I will not even feel good saying, "We told you so" when taxes go up over 7% and the infrastructure continues to crumble.
The voters of Fort Erie had their say, mainly because they blindly believed that the Four Councillors (Bob Steckley, John Hill, Don Lubberts and Paul Collard) were the cause of all of Fort Erie's woes. Now that all but one are gone from council, it is quite apparent to even the most casual observer that they were hard-working, honest men. They read their council package and openly discussed and questioned it, which is what elected councillors are supposed to do in these parts. From Day One they were under attack by certain vested interests.
- Marina Butler, who later defeated John Hill in Ward 4, requested a Compliance Audit of Hill's election financials.
- Larry Graber, who is running for Rick Shular's Ward 2 seat, requested one on Paul Collard, who beat him in Ward 6 in 2010.
- Martha Lockwood was defeated by Don Lubberts in Ward 5, requested a compliance audit on him in 2010.
That's just for starters. Under the guidance of Jim Thibert and Mayor-by-five-votes Doug Martin, former Ward 4 Councillor Tim Whitfield (beaten in a landslide by John Hill) filed a Conflict of Interest suit against the Four Councillors. A couple of years later, it will finally be heard in court in April. So far, the suit has cost the councillors thousands of dollars of their own money to defend themselves. It could cost the taxpayers a lot more if the court rules in favour of the four.
Then, just in time for the election, the former developer of the controversial Bay Beach Project, filed suit against The Four for $10 million. So far, nothing new on that suit, but it achieved its purpose: to scare voters away from The Four.
So, now the Rump Parliament of Fort Erie is sitting, deciding how your precious tax dollars are to be used. New/old mayor Redekop is powerless over these Chamber of Commerce lackeys who are spending taxpayer money on all their "pet" projects. District School Board of Niagara asks the town to pay for a "state of the art" theatre (is their any other kind and what does that mean anyway?) on the new high school site. Poor DSBN. Can't afford to build one themselves. But Fort Erie is willing to pledge $500 K for start-up and cough-cough "fund-raise" for the rest. And if you don't believe that, I have a race track that needs another $500 K to limp through another season with conflict-challenged Jim Thibert at the helm. And then there's the Middle East Speedway (A.K.A. Canadian Motor Speedway) complete with Sharia Law financial backing and a lot of promises and excuses why not much has been done in the past several years. Remember when they blamed the NIMBYs for the delays? Settled years ago. Now it's the government, both provincial and federal for not giving them a bunch of money and building an entire infrastructure to support the speedway. The speedway will never be built, IMHO.
God knows what other projects the Chamber Maids and Lads have in the works. And their loyal followers are still singing their praises as if they are the answer to all Fort Erie's problems. I guess a 7.3% tax hike is A-OK for them. I guess they will support the new theatre financially. I guess they'll all go to the track and spend lots of money in the two score racing dates this season. I guess they won't mind their tax dollars will be going into building a private speedway that will not save the local economy and may well ruin what's left of it.
I guess they enjoy their delusion. Those of us with critical thinking skills sure don't.