Dave Battagello's front page piece reveals Windsor's worst kept secret. "City border file called "black hole".
For those new to reading Windsor related blogs, you might want to check out Councillor Halberstadt's blog from the 22nd of November - Moving forward.
That started the ball rolling and mercifully lead to a "Schwartz is dead" article in the 24th of November's Windsor Star.
That blog was followed by one on the 6th of December 2006:
Hell breaking loose
With that in mind, I have interviewed
Windsor native Marko Paranosic, former right hand man of Sam Schwartz and bulwark of the Windsor office Sam opened in 2005.
Marko offered to go on the record to support my assertion that the Schwartz bypass is dead after I was quoted in the Windsor Star, and other Councillors disputed it.
Paranosic actually spoke with his feet in August when he took a job with Stantec Engineering in that company’s
Kitchener office. “As an engineer I have a limited shelf life (on projects),” says Marko. “I would not have left if I thought there was any hope,” for follow-through on the Schwartz bypass.
Paranosic traces the death knell to October, 2005, when Transport Canada hired the firm Cansult to attack Schwartz’s proposal for an eight-kilometer bypass of urbanized Windsor, running west of Huron Line at Todd Lane and touching the borders of LaSalle and the protected natural area called ANSI.
Paranosic says the proposed route, which looped around and connected back onto
Huron Church at E.C. Row and then onto the Ambassador Bridge, made sense when it was hatched in a community where panic had set in with international trucks regularly lined up beyond E.C. Row and spilling onto city streets.
As the repercussions of 911 diminished, and the Bridge and Customs opened new booths, the trucks started flowing much more freely. This gave legitimacy to opponents of Schwartz who attacked the stupidity of an eight-km loop to avoid two km of
Huron Church roadway between Todd Lane and E.C. Row.
The chief attackers were Save Ojibway crusader Alan McKinnon and Mike Hurst, former mayor and hired gun for the rival DRTP border crossing route.
Paranosic says he became frustrated with the city when “we were not allowed to defend ourselves against the McKinnons and Hursts of the world.” Instead of adjusting the plan to adapt to the changing landscape, the city continued to trot out Schwartz for “dog and pony shows.”
Sam Schwartz, when the “Schwartz is dead” article appeared in the Star on Nov. 24, claimed that there were other facets of his plan that have bogged down because of navel gazing on the bypass.
Paranosic agrees and identifies those dormant parts as expansion of the truck ferry service across the river, an inter-modal facility at
Windsor Airport, a double-stacked rail tunnel at the end of the DRTP line and enhanced Intelligence Traffic Systems on Huron Line.
Mayor Eddie Francis has been pretty well mute on these components until recently, when he referenced development of
Windsor Airport and an inter-modal terminal as a priority in his new four-year term.
Tellingly, the only part of the plan that has moved forward is improvements to Manning Road in Tecumseh, to be bankrolled by the senior governments. “Manning Road should not have been part of the mix, but was thrown in as a bone to former warden Mike Raymond to get buy-in from
Essex County,” says Paranosic.
Sound familiar? You should bookmark those posts to refer back to as Marko endures an onslaught of spin this week.
For further insight, check out Marko's comments on Chris Schnurr's blog. , posted just this past 30th of May.
As I recently said to another well known “blogster”, I’m not sure what is left for Sam to do on this file. I genuinely like Sam and David Estrin, I respect them greatly, I wish them the best, however you may include me in the camp that disagrees with the continued in-camera secrecy and Solicitor-Client privilege that shrouds engineering work being done by the city on this file.A huge H/T to Marko for standing up and saying what needed to be said.
I and many others agree - it's time for the secrecy to end.
Next Tuesday night's Council meeting would be a good place to start. Instead of the usual in-camera border report, Council should move to the public open session any discussions related to the border.
Unless the residents of Windsor begin speaking with a much louder voice, this Mayor and Council will continue to stumble along, pointing fingers everywhere except where they belong.
It's up to you. Council Contact Information