Over the passed month or so, I have noticed an increase in interest by our Administration/Council in how the public is perceiving the Waterfront Development.
It started back on September 20, when Mark Bentz and Katherine Dugmore replied to my emails. And they were being……nice. Bentz even invited me to the Waterfront Development Open House which was held this passed Friday. He even said he would request the temporary lifting of my indefinite banishment from Marina Park so I could attend the non-event. I declined the offer.
September 27, the private developers made their first public appearance …..ever. They appeared in front of City Council exalting the merits of their hotel/condo project. It was very carefully choreographed theater. The event provided a lot of media coverage for the Waterfront project. The private developers have since returned to wherever they were before September 27. The hotel? It will soon be a month since Mr. Bova said ““I sincerely believe that with some luck we could be very well in position to start building the hotel in six to seven months,” .
The Waterfront Development Open House was held last Friday and even though there is nothing there to see, dozens of people attended. Yes. Dozens. With media spin normally exaggerating the size of crowds in an upward direction, the term “dozens”, is not that impressive. Also, I believe the dozens of attendees were bolstered by a number of City employees but I can’t be sure. I do know that any publicity heavy event that has been held on that project has always had a large number of City employees present. What was the Open House for? There was nothing a member of the public could have learned by attending the Open House that is not found on the City’s website. What the Waterfront Development did receive front page coverage of the Open House by the Chronicle Journal, the official organ of the Central Committee of the City of Thunder Bay. What organ do you ask? Take your pick. The colon is my choice.
The City of Thunder Bay’s website now has links to something called the Waterfront Development Open House virtual tour. This is news because the Waterfront Development had dropped off the face of the earth as far as the City website was concerned. The Development started out with links on almost every page, every department. As the news from the waterfront started to become less positive, the links to information on the Waterfront Development were buried deeper and deeper inside the website. Now its right out front again. Curiouser.
My question is why? The Waterfront Development Office has all the money they need to complete the job, or so they say. I think there are two possible answers to the why question.
Firstly, I think it has more to do with incumbent councilors and an incumbent mayor facing an angry electorate. There is doubt about some of their reelection chances. City Administration is working hard to get everyone reelected. Mr. Bentz and Mr. Ruberto voting against the Wind Farm shows the level of fear there of the approaching City Hall Apocalypse . You can smell the fear at City Hall. The air is thick with it.
Secondly, I believe there is more bad news yet to come from that project. There is a new agreement coming and I suspect there is something in it that is not going to be popular. I believe the infill is sinking, unstable. The hotel is off the radar.
The pressure must be kept up. The old guard is on the ropes. This is the week to finish them off.