Thomas Bartley Thursday, 2/17/05, 8:38 AM
To the Editor My we live in strange times General Motors announcing huge layoff Council decides on their employment Come on Niagara Lets get with it City Council is obsolete Time for Our Regional Government to call for a vote for one Government in Niagara We need less government to compete in a world economy The process has to start today If we wait for another City election it is too late Please in the interest of Jobs Write a letter to Regional Council Write letters to the Standard Check out www.wc-info.com Write to the Mayor Our present system just isn¿t working Taxes must come down today Oh Canada Our Home and Native Land True Patriot Love in all our Sons & Daughters Command We are going against the very notion of freedom when we debt ourselves with Waste It has been said Government works for Government not the Voter So our only job is to Vote Call for a Vote today Vote No to High taxes by a clear direction for affordable Governance in the Niagara Region One Government One People for the People Canada Thomas Bartley 12 Queen St.Suite 111 St.Catharines Ont L2R5G3
David Boese Sunday, 2/13/05, 1:22 PM
Last Monday's (Feb. 7th) council meeting was the most energized I've seen in a long time, if ever! The public forum began with Wendell Wilks providing more energy than a Kick-Off in the Super Bowl. The points he made were hard hitting and irrefutable, when he stated that staff salaries and bonuses were awarded for a bad performance. I would like to touch on and re-emphisize some of the other observations made by various presenters. What is interesting to me, is that none of us colaborated on our speeches and yet with only the difference in the choice of words, the theme was the same. One could think they were all written by the same person. One of the most poignant observations was deliverd by Mr. Oscar Bordanave. I'm paraphrasing, but what he said in essence is that for every dollar increase in our taxes, there is a multiplyer effect. When I was chairman of the Niagara Regional Tourist Council, we used a multiplyer of seven. In other words, every one dollar spent by a tourist, would generate another seven dollars of business in the community. If the same multiplyer were used with our tax increases, this amounts to (HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS)a 700 percent increase in costs comming out of our pockets. Bob Shannon quietly but emphatically made the point that our taxes are going up while services delivered are going down. This is not the kind of scenerio that we wish to hear. Preston Haskell stated a truism that council and staff did not want to hear and that was, with double cost of living increases in staff salaries, they themselves were the single highest contributor to inflation! After all this, we can only hope that coucil will do the right thing and as Mr.Wilks concluded-"let the magic show continue".
From: St. Catharines
Web Site: www.proamopen.com
Downtown resident Tuesday, 2/8/05, 6:06 AM
I'll let you all in on a little secret, this is a note directed at our City Planners. You people at WC you talk about settling for the status quo, well our city planners are the apitamy of that. 1) The St. Catharines Zoning by-laws are completely out of date. What affect does this have? Well let's just say if the zoning requirements for downtown parking were relaxed (from 1950's-60's "the car is the future" thoughts), we could probably attract more condominium or rental housing developers in the core. The strict parking requirements have been a big turn off for developers. We need more housing in the core, we need NEW housing in the core, we need NEW condominiums in the core. We need these things to attract people to live downtown, we need these things to create decent and "hip" places for younger generations to live, rather than leave the city and never look back. SOMEONE PLEASE tell the city hall planners to create an environment downtown that can get housing developers down here to fill up the parking lots and gaps in the street wall. Waive development charges, loosen up the parking requirement standards, ANYTHING! Just do something! You want an improved more efficient transit system with more riders? Discourage car use and car ownership. Make new residents less car-dependent. 2) You want to keep the business downtown open? You want to create a more sustainable environment with less air-pollution from vehicle emissions? Stop the raping of our downtown with the Fourth Ave. Big Box wasteland. You have a study that says the City and Region can absorb more big-box development? Do us all a favour and through it in the trash. DO NOT expand the Fourth Ave. Powercentre, we are quickly becoming the laughing stock of the MODERN urban planning community where any new development in this city is assumed to be a new Wal-mart. Wake-up, it's not 1990 anymore. We have new direction from the region for Smart Growth, get off your butts and implement the damned thing already. Also, for the LOVE OF GOD, update the damned Zoning By-laws to the 21st century! (oh did I mention that already?)
From: St. Catharines
Insider Friday, 2/4/05, 8:07 PM
We are all interested, David. Really! Please lay out you ideas on busting Graffiti.
David Boese Thursday, 2/3/05, 7:07 AM
Hi All Just found your website. Nice job. What's disturbing to me is that 20 years ago I ran for Mayor and part of my platform was the environment, polluted water ways and litter etc. and nothing has changed; its even worse today. I have ideas of how we can eliminate graffiti and litter, but who's listening? We need some leadership and authority to make it work.
From: St. Catharines
Web Site: www.proamopen.com
Debbie Garden Tuesday, 1/25/05, 11:33 AM
Enough Is Enough I attended the rally downtown January 24. I went in support of a friend that is actively involved in the Winners Circle. There was a good turnout and the rally was successful. There was a mention of 1000 silent supporters for every supporter in attendance. Until this rally we had been part of the silent majority. Would you like to see downtown as a vital and thriving part of St Catharine¿s? Do you want St Catharine¿s to offer a future for your Children and or Grandchildren? Do you believe that we are over-governed, overtaxed? Do you feel our Elected Officials and City Hall often fall short of your expectations? Would you like to see economic growth in this community? If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you have a responsibility to have a voice and to support those that volunteer their time to better our community. I came out of the evening with a sense that lack of communication is the underlying problems facing people lobbying for change and people responsible for change. Communication is an ear and a voice. Lobbyist need more voices, and our Elected Officials and City Hall need to hear them. Change cannot come about without both. If you think you have nothing to offer then you must be able to honestly say your don¿t have an opinion. Criticism and support are both required in bringing about good change. The more opinions and ideas that are voiced the better the chance that the changes made in the future are what the majority of people in this community want. I believe that our Elected Officials are hired by us to represent our best interests. Shouldn¿t we be partners with them keeping them informed, accountable and on track? One concern I have is with regards to the homeless, low income, drug addicted and alcoholic community in the downtown core. As with most communities the downtown core is often where these groups reside. I am not going to criticize these groups nor will I act as a lobbyist for them. Their problems are a huge list of issues on to themselves. However, they are part of the concerns in revitalizing downtown and they are part of our community. Therefore I urge open dialogue with them so that they also have a voice to the City Hall and Politicians. Representatives of these groups may have some constructive ideas that may help to resolve their relocation or their inclusion in the downtown revitalization. Anyway, they are not going anywhere, they are part of our society and ignoring them won¿t make them disappear. These peoples voices are muted more then most so City Hall needs to hear them too. I support the ideas put forth for St Catharine¿s to take advantage of tourism like many other Niagara communities. The manufacturing industry is dying and although some of the problems may have to do with municipal, provincial and federal governing, a good deal of it is a result of global economic changes. Although I would hope that our government at all levels do all in their power to keep and attract industry here, we can¿t depend on this to maintain or increase our local economic growth. We have the tourist traffic, we have the wine routes and wine festival and we are on the route to many of Niagara¿s already popular tourist destinations. Why not take advantage. I urge all groups involved in planning both for St Catharine¿s and the Downtown revitalization to take a look at places like Niagara on the Lake, Port Colbourne, Stratford, St Jacobs and Port Dover. It would be advantageous to look at other communities like Oshawa, Burlington and Brantford where they have already seen success in revitalizing their Downtown cores. On closing I would like to say that even if we do not listen we still hear. You may feel that your voices are not being heard but they are. If you remain persistent your voices will grow in number and the P
From: St Catharine's
Winners Circle Friday, 1/14/05, 8:00 AM
Preston Haskell¿s presentation to city January 10, 2005 To Mayor, council and staff, Members of the Winners Circle are concerned that an inevitable misfortune will befall one or more of our visiting Brock students. In fact, under the current circumstances, we think it is only a matter of time. We think that a couple of serious injuries and/or a tragic loss of a life, similar to what happened to one of our citizens only a few weeks back, could and probably would, have a serious impact on our economy. We assume that the corresponding media attention, predicated on serious injury or worse, would precipitate a substantial drop in Brock University enrollment leading to a corresponding financial loss to the City of St. Catharines and in particular, Downtown. We speculate that it is highly likely that parents, mothers in particular, will not allow their sons and daughters to attend any location were there is the slightest possibility that their children might not come home. This is what we have determined to date: 1. The transit service is willing to re-establish the late night bus service under proper conditions¿ (None of these conditions rival the potential cost of doing nothing.) 2. Mr. Maroney of 5-0 Taxi is willing to operate the late night bus at favorable rates¿ (Mr. Maroney is not interested in collecting fares. He wants contract payment.) 3. The transit service is willing to OK Maroney¿s offer, but not sub contract¿ (Mr. Sherlock needs official application. He will not stand in the way.) 4. We have found wholehearted support from some downtown bar owners¿ (They have expressed the same concerns as those of the Winners Circle.) The Winners Circle recommends the following: 1. As protection against financial loss, the late night bus be re-established immediately¿ 2. We think that three way funding is attainable: City, University, and Bars¿ 3. The late night bus operate from 1 AM to 4 AM, one way only¿ Home! (The city should not be seen to be transporting students to the bar district.) 4. Brock U taking responsibility for the discipline or expelling student vandals and lawbreakers¿ (Surely student conduct can be contracted for admission.) 5. Permission to station Taxi Cabs in Market square from 11:00 PM. This item stands alone. (Taxis must be available in the concentrated bar area of downtown.) Addendum: Consider the increased insurance premiums if insurance Companies discover their exposure!
Web Site: Winners Circle News
Wendell Wilks Thursday, 1/13/05, 7:02 PM
To Councilor I do not have an agenda per se, but I am somewhat confused as to how the future is being planned by our local leaders. The rising taxation levels and continual erosion of services seems certain to create a hopeless cycle of descent. Being a land- locked City, it is difficult to see new sources of revenue from development. We appear to be a City that is unfriendly and cumbersome for new developers. Our Economic Development strategies are fragmented, with a lack of cohesion between Regional Officers and City officers. City supported agencies like the heavily taxpayer subsidized Downtown Business Association does not seem to work with the Chamber of Commerce, or with the Economic Development officers. With no new revenues, the taxpayers are on a road to disaster, particularly our fixed income seniors. The Downtown association performance is dismal and we are not getting our money¿s worth. They operate as an appendage of City Hall, and receive laurels of congratulation each year for leading a continuing decline. Dr. Kushner, you know very well that the 2-way traffic study is about politics, and that there is no budget or no stomach for actual change. The studies are interminable, and your professional staff tells us directly. ¿Two-way traffic will never happen!¿ The charade is troublesome. Also, senior City staff has told me directly that City Hall is out of space, and that they are working on a building program to extend City Hall on Market Square to connect to the Old Courthouse. How can we keep growing the bureaucracy as our services decline? We have no growth and face economic disaster with our aging underground infrastructure. The City has no cultural centre, no sports palace, and seems to pursue a continuing erosion of our centre institutions, like our hospitals, and arenas, constantly shifting away from the City core. Who is leading the re-building of our glorious City centre? So, let me just say that no single leader is actively and openly advancing any strategy to save this wonderful old city from the ¿status quo.¿ No City leader is telling us how we are leaning on the Province or the federal Government for support like the Mayors of say, Toronto and Mississauga. (to name only a couple of urban leaders.) Our roadways crumble, and the unfulfilled promises of a wider QEW or an extended highway 406. Who fights for St Catharines? Surely, having the same City Councilors representing the City at Regional Council would end the divisions so rampant today. We seem divided and conquered. I have heard you have great admiration for the Regional Government. To me, having people like you fulltime being paid more than a puny honorarium for your public service is a better formula for our City future. We are a big City and we have a big bureaucracy, and we need fulltime elected Council leadership. The Chief Magistrate needs a lot of professional elected help to better govern a staff that is unaccountable to the electorate. The examples of successful Cities adapting to this system gives us a tested roadmap to follow. It is clearly a ¿governance¿ issue. Without a vision the people will perish is as true today as it always has been. I am very interested in hearing your vision for St Catharine¿s future. My activism exists because I am a media professional, and the local media are not identifying leaders. They seem content to amplify conflicts, and peripherally investigate our state of affairs, with no discernible goals consistent with the heavy responsibility of the ¿fifth estate.¿ As a TV station that will employ 25 professionals in news-gathering, TVN is mapping out its future assignments. My second concern comes from being a local taxpayer, and from being the Chief Executive officer of a company that will spend millions of dollars on the gamb
From: St. Catharines
n.a.Monday, 11/22/04, 7:47 AM I'm pleased to see you've removed the earlier entries. Some were useful, insightful, as you said, others just rants. I sincerely hope you convince Former Insider, with his insight, to assist your cause. I would also hope you might repeat his two entries because they were so informative. I also hope that you might be able to 'fix' repeat entries, by assuring that when these comment forms are 'submitted' one doesn't get "page not displayed" notice, which causes bewilderment, so people to try again. In fact their comments are received, but the submit button needs work. Anticipating you have already fixed that glitch, I will now 'submit'. DanWednesday, 11/17/04, 1:06 PM I am submitting these comments prior to reading those of others.Having been a proponent of heritage preservation and downtown residential development ever since I arrived here in 1974 has been a frustrating experience. Numerous studies have concluded that people living and working in an area will help it to sustain itself not only as a commercial are but also as a neighbourhood. Over the years subsequent councils have tried to encourage growth through demolition of our heritage (post war to the 70's); civic squares; free parking on Saturdays etc. Until there is a political will to stop urban sprawl, embrace proven planning concepts and pass by-laws to protect investment in the core,I doubt if the day will ever come. Building $20MM legacy projects is not wise use of tax $$. We need fresh blood right through council from top to bottom including senior administrative staff at city Hall. the gene pool of business and political "leaders" is getting thinner by the year in St. Catharines and there outdated and outmoded ides demonstrate this thought. I sometimes wish I had not established my business nor bought a home in Niagara. After 30 years I am starting to feel trapped with not a lot of hope for the future. I sincerely hope change is coming swift and strong or I feel we are on the verge of becoming the Gary, Indiana of Ontario let alone Canada.
Robert Cameron BrookeWednesday, 11/10/04, 12:18 PM I would like to see the City Council make a commitment to cleaning up the Crack and Prostitute problem in this town. Concerned Citizens should get together and protest if we want to get action! firstname.lastname@example.org RSVP Rob:)
glenstonecottageMonday, 11/1/04, 7:44 PM AS someone who lives downtown, I appreciate the energy and passion this group brings to the table, even if you do piss some people off! I guess that's part of the change process. I like your groups insistence on more downtown housing as an important part of the solution. I don't know that two-way traffic on St. Paul St. is the answer. I wonder what the downtown merchants would say to an experiment next summer of blocking it off to traffic and having a pedestrian mall, just like Toronto used to have back in the seventies.
to s burgioThursday, 10/28/04, 10:06 PM thank god some one who really knows what downtown needs,we need more people like you
LLThursday, 10/28/04, 12:55 PM Standard Re; Drive to revive downtown should include everyone. Lament the inability of the poor and the homeless if you like, but they do have the ability to add their thoughts by visiting the St. Catharines Centennial Library 54 Church Street. The Library Card is free. The one-hour per day Internet use is free, Just pass along this message to the poor, the homeless, or the computerless so they can add their thoughts. Library Lover
Winners CircleWednesday, 10/27/04, 9:37 PM Dear J. Bud Thank you for your submission. I have no problem with your comments, or the comments from any citizen that wants to be heard, except one. Please note that there has not been any articles deleted from either guest book. Perhaps that is the problem... there are two guest books. One guest book is located on the Public Interest Pole page. The other is Located on the main page. You can also sign in there to find the comments of others or any that you think have been deleted. If we appear to you to be new at this, you are right on the money, but please understand that for a bunch of Landowners, shopkeepers, and interested individuals, we are doing the best we can to create a forum for our fellow citizens to speak up and let our authorities hear you, your thoughts, and your opinions. Please watch our odometer. I'm sure you will conclude that they are listening to you and all the others, if only for self preservation. Again, J.Bud, speak your mind... no one will delete, alter, censor, or edit your comments in any way. Thank you for enlightening us to a possible problem. We will type a message on both pages that host our two guest books informing all participants that submissions can be viewed on another page Thank You...wc
J. BudWednesday, 10/27/04, 12:28 PM I love how this group wants people to speak out about the downtown because the powers that be have won't let it happen. What's the first thing they do, start removing e-mails that point to reasons why downtown St.Catharines stinks. In the end this group is no better than the downtown association or anyone else they've been attacking. It's clear this group is not interested in having an open discussion. All they want is the type of control that has made the city what it is today. A laughing stock.
S BurgioTuesday, 10/26/04, 6:36 PM I just recently read an article that mentioned a vision for the downtown core...a sort-of New Orleans North...THANK YOU, I have been saying for the past 8 years that what the downtown needs is more entertainment; a place where people from all over the city can engage in both a daylife and nightlife... an escape from the ordinary per se. Downtown needs distinction to separate it from other commercial areas (ill take shopping on a Victorian street over a big box ANY DAY). The downtown needs more events in its streets and in its parks, it should be a mecca for aspiring artists and creative minds, a place where individuals can be just that, it needs to express the history of the area and embrace it...a place for young and old. Im very proud of my downtown, but Im disapointed in the lack of commitment and dedication Ive seen from certain groups..the WINNER's CIRCLE is what the downtown has always needed. Thank-You and lets continue to fight and save the downtown together! From:Toronto
P. SiegelTuesday, 10/26/04, 3:50 PM So our Mayor wanted to know what we want, no one seems to have told him yet. We want lower taxes, they are simply too high here in St Catharines. We want a lower Mill Rate than Mill Rate people in Toronto pay..... We want nice smooth roads, so our cars don't take a beating every time we drive on city streets. We want good schools, and good education, not all the foolish options that exist, but a good solid education for youngsters that helps them be good solid taxpayers when they grow up. We want clean safe streets, policed by Niagara Regional police, it is time they left patrolling the borders to the RCMP and patrolling the lakeshores to the Royal Canadian Navy. We want the Region to use some of the existing buildings and facilities in Niagara until they can pay for the new building upfront in cash. And most of all we want St Catharines Councilmen and the Mayor to deny themselves a pay raise until the new Arena is paid for........ Fond Regards P. Siegel
larry smurlickMonday, 10/25/04, 6:55 PM i really enjoyed doug herod,s column today. the possibility of the wine route thru st paul st. is very exciting. 650000 tourists in the centre of town has a beautiful sweet scent.lets go for it .
g. mooreSaturday, 10/23/04, 3:28 PM if it's not any thing to do with SPORTS, they don't want anything to do with it!!
Pat & Dave ScearsSaturday, 10/23/04, 12:15 PM City councillors should take a look at Burlington & Oakville & see what a good job they are doing to keep their downtowns thriving!! Most of them have apartment buildings within walking distance. I will not come downtown to shop while you have to pay to park!! The stores used to give out tokens for either parking or the busus, but I think that has since been discontinued.
a.l.hSaturday, 10/23/04, 9:50 AM i have lived in downtown st. catherines for 14 years,i see a incredible vibrant night life full of people and tremendess amount of buissness.,but some things should be taken care of and swiftly.i have found the trouble spots stopping new bissness and making people want to move their buissness are as follow/ work action center must be moved , the methedon clinic as well ,also a big part is canton cafe, serving people way beyond the legal limit, buying alcohol off the street, people screeming and fighting,its about time the city revoked their buissness licence, these type of places donot belong in the downtown core ,and just create a unpleasent place to be,its a fact, would the mayor like to live next to these elements,and or would open a buissness beside them ,of course not . i truely beleive if you get rid of the methodone clinic,work action ceneter and the canton cafe 75% of the problem downtown is solved also it would be nice to see the leanard hotel turned into student residence, ,i beleive we need more people living in the downtown core and some large chain stores to pull more shoppers in the daytime ,i beleive the hardest buissness downtown is the retail sectore ,while the food buissness and bars are booming with life ,we need both and its seems the core is strong in the restaurant sectore but dying in the retail.2 way traffic well why bother, i beleive it should be one single lane,and st. paul street should be more walking then cars flying down its street way to fast making it unsafe for young familys for shopping,i would like to see angle parking on ,james street and king street that would double the parking spaces easy,it only makes sense in and maybe some complete walking streets like hess village in hamilton,like ottawa market, like in paris.london englang,like isreal,like vienna, most major citys do .,i must say thanks to the mayor for the market square its lovely,but why build and spend the money when the city doesnt even promote it,[it seems their philosophy we will build and they will come] guess wrong the market square is awsome promote it. ,,but i will admit the restoration on the court house is lovely,thanks.just one more thing the cathedral across from the police station thats forsale,i hope the city has designated it historical and make sure of it,i would hate to see a developer destroy what heritage buildings we have left in this city, maybe the city should buy it and use it for the niagara symphoney /operas /high profile plays,high profile concerts.it would make a truely lovely spot , thats all , thanks for listening
Friday, 10/22/04, 10:27 AM Are you sure your campaign is FOR downtown as opposed to lowering the tone of downtown so that inexpensive real estate opportunities will abound and you can gobble up property after property and then fill it up with scum tenants?
marlene walshThursday, 10/21/04, 4:46 PM we certainly need jabbers and needlers like your group it's about time that the truth came out .