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Another word from our American friends

The following is a copy of yesterday’s email blast from Marcia Carlyn, a U.S. citizen of Leesburg, Virginia.

She is a summer resident and worked hard to get Ward 4 councillor John Hill elected, although she was not part of his campaign team, Hill said.

She also worked hard on behalf of Ann-Marie Noyes and also beat the bushes for Bill Brunton to raise money for his litigation against the town for the recount.

I guess this is not an organized assault. “We need to show strong support.”

Her facts are messed up. The only one I want to deal with now is her assertion that the town generates $100,000 a year in parking revenue. That’s more than double the $44,000 that was actually earned in 2010 and is one of those stupid little lies that Bob Steckley started. See the hard copy edition of The Ridgeway Herald for details.

Enough is Enough – Help Us Set the Record Straight!

Dear friends of Bay Beach …

Tired of the nasty comments and distorted information you’re hearing these days?  The aggressive PR campaign being waged against the 4 councillors who voted to begin repealing By-law 26-10 is NOT good for our town.  Crystal Beach is NOT a dump!  Our taxes will NOT go up 6% if the by-law is repealed.  We will NOT be liable for millions in damages.  We are NOT against development.  And Fort Erie is certainly NOT “closed for business” as some Council members and staff are saying.  What kind of message are they sending to other municipalities and potential investors?  It’s time to set the record straight.

Crystal Beach is a unique waterfront community with a rich tradition.  The key to its future economic success is the Bay Beach parkland.  Its natural beauty can easily be enhanced by using the parking revenue that’s generated by the beach-goers (which exceeded $100,000 last year).  All we need is an effective marketing campaign to encourage people far and wide to visit our wonderful community.  Folks are searching for a place to unwind and relax with their family … they want to get out of the city to experience the other side of life — small-town charm, warm people, and great entertainment.  Once we develop a sound strategic plan to address their needs, Crystal Beach will flourish.  It will be known as the place to go, the place to live, and the place to open a business.

Our taxes will NOT go up when the by-law is repealed.  The lawyer hired by FEWPA to examine the risks of rezoning the Bay Beach property cited controlling case law showing that the Molinaro Group is NOT entitled to any damages if By-law 26-10 is repealed.  It is a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada.  We will NOT be liable for millions in damages.

It’s the Molinaro project that will be costly!  At a minimum, we’ll lose $2.7 million of prime waterfront property + hundreds of thousands of dollars in up-front costs, and we’ll end up with a negative return on investment.  The Fact vs. Fiction chart recently posted on the Town’s website has major errors regarding the project’s costs:

–  The fair market value of the land to be transferred to the Molinaro Group is $2.7 million (not $1.7 million).  This was clearly stated in Report CS-22-10, which was the basis for the Purchase & Sale Agreement and the Community Benefits Agreement (see pages 9 and 14).  Also, an independent appraisal conducted in January 2010 found the property was worth $2.7 million.

–  The Town says there will be no costs to the taxpayer because the Molinaro Group has agreed to pay for the entire cost of the storm water management system ($600,000) and new shorewall ($560,000) as well as any cost overruns.  But Molinaro is not obligated to pay a penny more than the maximum amounts stated in the Community Benefits Agreement.  Unless there’s a secret contract signed by Molinaro that we don’t know about, nearly all these costs will fall on the taxpayers.

–  The Town says the 87 condos will bring in $70,624 each year in tax revenue.  That’s all?  This is not much money … less than the Town brings in from the public parking lots at Bay Beach!

–  The Town says we’ll receive a 386% return on the initial investment (which assumes the land is worth $1.7 million).  Since the land is really worth $2.7 million, the actual return on investment is negative if we go with the Molinaro project.

BOTTOM LINE – The Town wants to give away $2.7 million of public parkland in return for $70,000/year.  Even if we were to get this additional tax revenue, it would take nearly 40 years to pay back the taxpayers for the loss of $2.7 million worth of prime waterfront land.  If you want to do your own checking, all of these documents can be found near the top of the Town’s website.

Good news … a comprehensive cost report has been ordered.  John Hill’s motion was approved by Council with a 4-3 vote.  Staff have been directed to prepare a report identifying all costs spent to date on the Molinaro project + future costs to the taxpayer over the next 5 years if the Town proceeds with the project.  This report is long overdue!

Heard about the latest petition drive?  It’s being promoted in the local papers.  The organizer is Patti Carver (a resident who lives near Old Fort Erie and recently spoke to Council in favour of the condo project). The survey is not a valid way to determine how people feel about the condo project since the residents of Fort Erie will not be randomly sampled.  Also, how will we know people have signed only one petition using their correct name?  The TRUE referendum on Bay Beach was last October’s election where the incumbents in Crystal Beach and Ridgeway were soundly defeated, getting only 20-25% of the vote.  However, feel free to sign the petition if you want to (Wednesday, March 9, from 4 to 7 pm at 3 locations).  You may also want to take John Gilmour’s online survey which asks the same question.

Another big vote at Monday’s Council meeting (6 pm on March 7 at Town Hall).  The councillors will be setting the date for the public meeting to rezone Bay Beach.  Come join us … bring your friends.  We need to show strong support for the 4 councillors who have been courageous in their resolve to retain the Bay Beach parkland for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

Help us set the record straight!   Please forward this email to everyone you know.  Thanks for your help!

Marcia

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  1. Buck | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    Ms. Carlyn’s facts and figures are somewhat off to say the least. If you want to believe someone who surrounds themselves with cheats and liars, then by all means keep sipping the Kool-Aid. If you want to know what IS true then do some of your own research for the right information. Stop letting these muddled facts form your opinions. Many of her statements are incorrect.

  2. Greg | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, this women is going all out to distort this situation for her own cause. When this all falls apart and this law suit does happen, where will she be? Back in Virginia without a worry about this town she helped destroy.

  3. Buck | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    Wondering why though, it is relevant for Ms. Carlyn to mention the location of where Ms. Carver lives. Does the fact that she resides in Old Fort Erie have any bearing on her entitlement to have a position on this issue? Does Ms. Carlyn think that only the residents of Crystal Beach should have a say in what goes on in “OUR” town?

  4. Greg | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, part of me really wanted to believe that this was just a misunderstanding that was diving this town but after reading that email, this women is trouble and in a big way. She is downright dangerous with her mis information. She hands out misinformation like Halloween candy. I read desperation in how far she is going to spread this false info. The question people have to ask is what does she have to lose if she gets caught lying? Nothing! She can run back to her home in Virginia. She probably feels that this condo will infringe on her life in the beach anyway so she has nothing to lose. Wow!

  5. Sarah | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    Well one thing that Ms. Carlyn has said ….. Enough is Enough.

    The obtrusive interjection by the Americans in our political climate is absurd. Shame on you all the politicians that have swallowed up all this trash, what did you expect to gain from this.

    What you have gained is a total disgust and disrespect from your community. You do NOT deserve to be sitting in the position that you are in. You have turned your back and snubbed all that has made our community and country great. And now you have degraded our town to the lowest scum ever imagined. Way-to-go councillors.

    This whole Sh*t began several years ago in a blog …. a total piece of crap, and the owner feels that she is above everyone else.

    Today’s post by the owner states: “I believe that Rino Mostacci, Harry Schlange and Heather Salter should be fired for being complicit in misleading the public about the Molinaro Project.”

    THIS, in my eyes, is grounds for a justifiable law suit …. something that Americans love to do.

    I am so upset right now, all I can say is you Americans keep throwing your rocks over the fence at us Canadians. We have started to throw them back and you cry foul.

    Is there any wonder that the United States of America is rapidly becoming the most untrusted country on earth.

  6. Lori Dawn Antaya | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, Marcia, isn’t that the Pot calling the kettle black… these petitions will not be a random sampling? You’re right. Giving the people the choice to sign one or the other must be pretty threatening to you. You don’t think you can rally the troups fast enough to bolster your own numbers?.. come on. Now this other online survey that you speak of, is that the one that has a cap of how many people can vote? Oh you can vote alright it’s just that once they found the numbers they were looking for, the survey stops recording the new results… That is directly from the website’s own admission. Trust me, we tested it out… several people from many differesnt IP addresses tried to inflate the numbers and the results did not budge… that is quite the scam you have going on. 85% my ass. As for the rest of your math.. Perhaps congress needs to do a better job promoting mathematics and common sense in schools, I do think that the US public school system is failing you.

  7. Mary | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, can we not start a petition to table at the next meeting an increase in our “Homeland Security” budget to disallow ignorant people from crossing the border into CANADA, yes CANADA, a different country, not the 51st state as she would like to believe. I will gladly buy her home in Crystal Beach in order to relieve her of any so called responsibility to fight for our homeland. Maybe she can go help out in Afghanistan or the streets of Buffalo. I am sure her voice will be heard where her country needs it.

  8. Sarah | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    The thing that cracks me up the most about Ms. Carlyn’s email is her statement :

    “The survey is not a valid way to determine how people feel about the condo project since the residents of Fort Erie will not be randomly sampled. Also, how will we know people have signed only one petition using their correct name?”

    Yet, you know that 95% that some of the councillors embraced, well….. here is where it came from. The FOCB website:

    “After the Jan 25th meeting statistics were published in various papers indicating a strong two to one majority of speakers against the Molinaro Development. However we thought it might be a bit more accurate if we provided further statistics gathered over the last two years. Comments regarding the Molinaro Development were invited by the Town Staff at the two Open Houses so that they could get a feeling as to the communities thoughts on the proposed project for Bay Beach. The results were 113 people responded opposing the Molinaro Plan while 20 supported it. That is a 5 to 1 ratio against the Molinaro Development.”

    “When we add the 358 proxies that were spoken for by their representatives at the Council Meeting, along with the 300+ residents who signed petitions when we canvassed areas in Greater Fort Erie, and the 517 people who signed letters that were submitted to Town Hall stating their dissatisfaction with the proposed Molinaro Development, that moves the ratio to 65 to 1 in favor of those who are against the proposed Molinaro Development project. We have also been told that over 500 people signed a petition at the “Keep the Bay Beach Lands Public” rally in June and those too were submitted to Town Hall. If that is the case the ratio would rise to 90 to 1 against the proposed project. Another fact we would like to add is that we distributed over 900 lawn signs(similar to the one below) to those who requested them from us. And finally, in 2008 over 3100 people who came to our community to use the beach thought it was a bad idea to sell off (the Town is giving away)any portion of the existing Bay Beach properties. We thought it very telling that people who came from all over Canada, Europe and the United States to our Fort Erie community could see the value of using this property to bring people back again and again whether it was to summer here, rent seasonal cottages, or for just a day trip now and again. During the time we have spent talking to the members of our community we have not seen the slightest trace of a “Silent Majority”.

  9. Samantha-Jo | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    Marcia’s remarks regarding Patti Carver’s attempt to a diplomatic and democratic process is interesting to say the least. Ms. Carver has professionally allowed the opportunity to have both sides represented at the petition signing. Good for Ms. Carver. What is not good is the online version that Marcia so readily boasts as the best thing since sliced bread. Mr. Gilmore’s online version is not a validated process. Validated in the legal sense as it allows multiple votes by the same IP address. That means the same person can vote without limitation – even if they wanted to vote and had the time to vote over 1000 times. This is one more example of how Marcia has an uncanny knack of slanting the truth. Shame on you Marcia. We’re all entitled to our opinions and neither side should be put down. We welcome all Americans. We are a free country and as such we should all act maturely. However, the truth is the truth Marcia and unfortunately, you aren’t telling it. And, one last thought, last October’s election was not a “true referendum”. If we were to spend the $20,000 on a new election rather than for a third opinion lawyer, you can be assured that none of those four would be reelected.

  10. Mary | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    Marcia seems to be most upset with the value of the land. Is it $1.7m or $2.7m. I am not sure why she would care about the value of the land if her fight is about the use. Is it not invaluable in her eyes? Is her argument to have it valued correctly to sell to a higher bidder (of which she has no say anyways)? Most confusing argument to say the least.

  11. Mike Cloutier | Mar 6, 2011 | Reply

    Town solicitor Heather Salter explained it once again last week to Don Lubberts. It is a two-stage transfer. The foot print for the entire building will be transferred to Molinaro. The value of this land is $2.7 million. After construction is complete, the outdoor podium and other public space will be transferred back to the town which will have a value of $1 million. What Molinaro gets in the end is a chunk of property that is worth $1.7 as it stands now.

  12. Lori Dawn Antaya | Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Now, Now, Mike.. you are talking about math again… We have already determined that Mathematics is not a concept that Ms. Carlyn has an even limited grasp of. What I implore the people of Fort Erie to do is stop listening to others’ opinions either for against and get the information for yourself. Until you get the true numbers, design plans and agreements and scrutinize them yourself. You should not pass judgment either way.

  13. Gregor | Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    For whatever reason my ears and interest is piqued for some particular reason…..This woman is from Virginia, yet she refers to this as ” our town ” I’m sorry but I do not poke my nose into the arena of ‘your town’ There is something that makes me feel, that this person has some sort of hidden agenda, somewhere. Why on earth would she be so interested in ” our town’s ” issues? What is her driving force? It just makes one wonder. Just saying…..L8R G : ]

  14. Patti Carver | Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Thank you,
    After reading all the comments, I am truly flattered I have such great support! Thank you for standing up for all of us in the community! I’m truly looking forward for all of the people from Fort Erie to come out on March 9th, 2011 to petition whether they are “for or against” the actions of the four councillors who represent “the whole community.” When I decided to organize the petition, I wanted the silent majority (The handicapped, unemployed, moms, dads, grandparents) to all have a chance to express whether or not we agree with the four Town Councillors to repeal by-law 26-10. This petition goes way beyond an election! This action by our Council represents the moral fibre of this town and how we conduct business. Not for the sake of some special interest group. But for the good of all of the community!
    It seems the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and it clouds the decisions of others with total misrepresentation of the facts! Now the silent majority will step up on Wednesday, and have the opportunity to sign the petition, whether they are “for or against” the repeal. It is their constitutional “right!”
    How dare anyone who opposes giving someone the opportunity to represent themselves, and how this action could affect their individual lifestyle! I am shocked at Marcia’s letter and how misrepresenting her letter is to serve her own needs! First of all, it is misrepresenting to say we cannot get sued! Whether we win or lose, this case will cost thousands or millions of dollars to litigate to come to a decision.
    Secondly she is trying to twist and turn the words of the Town regarding the value of the property. Obviously you have never appraised a piece of property or understand how they come up with “land value.” I do however, from my many years of being a real estate agent from 1990 to 2000. I did hundreds of appraisals throughout Fort Erie, including waterfronts. It is a very diligent process and many factors have to be considered. Basically the definition of land value is what a buyer is willing to pay a seller in an open market.
    Also, you say that we are only going to get $79,000.00 per year for the complex. But what you neglected to factor into that equation is our trade people will get jobs from the development and maintenance of the property. And what about the retailers and the businesses who these people will be buying from once they’re living here? And the biggest factor of all is the conduct of our council and how other communities are looking at our actions by breaching a contract! And now we might lose the speed track because of how those men you helped put into council treated the Molinaro Goup to sabotage the project!! Oh yes, it isn’t about the community. It’s all about YOU!
    They say the Titanic wouldn’t sink. But it did. And many people died while so many people wouldn’t let them on the boats for fear the boats would tip over. I certainly wouldn’t want to be trying to get on the same boat with some of these people who believe in breaching contracts and sabotaging development to meet their own needs. We all know where we would be!

    Patti Carver

  15. cokie | Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Count me in as one who is still confused about the appraised value of the total property today.
    Purchase price was 2.1 mill
    The footprint land is valued for 2.7 mill. Value of physical amenities returned to the town should not change the appraised land value.
    So what is the total value of the property should it be sold in total to a buyer?
    Just trying to figure out if the Town made a good financial investment,,,which it certainly appears it did aside from being a great public beach.

  16. Mike Cloutier | Mar 8, 2011 | Reply

    I’ll have to look at the drawings to be sure. But let’s start with the footprint. Appraised value $2.7M. After Molinaro builds things like the washrooms and the deck where the dance hall foundation is, that goes back to the town. Also the public space area above the garage goes back to the town, so the town will get a “floor” of a building while Molinaro retains the garage below. This is covered in the “strata” plan. The town also gets the indoor community centre.

    I suppose they’ve estimated this as $1M value that’s going back to the town, leaving $1.7M. However, the actual value once everything is built will be immensely more valuable than $1.7 since there will be 84 beach-side condominiums units.

    Molinaro is also building a bunch of other stuff that are covered in the community benefits agreement. Including the aforementioned $1M in improvements, the value of the community benefits, things that are beyond what a builder would normally be responsible for, is something like $3.4 million — don’t hold me to that number because I don’t have the file with me, just a vague remembrance of a $700,000 net gain for the town.

    It’s important to remember that we are in a fuzzy area between capitalism and public works. The land has no value to a capitalist if he can’t make money off it. From the public works perspective we are willing to have a passive park. We’ve sunk $2M to buy it, another $500K to “fix” it up — such as it is — another $40-50K per year to secure and maintain, and EVERYONE agrees more needs to be poured into it. The bottom line question is, who ponies up the cash?

    In this case, the town has parleyed these expenses into further improvements, and we basically got a beach for free.

  17. Gizella | Mar 8, 2011 | Reply

    From my humble point of view … Ms. Carlyn should keep to the politics in the U.S. and stay out of ours.

    There are some of us that would like our town to grow, for our children to have more options than working in retail and to have this beautiful town grow to it’s potential.

    As previously indicated, we are the Gateway into Canada not the end of the QEW and we should look the part.

  18. Ron Leggett | Mar 8, 2011 | Reply

    What happened to keeping Bay Beach PUBLIC like it was supposed to be a before they started this DEAL nobody had a say in it unless i was aslep.I tought it was bought by the town to keep as a park.To bad George Rebstock didn”t think to have a clause in Sale to keep it public. If he would have a lot of this B/S would not be happening unless Mr.Martin and his puppets could get around that too.Most of the people here in Crystal Beach DO NOT want it so whats the problem.Somebody has to be dreaming if they think its NOT going to cost us for the Project.I think it dead wrong that they are trying to shove this deal on us but who am i for being a taxpayer in Crystal Beach. Why don”t some people WAKE UP.

  19. Mary | Mar 8, 2011 | Reply

    My recollection is that George Rebstock and family charged a fee to enter his beach. Unless you knew someone that lived on the “hill”, we locals had to pay to get on to that beach. Having moved away 30 years ago from the place I was born and raised in order to further my education and (have) a career, my dream of one day returning and hopefully retiring in the area is slowly sliping away. I see no value in returning to boarded up buildings, closed shopping malls and slummy cottages. Take a drive along lake Erie some day and visit Port Dover or Port Stanley and you will see towns that are thriving and alive and have great beaches too. Yes, WAKE UP and see that every small business that opens, quickly closes. There is no industry or tourism to support the area. Very sad. To Quote “If you build it they will come”, they will spend money,they will eat out, they will desire not to have to drive to Niagara Falls or Buffalo or St Catharines to shop. They will raise the bar and set a new standard for the area. And yes, this will increase the value of your property, because thats the way it works. So yes! Open Your Eyes and see the future.

  20. Mary | Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    I have been a Fort Erie resident all my life. For the last 20 years, I’ve lived in the Ridgeway/Crystal Beach area. I have 2 children aged 17 and 13. I’m dreading the idea of them going away to school, and then not moving back to this beautiful town, because there is nothing here for them. We have so many teenagers in the town that cannot find jobs. There is nothing here for them. If they don’t have access to a car to be able to drive to Niagara Falls or St. Catharines for a summer job, they are stuck.

    As other posters have said, build it and they will come. We need this town to grow. We need jobs. Why should everyone have to move away. This is going to become a retirement village, and there will be nothing here. Is that what we want??

    I don’t know why everyone is so worried about the beach. If we still have access that’s what counts. Maybe some of the Americans that are complaining can give up some of their “private beaches”.

    My son likes to fish. In the spring we go to the Bertie Boat Club, and it’s never a problem, until the Americans start showing up, and then they get rude screaming that it’s private property. Why don’t the four councillors do something about that???

    I’m so sick of the arguing and complaining. Let this town grow and become something. NOT A RETIREMENT VILLAGE.

  21. Phylis | Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    WOW MARCIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shame on you. First I would like to say it is bad faith to not follow through with a contract that is signed sealed and delivered. From what I know, the old council voted for it? How will investors and business owners look upon our town? Maybe they would not like to do business with us after we treat Molinaro this way!!!!!!
    Since you are out of town, I would like to know if you have seen the developers other site in Burlington and how it has revitalized the area? If not maybe you should.
    After seeing it maybe you would change your mind on the tax payers picking up some of the costs. Our community will bebefit so much by having a nice beach to play at and somewhere to spend our money.
    Right now all I see are derelict buildings, few successful business other than the bootleggers and drug dealers and a beautiful beach worth 2.7 million not used to it’s potential. We have antiquated laws that allow home owners to have campfires in their yards like we lived in a camp ground…..we need to grow up and encourage a developer like Molinaro to come here and help us be better than what we are right now!
    Let’s get it done!
    The tax payers should look past the what you say is $70,000 in tax revenue (which is probably incorrect as I pay almost $1500 in taxes for a small cottage) it will get for the 87 condos and look at the bigger picture. We could be as vibrant as St. Augustine Beach with the right people in charge and that’s not people that waffle on contracts!
    All of the issues you bring up should have been discussed before the deal was signed

  22. Mike Cloutier | Mar 9, 2011 | Reply

    Please do not make statements about the profession of private citizens.

  23. S. Lamb | Apr 6, 2011 | Reply

    I am a Canadian. Born and raised in Niagara. I am fortunate to have been able to buy a lakefront cottage from a previous American owner. I support the proper development of Crystal Beach. I do not support the building of a suburban condo building, nor the sale of the land for a pittance in “amenities” (toilets and change rooms? some landscaping? really?). I work in Toronto and live outside of it so I see these suburban glass and concrete towers every day. For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone thinks such a structure is fitting for a small, lakeside town…are we really that desperate? I also strongly suspect that if the building is ever built it will be largely owned by Americans, who continue to be (principally) the only folks willing to buy lakefront property at current prices. I have tried extensively to interest friends from Toronto to buy along the lake but they have too many memories of pollution, algae, and events such as the Cuyahoga River catching on fire decades ago, along with a general distaste for the Great Lakes (vs. Muskoka or the Kawarthas) to really be interested. On the jobs front, the last time I heard, towns like Waterloo and Kitchener and Cambridge were attracting light industry (Japanese auto) and technology that produce real jobs with benefits and retirement plans. How many of those types of jobs will a strange and lonely suburban condo tower on the beach produce I wonder?

    S. Lamb

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