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.


  1. OMG, Sharon.
    Grand Resorts consultant Ron Flick said the development will seek it's own zoning within the comprehensive plan. We had Ron Palmer!

  2. I read your posting for the waterfront fiasco in Florida. Just one point I took from the article that separates the Florida scenario (and yes, it sure it Bay Beach all over again) is that the developer HAS PURCHASED the adjoining property. I repeat PURCHASED the property. Molinaro (as we all know) was offered the property (with some significant investment) to develop the condos and then turn the undeveloped portion BACK TO THE TOWN. Although I have no use for developers who want to scourge the waterfront I have some sympathy (very little I might add) for a guy who has a dog in the hunt and a vested interest as a property owner. That changes the landscape (no pun intended) significantly.
    Molinaro has done a lot in Burlington but again, he purchases blocks of property that will then be developed with condos.
    I think an even better example of people screwing up waterfront with development is Port Dalhousie. Port is the big brother to Crystal Beach and Crystal Beach is, in my opinion a clone of Port Dalhousie. The similarities are uncanny and what wen on in Port is a travesty. Tore buildings down years ago and the guy with all the big ideas left town after they ripped the people apart in Port.

  3. and with the re-zoning of the parking lots in CB to high density begins all over again here!!!

    Brought to you by the same insider connected profiteers that put this town through the last 10 years of civil war all for their "vision"(read profit people).

  4. Shit loads of Federal infrastructure money being doled out...big announcement today by MP to develop a park in St Catharines with drainage, play fields, splash pad, equipment and other stuff. Did we even apply for the pool and Speedway and beaches and so much more. We only are getting what we deserve.

  5. Doesent help this area neck deep in the federal Conservative toilet. Nearest thing to the Repubs in the U.S., and look at the respect they are getting in the press.If this area had the brains to have placed a Liberal here in the Fed riding... know how politics work in the third...err..first world.By the way, NPR called Pal, one of the new owners of the horse track "Trump Lite". This does not bode well for this dead end town.

    1. You are so right about Carl P. I remember when he ran for governor - with a baseball bat as his sidekick. And like most big-time developers, he has "connections." When I read the remark by Howie, I thought the same as you: we won't get anything from the Liberals, not here in Toryland. I always felt that many of the people of Fort Erie think they're special and they continue to vote against what's best for themselves. Perhaps another reader can enlighten me, but what have the Conservatives done for Fort Erie? Seriously.

    2. CorruptionFighterApril 6, 2016 at 8:48 AM

      taking party politics out out of it,this town has a long standing reputation for making large sums of federally and provincially gifted monies just disappear. Where no one seems to know. Never making it to where it should have gone.

      Queens Park/Ottawa wrote this giant money sucking vortex off a long time ago. Even our home town hero, Tim Hudak abandoned FE for better opportunities elsewhere,distancing himself from the embarrassment.

  6. They finally caught up with Russ and are showing him the door. Another good ole boy hitting the rails. If only the powers could usher the Barbie girls and their boss JT out with him, this Town might have a fighting chance.A lot of silent cheering here in Town Hall today. No Dougie to protect the slug.

  7. Hey karma would you say that to his face, I doubt it you types like the editor never do. You have no idea what he has done nor do you care to. Bullies never do!!!

    Will the editor publish this, not likely.

    1. Karma is exactly right. People like Russ Wilson got aboard the town gravy train and rode it for years. He has been part of the problem, not a solution.

      If you don't agree, you might do some research on him, going back to his days as a customs officer. He was also an alderman for a brief spell. Ask someone who has been around for a long time and who is not connected to the Old Boys Club.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I love the anger the perps of so much of what is wrong here locally display when one of their own is called out or caught. Only goes to reason as being yanked from a gravy spot at the public trough after so many years must be a shock to such selfish arrogance. Thanks for the update Karma.

    4. I hear that Russ is "retiring" at the end of June.

  8. Going back to the Fort (Myers) shot, in a not too distant future, with sea levels rising, and increased storm activity, that area will be under water in less than a hundred years. No one can say that about the shores of Bay Beach. Under threat by mindless development? So it seems.

  9. This is interesting: Harry Schlange is leaving his position as Niagara Region's CAO to gp to Brampton. Yay for us. Too bad for Brampton. It is rumoured that there was a move to fire Schlange back in January, so it appears he is beating a hasty retreat. From the frying pan to the fire as Brampton has major problems and has gone through 6 CAOs in ten years. Wanna bet Schlange will come back to Niagara like a bad penny? (Two down; many more to go.) KARMA stikes again.

  10. Russ Wilson who ran for Council back in 1982, with help from Annie Wood, they snagged people inside the polling station (illegal) convinced voters to switch their votes to Russ. We the Fort Erie taxpayers have been saddled with dubious politics ever since. The Public Trough is now empty. We the taxpayers still don't care how our money is doled out. $800,000 thousand of water/sewer reserve money going towards the Speedway. " Stupid does, as stupid is" Forest Gump might put it.


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