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Town drops repeal of Bay Beach condo plan

Faced with “no alternative”, Fort Erie town councillor Bob Steckley voted to proceed with the Bay Beach condominium project after councillors met in closed session to discuss the issue with a lawyer hired by the Town.

“There will be no joy in the Steckley household tonight,” he said as his voice broke with emotion explaining why he surrendered.

“Everybody who knows me knows I’m a bit of a gambler, but I only gamble with my own money. I’m not going to gamble with the town’s money.”

While he is still opposed to the project, “we have no choice,” he said. “We spent three hours going over the legal review and two-and-a-half hours asking questions. We got a lot of answers. They weren’t answers we liked.”

He said people will be angry with council, but it’s the previous council they should be angry with, not this one, Steckley said.

Steckley, Paul Collard, John Hill and Don Lubberts threw the project in limbo when they took the first steps to back out of the Molinaro deal and reverse the zoning amendment that allows a 12-storey condominium on the town-owned Bay Beach land.

Councillor Rick Shular hinted at the contents of the legal review.

“The underlying theme that came out is that we have a binding contract,” he said. The review looked at many alternatives and pointed out the ramifications of every decision.

“Will history show us to be correct? Only history will tell us that,” he said.

“When all is said and done,” he opined, “We will all benefit in the long run . . . It won’t be doomsday.”

Hill’s voice also broke saying he was “ashamed that I put so much effort and we’ve come to this . . . given up a tremendous amount . . . one of our most pristine pieces of property.”

He said he doesn’t want to see high-rise development “all around the loop to Point Abino” and will not allow another tower to be built on the waterfront.

Lubberts spoke of his undying opposition to the project saying he doesn’t believe the property will remain public and “our access to the beach will be over top of a parking garage.”

He invited Vince Molinaro to step forward to shake his hand. Molinaro accepted his invitation and Lubberts stood and reached down from the podium and they shook.

Mayor Doug Martin said the third-party legal review by the firm of Aird and Berlis of Toronto reaffirmed the advice of the Town solicitor, Heather Salter.

He said he agreed with Steckley, that it was the previous council that made this decision and that he was admonished by an opponent that it will be his legacy.

“I believe it is true; it will be my legacy . . . yes, I will wear that.”

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  1. Anonymous | Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Astounding, even after the second review they asked for (which for all intents and purposes said the same thing Heather Saltzer said), and after realizing that we would STILL be legally responsible for pulling out of the Molinaro deal, three councillors STILL voted to proceed in that direction!!! These three would throw the entire town under the bus to appease a small group. Unreal. Thanks to Bob Steckley for comming to his senses.

  2. truthseekers | Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    So the four horsemen of “doom and gloom” finally
    realize that they wasted $20000.00 of our money
    by not listening to the town’s lawyer{who has a strong case for suing these four in a constructive dismissal suit}Twenty thousand
    divided by four…We should demand that they each
    put $5000 back into the town’s coffers out of
    the undeserved salaries they are collecting for
    doing nothing to move our town forward.

  3. Mike Cloutier | Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Yup. And it was Hill during the all-candidates night who talked about consensus and unity. He could have said, “I oppose this project, but I’m against getting the Town sucked into a drawn out multi-million dollar lawsuit, so I’m voting to drop the repeal.” He knew Steckley had already changed his mind and let him jump in front of the train by himself. It’s like if Thelma (or was it Louise on the passenger side) said, “Um, girl, could you stop the car, that’s the Grand Canyon up ahead. I’m getting out.” Same thing, too, with Collard. The vote was lost, why not make it unanimous and say, “I’m smart enough to know when the jig is up. Let’s show the town that however bitter it might be, I am a team player in the long run.”

    Anyway, I won the pool.

  4. Ryan | Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    I met John Hill while he was campaigning last October. John was rolling around the Thunder Bay neighbourhood with the uncensored version of Ke$ha’s “Tic-Toc” playing – explicit lyrics and all – at about 110 dB’s all over the neighbourhood. Many of my neighbours were mad that he disrupted one of the last outdoor weekends of the season with loud music. I assume that he didn’t get licences from all the recording artists to publicly play their music as well…

    I’m glad this mess is hopefully over with, and I’m interested to see the condo prices once they are built as it may be an excellent investment opportunity if Hill stays in his seat with his other anti-development buddies and prevents any other high-rise development along the shore.

  5. Mike Cloutier | Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

  6. Mike Cloutier | Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    She uses auto tune. There used to be a time when a sexy girl with a good voice and musical talent would be a hit. Now it’s just a sexy young thing with electronics who can make hits.

  7. Mike Cloutier | Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Here’s talent.

  8. Ron Leggett | Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Yup, hang out Collard,Steckley,Hill and Lubberts for trying to do the right thing this should not have happened in the first place.To all those that are against them I didn”t see any of you running for council. They are in a Damd if you do,Damned if you don”t spot I don”t see anybody trying to get there jobs from them Maybee if you are going to come down on somebody for not making the right decisons maybee you all should start with our so called Mayor.He is the guy that put his name on the contract in the first place.

  9. Millsy22 | Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    I hope this whole thing was a wake up call to the residents. The next municipal election, take the several minutes required and exercise your right to vote. If more people voted this would never have happened. The Americans simply made sure they got all of their people to the poles to vote in their puppets. These guys would have easily been on the outside of council chambers looking in.

    Also Bob, you should try to enjoy your last kick at the can. Do you think the people of this town are so stupid they did not see this move coming from you the second after you convinced Collard to change his vote?

    This is his way of playing to the anti condo folks but looking to the rest like he has just rode in on his white horse to save us.

    Remember he said, if this would cost the town too much, he would have to change his vote?

    He was part of the original vote years ago, had all the information available to him and he KNEW repealing this would cost millions. He just knowingly took another 20K out of the Town’s pocket, so he could look like a hero.

    Easier to read than a comic book.

    Although I was in favour of the development this is exactly why I did not sign an unofficial petition. There was never any need too. It was not going to matter a bit. Everyone except a US attorney knew canceling the condo was going to cost us millions so good ole Bob was going to be changing his vote.

    Way to go Bob!

    You are so GREAT!
    Yeah for Bob!

    I am hoping to get a Bob Steckley autograph from him at Tim Horton’s this morning!

    Maybe he will even sign it on a big yellow sign for me!

    (for some of you – that is sarcasm)

  10. Dave | Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    “Trying to do the right thing” Thats your opinion, not mine or thousands of others in this town. Collard, Hill & Lubberts were still willing to waste our tax dollars on a law suit. They could care less for Fort Erie all they cared about was their own agenda. Tney lost (you lost) but at least Fort Erie won. Don’t make them out to be hero’s because they ran on a campaign to stop Bay Beach. The hero’s are Mayor Martin, Councilor Shular & Passero. They had the town of Fort Erie’s best interest in mind and thats what a councilor is supposed to do.

  11. truthseekers | Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    Bob(BOO-HOO)Steckley should be crying after this fiasco. Maybe now he can direct his limited
    attention span to actually doing some things in
    his own ward,like fixing some of the cattle
    trails he calls roads in Crescent Park…Oh!
    I forgot,he doesn’t sell many suckers in Ward 3.

  12. Ron Leggett | Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    Dave,you call Shular and Passero and Martin heros but i think you have to add Steckley to the list but not heros but Martins Puppets.these people don”t give a damn about us.Look where skate park for the kids went.there was lots of room at Crystal Ridge Arena but to far for Fort Erie kids to travel but its OK for our kids to travel to the town hall.They put it in a good spot the Mayor can sit and watch the kids on it.All the good stuff goes to that end of town they just come here to build condos and take the one good thing away from us THE BEACH.if they build it how long do you think we will have access to OUR BEACH i bet not long.Would you like to see people walking across your property i would not.I don”t call those guys Heros the real heros are Collard,Hill and Lubberts they are the ones that fought for us in Crystal Beach.They got RAILROADED Plain and simple.OH Mike are you going to cut out some of this comment like you did my last one you just print what your side wants to read. NO wonder some people call your paper the RIDGEWAY RAG I can bet you will cut these comments out what happened to free speach i guess don”t apply to you.

  13. Mike Cloutier | Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    Ron, I cut out the stuff that is distasteful and legally suspect, including the comments that call YOU a moron, an in-bred idiot and that your head should be removed from your ass. Would you like those to be unedited? I’d be happy to if you like, but I won’t allow you to write stuff that may cause trouble for me. I try to apply the same policy to everyone. If you have a problem with that, I don’t care.

  14. Dave | Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    Not sure where you live and don’t care either, but I can see you have drank some of the cool aid that NoYes,Bowers and the rest of her gang were handing out.Steckley wont get my sympathy..he caused his own problems.In regards to the skate my opinion it should have been built in Sugar Bowl Park even further away from Ridgeway and Crystal Beach. Guess what its not “if they build it”, it will be built and when it is complete the beach will be a better place for all of Fort Erie citizens…access will be greater and the beach will be better maintained. Lubberts and Collard hero’s because they fought for “Crystal Beach” if that was the case I would say they can possibly be seen as a hero for people who live in Crystal Beach…but thats not the case. One can’t make up his own mind and the other has none. They were pawns for others who wanted to do nothing more than to screw the town and town hall.

  15. Rick | Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    I would comment about Ron Legget but its not worth it anymore. They have complained about the park being gone for how long now? And they will complain about this one for even longer. Thes people have got to realize that life moves forward all the time. if you remain static you will get left behind. A lot of residents in the beach are like this now but the rest of us, they cant even see us because we left them in the dust a long time ago. We boarded the train of progress and it has left the station. Bye bye.

  16. Chris | Mar 26, 2011 | Reply

    Collard, Hill, Lubberts. GOD himself could have put a gun to their heads and said “Change your vote!” And all three would have said “Pull the trigger.” They didn’t care about the town solicitor’s advice, or the 3rd party report, both of which advised AGAINST their mandate. How far do you go before someone can convince you that you’re wrong?? These men are dangerous and have only just begun. A train wreck waiting to happen. We were lucky THIS time.

  17. Mike Cloutier | Apr 24, 2011 | Reply

    Yes I do have a story about the lawsuit. It is not prepared yet. I also won’t entertain any speculation on the outcome of either the motion to reverse the OMB decision or the statement of claim filed last week against the Town and Molinaro Group.

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