Tuesday, August 22, 2017

AS PREDICTED SEVERAL YEARS AGO: THERE WILL BE NO CANADIAN MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Many thought that I was being "negative" for predicting that the Canadian Motor Speedway would never come to pass. A few of us actually looked into the background of the investors and surmised that the money was not there and that the developers were hoping for massive government help to finance the effort. The government has not been interested in investing tax payer money to support a foreign-based operation and the Kuwaiti banks behind the project are struggling. The Kuwaiti-based investors behind the abandoned marina development on the Niagara Parkway suffered a similar fate. Of course, that was another dumb case of over-development of an existing iconic roadway. You can't make this stuff up. It defies common logic. 

Many people were lulled into believing the myth that McMaster was going to build its research and development module at the track blew up in developers' faces when the university reported that it was not aware of any such deal and eventually located the program in Hamilton.

Remember the long-gone motorway themed restaurant/bar on Garrison that was supposed to bolster the image? Changed hands two times since. Whatever happened to the local woman who pretended to be an "interested party" but was really the speedway's flack? And Erik Tomas who consistently reported on the "progress" of the development. How quiet he has become.

Once again, Fort Erie Post's James Culic recounted the lack of progress in his latest article.

* The three properties that need to be purchased in order to fulfill the OMB mandate are still not in the hands of the speedway developers and property owners have not heard from the speedway developers in months.

* The bank financing the speedway is in serious financial trouble. (We told you that a long time ago.)

Azhar Mohammad, the project director, has still not updated the Fort Erie Town Council about the lack of progress at the track although he promised such an update months ago.

And the myth continues as it has for almost a decade. The developers had a large group of locals all primed and ready to march to get their speedway. And, as many of us called it, the NOT-NASCAR TRACK myth ran very deep amongst the easily manipulated. And the noise! Who needs that?

This was a bad idea for the get-go and the Fort Erie location is ridiculous for a myriad of reasons. The promises of jobs and increased tourism were attractive to a job-starved community, but the potential cost to taxpayers is astronomical.With one race track already failing, why would anyone think that people would travel from all over North America to a place without proper infrastructure to view car races that are not NASCAR sanctioned?

I'm sure there are a lot of ways to make Fort Erie even more tourism friendly without adding a behemoth race track spewing fumes and noise over some spectacular landscapes. I don't know, but I would venture a guess that Fort Erie's tourism future is in its fabulous waterfront and its closeness to the United States.
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In a town where developers hold sway, it is frustrating to watch foolish mistakes turn up on the town docket. It took Buffalo over fifty years to finally realize the waste of its precious waterfront before it began a concentrated effort to restore and revitalized its waterfront. Now it is a shining example and major tourist draw where once there was blight. Fort Erie has even more potential in its waterfront. All those studies and the town still listens to developers before its people. Will they ever get it right?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

CRIPES! DID IT AGAIN.

I sometimes have no control over my fingers when a computer keyboard is near and I read something on line that irritates me. Damn Facebook. I got into it when someone complained about the lack of response to a question of Ward 1 Councillor George McDermott and McDermott responded with a pat answer that could only come from a local politician in the tank to the people who really run this town. Certainly not the average people. Why do I keep doing this? And to top it off, there was a blog article about Crystal Beach that infuriated me because the "source"of article was none other than Laughing Sal Steve Boyd who is like Rip Van Winkle, still asleep after twenty-five years, dreaming of the reanimation of the long-dead Crystal Beach Amusement Park. The blog writer was shown all the bad things about Crystal Beach including a remarkably empty beach on Canada Day. WTF? It does look like the picture was taken further down from the public access beach on what has been insultingly called "private beaches."

Whatever, these two forays into internet outrage are rare for me since I vowed to stay out of politics except as an observer since the madman Donald Trump was elected president by some of my deluded fellow Americans and a lot of help from the Russians. I spent the last few months in shock and awe of this event. I have become obsessed with it. I listen to comedians like Stephanie Miller, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and others take Cheetolini apart every day, but he's still there, every day, Tweeting something unthinkable and screwing up the US.

So, I usually do not get too upset (my "give a f*#k meter" is already on full) when I read the local news. Who cares if Sandy Annunziata is screwing up the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority?  The whole organization is an oxymoron anyway. Like the Ontario Municipal Board is there to protect peoples' rights. Yeah sure. 

And the Fort Erie Clownsil decided to go ahead with a report and vote on Bay Beach when its councillor, Don Lubberts was off dealing with a S.L.A.P.P. lawsuit by the Molinaros who got caught up in a real estate mess that rivals some of Trump's well-documented messes. Oh yeah, they (being those thwarted by the locals and circumstance) are still out to punish us and they're pulling back on helping fund the revitalization of Bay Beach. Anyone surprised? To paraphrase the famous remark by Captain Renault in Casablanca, "I'm shocked, shocked to hear that a vote was carried out while the councillor of the ward was away." from the aforementioned George McDermott, who claimed that he was very busy working to help the Fort Erie Racetrack.

Well, George, I've got news for you HERE.

We all know that the Fort Erie Track is running on horse fumes and manure but some would rather throw taxpayers' money on the track than look to the future for Fort Erie and its people.  Like many industries, horse racing is dying out and the only way it can remain viable is for a full casino to provide the needed patrons through the gates. From the article:

"By comparison, the privately-owned Fort Erie track doesn’t pay back to the racing industry, it receives rent from it. That makes for an expensive racing proposition.
What’s worse is the historic old track has fallen on hard times.
Fort Erie is badly in need of a major renovation that no one wants to pay for.
There simply isn’t a business case for a gaming site at the old track and even with generous taxpayer support for horse racing, the facility is in decline.
Fort Erie needs an investor with deep pockets to rebuild the track.
You can bet on one thing; without a significant private sector investment, Fort Erie is going to lose this race. "

And we come full circle. The Fort Erie Race Track land is owned by American Trump supporter Carl Paladino who has adopted many, if not all of Trump's business practices.
He once ran for governor of New York with a baseball bat as his weapon of choice. He lost badly. 

After almost twenty years of watching the politics of Fort Erie, I have pretty much given up hope that the powers that be in the town will ever do the right thing.


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