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.