Monday, March 28, 2016


A fight to save a piece of public beachfront property from a developer is going on in Fort Myers Beach, Florida and it is an eerie reminder of the Great Bay Beach Conflict  that took place over the past decade in Fort Erie. Below is an aerial picture of the shoreline in question. It could easily be mistaken for the public beachfront property on Lake Erie once owned by the Rebstock Family that the town of Fort Erie purchased in 2001.

Note the ironically-named Crescent Beach Family Park.  That is the piece of public waterfront property a developer wants to buy in order to complete his "vision" for Fort Myers Beach. The whole state of Florida is an example of what happens when development is allowed to go on unfettered and Fort Myers Beach has so far escaped the ravages of this trend. Many people find places like Fort Myers Beach to be what is best about visits to the Sunshine State. Nice beach, walk-able amenities and entertainment amid the warmth from the cold, northern winters. There are plenty of places in Florida for people to go who wish the constant activity, lights and traffic. It appears that Fort Myers Beach is the perfect place for a restful vacation or a full-time residence.

HERE is a link to the developer's website and an ARTICLE that appeared after the concept was presented to the public. Brings back memories of the time the Molinaros put on a show to advise the townspeople of what a gift their proposed twelve story condo would be to the people of Crystal Beach.  Actually, there were two condo towers in the first offer. (Spoiler Alert: we knew that was a ploy and that they would eliminate one of the towers as a "concession" to the people.)

So, if you look at the aerial photo, The developer has bought everything to the right of Crescent Beach Park from the Salty Crab to the edge of the Gulfshore Grill.

Similar to how the Bay Beach situation played out, two of the most vocal anti-development voices were elected to the Fort Myers Beach town council in a recent election that brought out a record number of voters. Like Fort Erie, the fight to keep the character and charm of the beachfront community resulted in a rift in the community. The local press acted in similar fashion to the local press in Fort Erie, definitely on the side of the developers and their advertisers. Hopefully, the newly-elected councillors will not have to face a vexatious lawsuit financed by a cabal of business people. 

Sources say that, with the new council, the massive development will not be allowed in its present form. A much scaled-down approach might find approval. At least the developer is not proposing high rise hotels; he's staying with three stories. However, the plans call for a major traffic upheaval, similar to the marina project once proposed for the Niagara Parkway that would have included a view-eliminating roadway around the planned hotel.

As I looked at the park the developer wants to buy, it looked a lot like the Bay Beach Properties, except with palm trees. All it needs is some Fowler's Toads to complete its similarity to the situation in Crystal Beach.

I sure hope that the good people of Fort Myers Beach do not have a ten year fight in their future in order to save their town from wrong-headed over development.

UPDATE ON SPEEDWAY: Ministry head promises to work to open doors for the Canadian Motor Speedway

"Last June, the Town of Fort Erie was turned down by the province when it sought funding to help pay for $42 million in upgrades needed for water and wastewater servicing for the site of the project.
The funding is necessary to cover infrastructure costs related to waterman(sic) and sewer servicing to the sprawling 800-acre site near Sunset Drive where the developers hope to build."
So, the town was turned down. So what does that mean? Figure it out. The taxpayers will be footing the bill for the upgrades in order to service the multi-million dollar project. Notice also that the town "sought funding help" for the project and was rejected. The infrastructure for the project is going to be the responsibility of the town, a town of 30,000 people, many of whom are not property tax payers. If anyone thinks their taxes will not be going up even more in the next couple of years, he or she is dreaming.
I still say that Fort Erie cannot afford a project of this size. we are better off making what we have more attractive and visitor friendly. The old Peace Bridge cannot handle the type of traffic a major event would generate; there are few places for race car fans to stay in town; and the noise and traffic could be a nightmare to a town such as Fort Erie.

Coming Up: The lights in Ridgeway are causing headaches. Thanks, Marina. You are nicely fulfilling your Chamber Maid duties to a tee. Too bad you're screwing over your Ward 4 constituency.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Well, there it is. The least-productive Fort Erie councillors have joined their regional counterpart in running up large expenses for "governing" their constituents. In Fort Erie Council's case., along with large tax increases . Newcomers Marina Butler, Chris Knutt ("this is too hard"), and George McDermott reported well over a thousand dollars in expenses, while, the man, Passero, who cost the taxpayers over $50,000. for a by-election voted by the new council, rather than appointing the runner-up to fill the Ward 2 seat left vacant by the death of Rick Shular, used up an additional $1201.42 of taxpayer money.

Only Ward 3 Councillor Kimberly Zanko and Ward 5 Councillor Don Lubberts reported zero expenses.

One would assume that the amount of expenses correlates with the amount of work that the councillors did for their constituents, but it seems that the opposite is true this time. Marina Butler is basically a no-show in Ward 4 and Chris Knutt finds it too much work to represent Ward 6. Of course, neither has to worry much about getting re-elected in 2018 if they want. With the Chamber of Commerce basically controlling the election outcome and the council, there is little hope that there will be any change soon.

Too bad, Fort Erie. You had your chance; instead, you let yourselves be bullied and frightened into voting against your best interests while your former mayor and his friends mounted a vicious lawsuit against four councillors. Only one (Lubberts) survived the Old Guard financed lawsuit and the negative publicity. The case was dismissed, but the damage had been done. Insurance paid the councillors back for their massive expenses to defend themselves for a lawsuit that was born out of spite.

Off Topic: The death of Rob Ford brings out all the praise and accolades. I guess people's grief makes them forgetful. 



Appendix “1” to Administrative Report No. CS-06-2016 – 2015 Statement of Remuneration and Expenses

Name:Mayor Redekop
Salary: $56,904.09
Benefits: $7,015.08
Travel Allowance: $0.00
Expenses: $865.00
Total: $64,784.17

Name: Councillor Butler
Salary: $13,301.37
Benefits: $2,727.00
Travel Allowance: $898.12
Expenses: $1,822.38

Name: Councillor Knutt
Salary: $13,301.37
Benefits: $6,794.40
Travel Allowance: $898.12
Expenses: $1,897.13

Name: Councillor Lubberts
Salary: $13,301.37
Benefits: $2,727.00
Travel Allowance: $898.12
Expenses: $0.00

Name: Councillor McDermott
Salary: $13,301.37
Benefits: $6,775.08
Travel Allowance: $898.12
Expenses: $1,490.59

Name: Councillor Passero
Salary: $9,674.91
Benefits: $5,095.80
Travel Allowance: $653.37
Expenses: $1,201.42

Name: Councillor Shular
Salary: $301.11
Benefits: $183.83
Travel Allowance: $20.22
Expenses: $0.00

Name: Councillor Zanko
Salary: $13,301.37
Benefits: $6,794.40
Travel Allowance: $898.12
Expenses: $0.00

Salary: $133,386.96
Benefits: $38,112.59
Travel Allowance: $5,164.19
Expenses: $7,276.52

Friday, March 18, 2016


But his victims will never receive restitution. An article in the Niagara Falls Review tells of a fraudster named Robert Rawlings, who fleeced a number of people who thought he was investing their money in his extensive network of holdings all over the world. He was small potatoes compared to a local resident, one Gary Fraser, who was convicted of scamming over $2 million from his family and friends. 

HERE is an article to refresh everyone on a man who has been buying property in town and then letting it sit, unused or, in the case of the property on Queen's Circle, demolishing it altogether. Not content to acquire a lot of property in the Crystal Beach/Ridgeway area through "syndicated mortgages," he has apparently branched out into 'cottage country" up north.

Remember this? A once stately historic building at Queen's Circle in Crystal Beach was stripped, then razed after it was purchased by one of the many companies associated with Gary Fraser.

The former Pines Restaurant; Mia's Antiques; numerous cottages and properties have been purchased through syndicated mortgages by various Fraser-connected companies. The seemingly stalled development on Schooley Road in Crystal Beach is also connected to Fraser and his wife.

It took years of effort to rejuvenate The Beach after the CB Amusement Park closed, especially the main business district. Now that Fraser has arrived, the main drag, Erie Road, is starting to look again like it did in the 1990s: boarded up, abandoned buildings and empty cottages.

We have been warning people of this convicted fraudster for a while now.  Whatever his agenda is, it does not seem to be for the benefit of the town.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Well. he has been off the public trough for about four years, so it should be no surprise that Regional Councillor Sandy Annunciata topped the expenses list for councillors, second only to Regional Chair Alan Caslin. He has
had to rely on his renters; occasional sports colour commentary and his sports "business" to support himself before being elected to Regional Council in 2014 beating incumbent John Teal, another member of the Old, Old Guard.

Annunciata claims that he racked up a lot of expenses reaching out to his constituents and doing his duty for the people of Niagara. Check out his expenses HERE.

Some of us wonder if he still makes his daily trip to Buffalo as many have observed over the years. Of course that expense would never be included in his expense report, would it? Nah.

"I'm a boots on the ground kinda of guy and this past year we've had a lot of heavy lifting," said Annunciata to the press. Really? Heavy lifting? From what I have been able to gather, the present regional council is just falling in line as they have always done with the Old Guard. Nothing new happening on this council; no surprises either.