safe for ALL to enjoy, whether you're from here , there or wherever.

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  7. So you want the Fort Erie taxpayers to foot the bill for all of the Beach improvements & amenities, & the tourists who come for the day get the use free.
    That makes no sense.

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  8. What do you say when tourists use the Rail to Trail" for bike riding, or the public space and benches at Waverly Park? The services at Bay Beach are pathetic, bathrooms, etc. On the topic of what the taxpayers of Fort Erie are "footing the bill" for, there are much bigger fish to fry than that overcrowded beachfront. If the trash isnt getting picked up its the fault of some overpaid director (read; sunshine list) not picking up a phone and barking a few orders over in the direction of the town works department who give a new meaning to the term lazy, and they know it and get a laugh over what they get away with. Besides, any money raised by charging admission to a publicly owned property would just disappear down some dark rabbit hole at the town "hall" as so often has happened in the past (consider half a million dollars, being "given" to a foreign owned horsetrack). Few people with any real sense of peacefullness would tolerate that crowded circus at Bay Beach on a hot day, but to try to screw the few visitors that make it this far south of the Falls isnt right. No wonder they dont stay longer. Would you? To do what? Eat greasy food? Dodge cars on Erie road? For this ask them to pay for the privelege? They are already getting the idea what a dead end this place is. Dont have to rub it in by putting your hand any deeper in their pockets than they already are.

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    1. Unfortunately, I agree with a lot of what you're saying. Remember when there was a booth at the Waterfront Park for boaters to pay for the use of the launch? Well, the booth was blow away in a storm. The money also disappeared. It's bad when some town employees cannot be trusted to do their job, considering their good paychecks. A close look at what has happened over the years would unearth a lot of this sort of thing. I also remember when a bingo license was, for some, a license to steal from the charities that should have received the money. For such a small town, there certainly is a lot of graft and theft.

      As to the racetrack, I'm surprised that there was no investigation into what happened to the $2 million from the province a few years ago that was supposed to help tourism in Fort Erie that went straight to the foreign owners of the race track in some phony "purchase scheme." Thanks for that Kim Craitor and Jim Thibert from the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation.which should be renamed to the Equestrian Doucebag Touring Cabal.

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  9. I'm reminded of one of the great sayings of Yogi Berra: "No one goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

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  10. The track is (again) owned by millionaires and yet the "town" (a few insiders that owed favors) agree to this give away. Wayne and Don? did not. Credit to them. This year lets "give" a half million or so to improvements at one of the only public beachfronts that merit visits from thousands of people from all over (I spoke with people from Argentina there on a side visit from N. Falls.) Charge to get onto the sand at Bay? Try to enforce that one, friends. As for busses bringing people to the waterfront? It happens all over the world! What is with this town. For that we need to extort money from these visitors? The town should be supporting enhanced transit on weekends anyway, again with some of the money being given away to rich guys with a horse habit. The people that live here would benifit from such a plan as well. And if the extra busses stop near the water on a hot day GREAT!! Why not? Part of the "masters" plan?

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  11. I have flipped back to free entrance. Last night Donna from the consulting team mentioned that there are documented results that there is still overcrowding at beaches with admission charges.
    For sure the most sand space possible should be a criteria. There are concept plans with a huge overlook coming way out over the sand south of the lobster house. In my opinion that should be scrapped, take the old foundation down and have all that extra beach.

    For sure charge more for parking close to the beach and at the Waterfront Park. Five dollars a day is ridiculously low.

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    1. Did you also notice how the consensus is that parts of the north parking lots would be sold off? The "parking solutions" offered will not work because they will not be enforced. Anyone who has had to go to the hospital for even a short test/visit knows that it would cost at least $6., more like $10. in parking fees. Bay Beach Parking should be at lest $10. per day. Still a bargain.

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  12. Don't you get it?

    These fuckers are going to do whatever THEY want to do because they've got the community completely bull shited and their trained monkeys on Council.

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    1. And look what lengths they went to to get their way: bogus lawsuits against four decent, duly-elected men on council; slander and lies spread by their stupid blogger(s) and deputations to council; dozens of meetings allowed to go out of control while the mayor-by-five-votes had a temper tantrum; and a well-financed campaign to ruin the reputations of those who spoke out against those who wanted to plunder Crystal Beach and use its best natural asset to make money for themselves and years of bullshit studies and bogus information fed to the people by way of a complicit, ineffective local media.

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    2. Well..
      Looks like "somebody" gets it

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  13. Do the thousands who visit Bay Beach have a positive economic benefit to local businesses and if so, how much? I suspect that the impact is minimal for the day-trippers but I really don't know the answer. And what has been the effect in terms of the number of visitors on other comparable beaches that have instituted a day-use fee?

    Maintaining this beach is costing money and there is inconvenience to the community. I don't go there in the summer and I suspect that many residents avoid it as well. I don't have a problem with my tax dollars being spent on it IF there is an economic benefit to the community but if not, charge visitors a fee, reduce the numbers and recover the costs. Perhaps make a few bucks for improvements.

    In order to make a responsible, informed decision these questions (and more) need to be answered.

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    1. Good questions indeed...Welland hosts Dragon Boat races. Pan Am Games. canoe and kyak competitions and after EVERY weekend event you can read the statistics and costings and net results to Business owners. In essence they have facts and figures as they plan on the next years canal events. These are produced by the EDTC who are staff of the City of Welland. A most productive Dept. Point is we are lacking an EDTC especially the Tourism part. Time for a big change. Wish Council had the balls to make the move back inhouse that they know must be done.

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    2. Don't hold your breath Howie........this is Jimmy Dirt Bag's council(of 5) and thus far all they have done is return to the old Fort Stupid status quo of "ol boy rule for profit" as fast as they can.

      9% tax increase the second they re-took power and now at least 6% more coming this year. That's 15% already with a couple years still to go. You had the wool yanked over your eyes there Fort Erie with a complicit press and plenty of self serving insider lies that removed The Four from working for the greater good. Pissed off yet?? you should be you're paying huge for the privilege of keeping a few very comfortable.

      You show a good example of how it could be, Howie....thanks. Likely it will fall upon deaf ears locally but you never know, maybe hell did freeze over.

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  14. This Town of Fort Erie is indeed run by cretinous folk, I was on Garrison Road to visit Canadian Tire and what baffled me, was seeing all of the fire hydrants painted white, WHITE of all of the colours out there, this is Canada we get snow lot's of the stuff, so why would any body, be crazy enough to paint fire hydrants white ?, when in Winter all along that road, snow is banked along side of the road, the fire people would need to use a metal detector to find the darn things, We used to paint them yellow with blue tops , red is the traditional colour. somebody has been smoking to much weed in my opinion.!!!

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  15. It amazes me that Bay Beach needs to have an "economic benefit" when so many other parks and public places in town, do not. Oaks park, all the structures and boardwalk along the shore of Niagara Blvd. What economic benefit have they produced and how much have they cost? How about the other beaches in town? Are they not maintained? Do they cost the taxpayer? No one is balking at those costs. What about expensive fire halls with stone walls, the museums, the Leisureplex, even Town Hall? The latter paid for with bingo revenues just like Bay Beach. How much money do they cost to maintain, is there a net benefit or do they cost the taxpayer? The bottom line is what cost is enjoyment for the public? Why does everything have to be about money? There is far more to life than the total and complete focus on economic benefit. I would be happy with better washrooms and a few trees. Let the whole thing remain natural as it was intended in the first place. If all the money spent in the last ten years fighting about it, lawsuits, studies, consultants, and on and on, had been spent on the actual beach, it would have been done by now. Deja vu over and over again without any results.

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    1. Exactly, make the south side as natural as possible, no expensive revetment walls. Just get sufficient washroom/change rooms built far enough back from the dunes. Maybe Service Clubs can donate.

      Charge more for parking and enforce it.

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  16. A tribute , tip of the hat to Yogi Berra who just passed away,"Deja vu all over again" We now have a Town run by 5 members of the Chamber of Commerce , who have passed a budget that gives the smallest amount of money for infrastructure , our sewers and water problems are critical and folks like Crescent Park , after 45 years still do not have their broken concrete sewer pipes replaced , and Stevensville has a lack of water and a giant cess pool for sewage disposal, this council worries more about graffiti on mail boxes and dispensation of set backs on beach front property , belonging to their cronies. We had a huge increase in our property taxes which were squandered on an addition to DSBN property , we will not enjoy any financial benefits from that stinking deal.!!!

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  17. The beach is busy. Thats a good thing. It attracts people into the city which in turn provides clients for the local businesses. If the local businesses are failing to turn that into revenue then they or their BIA needs to figure out how. Thats another discussion.
    The key to monetizing a public space is not in charging admission which will alienate a good amount of the people we have worked hard to attract to CB - its in building attractions or concessions around the space that WILL generate income.
    There is a lot of unused space around the beach. How about leasing out spaces in the parking lot to food trucks on a Saturday when there is a captive audience of about 5000 ppl... how about using the old shack to license a beer tent in the summer...
    Small town, small thinking.
    We can do better than $1 for beach admission.

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    1. the one thing this town has plenty of is small thinking unless you're a member of the insiders club then there's plenty of "How to screw the town for my profit" going on.

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  18. I hope it is , they have never used primer on the fire hydrant right in my front yard. ever, must be a new policy.

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  19. view_from_the_beachOctober 2, 2015 at 11:08 PM

    After all the bitching about how "costly" operating and maintaining our public waterfront park is how about mandating that any "return on investment" be used exclusively for its operations and improvement?

    Nah..that wouldn't do. None of it could get funneled to JT's buddies over at the race track.

    Hey kids!
    Porgey and rest of us will really be screaming for "primer" when this bunch gets their hoses attached to our hydrants and start a pumpin' away.

    Yep. It'll be a regular 4 alarmer

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  20. ask Pessaro how much return on investment taxpayers got from the Kinsmen Pool.

    how about the trail?

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    1. how about the rigged by election in ward2 (35 grand$$)........how about his non authorized trip to Toronto on the taxpayer(2 grand).....how about the 10 million $$$ BS lawsuit.......switch hitter steve has been taking lessons from Jean Chretien on how to talk out both sides of his mouth at the same time..... head of the shorewalk votes to give away our best beach, conflict of interest participant, etc etc etc.

      Best return on investment this town could ever make is to charter a bus, load it up with his cronies and take them somewhere far far away, never to return. Probably need a couple buses at least.

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    2. The Kinsman Pool and the Trail are overwhelmingly utilized by residents/taxpayers. I've not seen facilities like this inundated by out-of-towners. I think it's fair to ask how much the maintenance of the Beach is costing us and what the impact on businesses and nearby residents truly is so that an INFORMED decision can be made about user fees for the Beach. If the answer is even close to neutral - keep the admission free and if there is any profit being made, it should be put directly back into improvements. If it is costing a substantial amount then visitors ought to be charged a fee. I also be very interested in hearing from nearby residents and how they are impacted by the large crowds during the summer months. There is a lot of money being spent on a plan for the Beach and it seems to be that these are critical question that need answers. I'll go further in saying that it would be irresponsible to proceed on a plan without the answers.

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  21. Bay Beach was used by locals and taxpayers until Molinaro advertised it to the GTA and surrounding area. As far as the large crowds and their affect on residents, well that was brought up many times before in discussions with the Town. They didn't listen. I think residents in the beach are not necessarily interested in all the frills the planners seem to think the beach needs. Sufficient, clean washrooms and change facilities, a few picnic tables with some shaded areas would certainly suffice for the moment. The Town seems to think they need to spend a fortune, not necessarily the residents. They have already gone through a lot of money and nothing has been accomplished except a divided town over one tiny piece of property. You should go a step further and ask why the Town is proceeding when they don't even have an answer regarding the title issue. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. And we pay these people.

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    1. ahhh......there it is again, the extremely invasive molinaro virus brought to your hometown by Doug and Co. as a means of increasing their bottom line mostly tax free. The most effective known method of neutralizing said virus is by GIVING it expensive waterfront properties and in return you will be given a small but very nebulous amenity that's likely to disappear a short while later. Of course if you don't just cave in to this lunacy all hell breaks loose as witnessed in a small southern Ontario town for the last decade or so. Said virus has also been shown to be much more effective with encouragement from your local(bought out) council and media.

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  22. This new study will in fact accomplish nothing. Nothing will be done because the cost of $2 million dollars is too much for the tax payers, So another couple of hundred thousand dollars for yet another study with no real desire by the Town to make any changes or follow thru with the recommendations of each study.

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  23. After well over a decade of discussions about the Bay Beach properties we are back to square one. The north east parking lot will be sold for their damn return on investment. It doesn't matter that the property was paid for with gambling profits not taxes.
    Council will accept the cheapest scenario from the Planning Group and that will be it.
    Without the interference from martin and martha Crystal Beach would have already had a successful natural beachfront.

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  24. In other news, convicted cheese smuggler cop, Scott Heron, has been arrested again for "breach of release conditions." Details not yet made public. Great guy, eh?

    This is the case of someone finally getting their just desserts after years of misuse of his position as an NRP officer.

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  25. Town Reviews Progress On Bay Beach, says the Times.

    There are many great ideas presented in the article and a few very disturbing the most of which is to quote "all of the plans presented call for reduced parking". Is this consulting group blind or just playing into the current local power structure's(read ol boys investment club) perverse self serving plans. No study needed, just drive by the beach on any hot weekend and open their myopic eyes. Parking is a horrible mess already and they want to reduce it. STUPID!! .Also where is this town going to get 2 million$$$ to carry out this development?? They're not. Period.

    Tear down the dam fences, the derelict old structures, lay off the security, plant a little greenery, police the parking and watch people and business flock to the gem this short sighted, dumb assed town was given and can only seem to destroy for want of short term $$$$$$$.

    Real easy, real cheap but no money grubbing, politically connected insiders get rich at the expense of everyone else, so 1 guess what will happen............

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  26. Why is it that everything must be done in an expedient manner? All level of governments seem to caught up in short term gain for long term pain. There are no visionaries anymore, but I guess that's because it's what the masses want.

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  27. Just reading that a 1924 carousel that had been in storage for years will be refurbished and placed on the waterfront in Buffalo, NY. Grant from state for $500,000. to restore it. And then I think of the carousel in Port Dalhousie that was to be "enclosed" in the big development that failed there. Such shortsightedness regarding the waterfront here in Niagara. We are blessed with wonderful waterfront views and access, yet there are some who want to erect a wall of high rise condos in front of the view. Buffalo, for many years, wasted its waterfront. It was an embarrassment to go anywhere near the waterfront. Then, some people got together and set out a long-term plan which incrementally turned a wasteland into a shining jewel of a tourist attraction. And now, they're getting an antique carousel. It can be done here as well. Just a dedicated group of people who are allowed to plan without the constant pressure of "return on investment" which is a total pile of horse manure. The Bay Beach Properties were bought with gaming revenue (free money) and, since 2001, there has been a constant theme of selling off prime pieces of the property for a "return on the investment." Which is, to me and many others, code for: someone is going to profit from the sale and it is not the people of Fort Erie.

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  28. Somewhere in the vicinity of 10 MILLION $$$$$ has been flushed down that shitter they call the EDTC for just about zero return other than employ a couple of very favored insiders and they worry about 60-70 grand a year for Bay Beach, if you can believe their numbers. For 1 they have not factored in what is spent locally by these unwanted masses with their money. How much is that?? Must be a fairly large number .......WTF!! only in Fort Stupid do they want to turn tourist dollars away. Maybe that puffed up opportunist known as Jimmy Dirt Bag, who is very well paid to promote money making opportunities should look a couple miles down the road to NF for some very basic business advice or just go back where he came from.

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    1. Back to Elliot Lake where he managed to spend a lot of government money on a failed college. He got out before the you-know-what hit the fan. He's got his own Empire here, taxpayer-paid where he acts like a king in his pimp suit.

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  29. I see Facebook flaring up about Passero on the Fort Erie Hi-Lites today. Just wondering if anyone came across the public court case involving Counsillor Zanko at the Washington State Courts in 2013 by searching her name. this is right on Google by searching her name..interesting..in fairness both documents posted should be looked at .is this who Ward 3 or the Town want representing them...and from what I've heard she is no stranger to extramarital affairs either.

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    1. I do not believe that the person named in the court documents in Washington State is the same Kimberly Zanko that we know. She has lived in Fort Erie for several years, if not her whole lifetime. As to any rumours about her personal life, let's leave them to others to air. None of us is perfect, I'm pretty sure. I have nothing against Kimberly Zanko and I hope she learns and grows as a councillor. I just can't stand some of the people who backed her and are probably trying to tell her what to do.

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    2. Hi Sharon. I have looked up the case in Washington and there is no doubt it is the same Kimberly Zanko. I have sent her an email asking for comment about the case. I cannot find whether the case is over or not and what the final outcome was. Maybe FE Resident can let me know if he/she knows the final outcome of the case.

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  30. Sharon, it is the same Kimberley Zanko.. If you check her Linkden her previous employer was A & A Custom Brokers which does business in the US. Unfortunately, I do not agree with your position but I can agree to disagree.

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  31. I stand corrected re: Kimberly Zanko. I want details!

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  32. I do not know any other details...only what I have read online. It would be nice if Kimberly Zanko provided the details.

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  33. I can't say if this is the same person but have a look about 3/4 of the way down this page:

    http://www.courts.wa.gov/appellate_trial_courts/coaBriefs/index.cfm?fa=coabriefs.briefsByTitle&courtId=a01&firstLetter=K

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  34. I've been reading on this blog and can say that this is in fact Kimberly Zanko of Fort Erie. If i recall, her and her BFF McDonald both worked at A & A Custom Brokers but are no longer there anymore. I'm sure once Zanko sees this blog she will address this, and hopefully it will be truthful as this a is very serious issue and speaks to her professionalism in the workplace.

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  35. I was wondering if Fred Bracken got a reply from Zanko to his email. In my opinion, if this were a male individual on council (or a "government official" as Zanko has herself labelled on facebook) would't the community want answers. I think everyone would be jumping on it if it were a male. your thoughts???

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    1. I am curious about this case, now that I have read about it. She should respond to a constituent who asks her a question. It is especially important because it does involve integrity. I was reminded that it was Zanko who took responsibility for the flier that was insulting (and possibly slanderous) to those opposed to the Molinaro Condo Tower in Bay Beach. She was also hand-picked by Jim Thibert to represent the Chamber of Commerce when he was trying to push through an ultimately failed golf course in Fort Erie. Thibert also encouraged and backed Zanko in her run for council.

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