NewsNow E-Edition January 26, 2023

Opinion ~ Clear the way for the S.S. Titanic, er, Grimsby


Over the last year, I have been trying to step back and assess how many years it will take the Town of Grimsby to recover from the antics of The Grimsby Five and the administration they protect.

Generally, I would have said 10 years.

Why 10?

Purely dealing with the purge aspect of good staff people – many of whom were turfed while others could read the tea leaves and either moved or took early retirement –the brain drain will take 10 years to overcome.

And that is if replacement and all the brand new
positions created in this expensive staffing model are Cracker Jacks at their job. We can see already, that ain’t happenin’.

The heritage file is a train wreck of epic proportions. The five and staff have done literally everything possible to absolutely and unequivocally decimate anyone who has shown a genuine interest in preserving heritage in town.

Every one of the five detest Coun. Dorothy Bothwell because she is very bright and is willing to work very hard at what she does. She can talk circles around anyone – including staff most times – and they can’t take that heat.

So, they opt to cut her off at the legs, malign her efforts and discredit all the good things she is trying to do.

To delete her as Chair of Grimsby Heritage Advisory Committee in favour of a guy in Coun. John Dunstall who is in a perpetual state of being ill-prepared – and that’s if he shows up – is laughable.

As you will see by the comments offered by the four volunteers who quit GHAC last week, the water runs very deep and very wide when one looks to assess the problems with the planning department and its handling of the heritage file.

A significantly heavier workload was instigated by the director of planning, then they sat back and said they had too much to do to run GHAC in its traditional manner – taking a body that was requiring five hours to work through their material for monthly meetings, now they will only have three more meetings in 2022.

What annoyed The Five the most over many months was they were put in a position to have to overturn items to get what they wanted.

Case in point, the setback issue for the Losani property on Main East. The boys sold any traditional heritage look down the river for that entrance to town when they voted to overturn GHAC’s recommendation to keep proper setbacks from the sidewalk in that stretch to enhance visibility of the old Burgess house at Nelles and Main East.

Having that new build up by the sidewalk will stand out like a sore thumb and then some. Think about it. No other building is set near the sidewalk until you get downtown. Now why do you think that is? Because that is a downtown core planning principle.

Go back 20 years and even a touch more when Dave VanSickle and Kees VanLeeuwen owned the site where Century Condos will go downtown. I saw at least a half-dozen versions of beautiful drawings for that site, but none flew with planning. Why, pray tell?

They wanted enough setback to provide parking out front with a nice parkette. The sketches were great, but planning held its ground, correctly, and said any build needs to be at the curb, parking in the back.

Conversely, in residential stretches not only don’t you see but you don’t want to see big structures built out to the sidewalk. It breaks the character and dominates the streetscape in a most ugly manner.

Well, now that The Five have flipped that one, that’s what you’re going to get on Main East. With four quality people gone from GHAC and Dunstall at the helm, the SS Titanic, er, Grimsby, will be heading straight for the nearest planning iceberg.

In that instance, it is permanent. It is something the town will never recover from – and there will be more…like 262 Main and the historic Nixon Hall site…see ya!

I think with a little energy and forethought, The Five can move the needle this year. I think Vegas will put the Over/Under on years to recover at a solid 15, noting there will be no coming back from many of painful choices.


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