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The bingo fix is not in — Lubberts protests

Town councillors balked at the suggestion that a representative of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission be called in to review the revocation of the Friends of Crystal Beach’s bingo license.

Councillor Don Lubberts sought to delay the matter until written confirmation was received from the AGCO. Councillors John Hill, Paul Collard and Bob Steckley voted to support him.

Lubberts said the town’s bingo policy requires a committee of three councillors be struck to hear an appeal of a license suspension or revocation, and he’s not convinced the recommendation of the Community Gaming Development Corporation to defer to the AGCO is proper.

He said the FOCB should be allowed to appeal to a committee of councillors “through the process they were expecting.”

Lubberts waved a confidential letter he received and said he wants to seek his own legal counsel.

The letter is thought to contain a warning from town staff that some councillors would be skating on thin legal and ethical ice if they acted as the appeal body in this matter.

Lubberts and other councillors have openly questioned the operations of the CGDC and its manager Russ Wilson.

They have also expressed the same political views on the Bay Beach issue for which the FOCB found itself in hot water.

The license was revoked when the CGDC determined it was ineligible to run bingos because it was promoting political opposition to the Bay Beach condominium project.

Part of section 2.3.1 of the province’s lottery licensing policy manual states “political lobby groups and those attempting to persuade the public to adopt a particular view on a political issue” are no eligible to run bingos.

The FOCB printed and sold signs with the phrase “Keep Bay Beach Lands Public”.

Among the pages on the website advertised on the signs includes one with the statement which has since been removed:

“Help us send the mayor a message he’ll understand! Mayor Doug Martin broke the 3-3 tie at the Council meeting on March 1st (2010) and cast the deciding vote to rezone the Bay Beach and permit a 12-storey condo tower to be built next to the beach. We plan to STOP this project before the Town transfers our public parkland to a private developer.

“A coalition of community organizations, businesses, homeowners will be appealing this decision to the Ontario Municipal Board but funds are needed to mount this legal challenge. If you care about Bay Beach, please make a contribution (large or small) at the secure website”

FEWPA is the acronym of the Fort Erie Waterfront Protection Association which donated $950 in total to Councillors Hill and Collard and another $650 to mayoral candidate Ann-Marie Noyes. It also appealed the zoning to the OMB and some of its members are suing the Town to nullify the land transfer

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  1. Lesley North | Oct 4, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe they are concerned that other dealing will come to light if an outsider investigates this group. How many skeletons are hidden in the closets of the FOCB????

  2. Rick | Oct 17, 2011 | Reply

    Don’t see the issue here. They broke a provincial statuate which means the province investigates. It’s in black and white people, there are no gray areas on this one.

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