Thursday, January 26, 2017


It took almost two weeks for The Times to provide coverage of the recent decision regarding the title absolute of the Bay Beach Properties. The ninety-two page decision pointed out that the town was in error when its legal department claimed that an unclosed road allowance was closed. An appeal was filed by a neighbour of the property several years ago based on an much earlier title search that did show the unclosed road allowance running straight through the beachfront portion of the property as well as a road along the shoreline.

Times Article HERE

There is one glaring error to the article:

"The Town of Fort Erie purchased the Bay Beach lands in 2001 for $2.05 million with a plan to develop the lands and provide a return on investment."

Not so. The property was bought to provide a public beach front and parking for residents and visitors. It was a recommendation of the C.A.U.S.E. Study of 1996 that provided a blueprint for the revitalization of Crystal Beach following the devastation to the community when the Crystal Beach Amusement Park closed in 1989. Shortly after the property was purchased, there was a move to sell off the north side of the property parking lots to fund part of the Friendship Trail. This was an idea promoted by a previous council and Wayne Redekop who was mayor. A group was formed to protest the sale of any of the Bay Beach Properties, citing a further C.A.U.S.E. recommendation that the parking lot land be sold ONLY to purchase more waterfront land. That plan was abandoned when the public became aware of the situation and a new councillor was elected in Ward 5 (Crystal Beach.) That young man, Tom Lewis, started the petition signed by thousands of residents and visitors who wanted all the Bay Beach Properties to remain in public hands.

Shortly after the election of 2006, new mayor Doug Martin was convinced that a P-3 arrangement with a developer was just what was needed at Bay Beach Properties. That's when the meme/lie about "return on investment" was started by then town planner Rino Mostacci.  So, the Molinaros promised major "amenities" to the property in exchange for the town giving over the shore front land so that TWO high rise (12 stories) towers could be built. Thus began the second protest which resulted in the election of some new councillors. The unpopular Martin was elected by a mere five votes over Ann Marie Noyes who opposed the Molinaro development. By then, the Molinaros scaled back their plan to one high rise. Appeals to the OMB and lawsuits were lost by the opposition to the tower and four councillors were put through the wringer because they were against the development although they never had the opportunity to vote against it. Remember that. The appeal regarding the title absolute was filed by a neighbour to the property. based on her belief that Don Lubberts was right about the original title and the still open road allowance as well as the town documents that showed incorrect PINs for several properties in the area.

By 2014, the forces against The Four were able to place their own councillors in Ward 3, Ward 4 and Ward 6. Only Don Lubberts was able to retain his seat in Ward 5. Two of the new councillors, Kim Zanko (Ward 3) and Marina Butler (Ward 4) were prominent figures in the campaign to sully the reputations of The Four. The vexatious lawsuit against the four for conflict-of-interest was supported and financed by a group that has been labeled as "the Old Guard," familiar names to those who who follow the power structure of Fort Erie.The case was finally dismissed but the damage was done. 

We're back to SQUARE ONE as the parking lots in the Bay Beach Properties are once again up for grabs to developers. Sixteen years later and the same people are in place to give away or sell a very important part of Crystal Beach. It is as though this piece of property is a pawn in a surreal chess game, one that is played for the future of the community.

OFF TOPIC: it's a pretty sad day when the Canadian government has to assure people who are Canadian Landed Immigrants from one of the Trump-banned Muslim countries can travel to the US and will not be held. How reassuring.