Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dumber than a sack of hammers

No nicer way to describe Monday's Council meeting.

Bill Marra tried right to the end with the suggestion that a 1 week deferral would be reasonable before passing the Interim Control By-law (actually 5 days). I'm surprised that no one bothered to ask the Bridge Company if they would commit to not undertake any actions in that week in return for the deferral (ie. applying for further demolition permits).

Alan Halberstadt hit the nail on the head when he stated that as the City's fourth largest taxpayer that the Bridge Company was due at least some respect. Why are we using such a "blunt" instrument as an Interim Control By-Law? We all know how well it worked for the downtown. Anyone count the number of empty storefronts lately? I think I'll take some time today and do just that. I'll post the info later this evening.

It's interesting that in today's Windsor Star Councillor Jones and Mayor Francis are citing the need to protect heritage properties as the reason for the interim control bylaw. If that is the case, why are these properties not being designated as "Heritage Properties" and afforded the appropriate protections? City Council have already demonstrated they are not shy about using this power when they voted to protect the former convent on Riverside Drive.

The City might want to take a lesson from the University of Windsor. Since beginning a cooperative relationship with the Bridge Company they have benefited immensely. In addition to their unique agreement with the U of W to operate the Bridge's Duty Free Store this story shows the University expressing their appreciation to the Moroun family for their donation of $2 million dollars toward the new stadium.

If the City would actually engage with the Bridge company instead of beating it with the biggest stick they can find, the results could be surprising. I'm willing to bet that the Bridge company would be open to funding most if not all of the redevelopment of Sandwich if relations with the City were different. How about a nice Cruise Ship terminal in the Mill/Brock riverfront area to bring tourists to a revitalized Sandwich area? Streetscaping? The Windsor Jail will need extensive renovations once it becomes available.

I hope City Council is allowing for a hefty litigation fund in this years budget. History would suggest they're going to need it. Or have they forgot that the Bridge company spent close to 25 10 years litigating with the Government of Canada - and won.

it was the State of Michigan the Bridge Company fought for 25 years. The Canadian case was ONLY 10 years.