You all know how much I enjoy trying new things and playing around with formats, so humour me as I toy with the routine a bit this week.
Yes, tonight's installment of ManLinkWeek will be a little different; instead of me giving you individual local links and then popping pertinent postscripts behind each one, this time around I'm going to give you a series of links uninterrupted and then task you with detecting the shared characteristic that unites them.
Are you ready? Here we go:
[Metro Winnipeg: Winnipeg's water-park dream]
[Winnipeg Love Hate: Winnipeg's Piss Pot]
[One Man Committee: I wanted to comment on the waterpark...]
[Anybody Want A Peanut?: Waterpark: 7 reasons to say 'no']
[Winnipeg Free Press: Water-park pickle]
[Winnipeg... one great city (or so they tell me): Winnipeg might get a WATER PARK!]
[Stumbling [a]Bordeaux: A letter to Sam Katz]
Let me ask you, then, gentle reader, having read and absorbed each of those items -- were you able to decipher the common thread that ties them all together? I bet you were!
The answer, according to the elected representative holding the second-highest political position in our city, is that they are all part of a sinister, politically motivated, self-serving web of deliberate deception.
[Stumbling [a]Bordeaux: A response from councillor Swandel]
[little gray bird: slip sliding away]
Did both of the concerned citizens above get the exact same email response, verbatim? That they did -- and there's no way of knowing how many other people received the exact same message, unless city councillors are usually in the habit of drawing up form letters for groups of two.
And what open-minded, consensus-building leadership did our fair townsfolk receive from Deputy Mayor and St. Norbert City Councillor Justin Swandel? I want to stress, to avoid any potential confusion, that I have not altered or fabricated anything you see below; what you are about to read is straight from the man himself, unaltered, as written for a mass audience.
I do hope that you will heed the second-last paragraph in particular, as I feel it best embodies the class, respect, and genuine warmth that our civic leaders show for engaged citizens like you and me.
The response, in full:
I'm not sure how this got off the track but there is quite a bit of misinformation/misunderstanding out there about this project. The project is going on land adjacent to the Forks not at the Forks. The plan is 2 phased; first, a 125 room hotel and a 50,000 sf indoor water park. The second phase will be another 125 room addition and a 450 stall parkade.
The only real issue here is whether or not it can meet the design standards and continuity with the existing built form. To ensure that happens we have 2 levels of accountability. The first is the Urban Design Guidelines and the design review process by the Urban Design Advisory Committee. For your convenience I've attached information on the guidelines and the committee. The second layer of design review is Plan Approval. As a condition of acceptance, the Downtown Committee insisted that final plans come back to committee for approval before any permits are issued. I can assure you the committee will be quite diligent in reviewing the plans.
This is not the first time folks have objected to something new at the Forks. Both the Skate board park and the Inn at the Forks raised similar concerns. Both projects have been an overwhelming success in spite of early objections. There have been other examples where objections have been raised to projects that have gone on to become some of the most valuable assets in our great City. The Eaton's Building/MTS Centre and Eplanade Riel/Provencher Bridge are two that quickly come to mind.
There is still other development to come at the Forks. The Forks itself has been discussing residential development and another parkade in that sea of surface parking along the Railroad on their property. If these move forward they would go through a similar design review process to ensure compatibility.
The final point I would like to make is regarding the City's $7million contribution and the public access agreement. For this money the City will get $700,000 annually of access for 25 years. This means that each year over 20,000 less fortunate Winnipegers, who might otherwise never see the inside of such a facility , will have access. We should be very proud of this achievement.
As you can see there is a lot more to this than a few flippant comments in a newspaper or deliberate misinformation campaigns in the blogsphere. Winnipeg is in a time of great success, this will only enhance that success and help keep the momentum going for many years to come rather than allowing the self-serving politically motivated naysayers to leave us with just a short blip of success.
It is hoped this commentary will help in your future discussions on the project. JS
Yes! As you can see! As you can see, any concern you could possibly express about the waterpark is either completely incorrect or maliciously manufactured by the cackling evildoers behind newspapers and blog sites, rubbing their hands together as they hogtie the very success of Winnipeg itself and leave it on the railroad tracks to die.
The only real issue here -- the only real issue, because there's obviously no legitimacy in whatever you're on about -- is whether the eventual design proposal will be pretty enough for a committee to okay it.
(It's a shame this story didn't break before the City gave up on that whole 'consultation process' life lesson back in February; I'd have loved to see how that idea would have been incorporated into this discussion.)
Now, I would have figured anyone interested enough to follow the news closely is likely already acutely aware of where Parcel 4 is, but I'd certainly hate to put more trust in anyone than our leaders believe they deserve.
Not that you could trust me, either, of course! I'm in the blogosphere, that dread beast of deception, that hegemonic hivemind which exists only to cloud the heads of the unsuspecting with its campaigns of misinformation and fear. Even as we speak, I'm sure those poor souls who were once led astray by its trickery are now blinking away the shadows of deceit and ruin as Swandel's email arrives upon their screens to illuminate their eyes with the light of truth.
"What's this? I've been flim-flammed! By the blogosphere! Augh, I should have known!"
Ha! Ha ha ha -- ahhhh. Okay, seriously, though, what on earth is this.
The second letter from Oystryk does a much better job than I presently could at addressing one of the more worrisome aspects of Swandel's screed:
"You seem to believe that because there was public opposition to past projects that are now widely seen as successful, all opposition to future development is in fact unwarranted and maybe even proof that the project will succeed. This is a very dangerous road to travel down. I would encourage you to revisit this thought process as it is wholly illogical."
And below that on the page is a second response from Swandel, one that does not address the above concern whatsoever but -- besides noting that "My response was generic in nature" -- primarily suggests that Oystryk would be less uppity about the whole thing if he just knew how to read properly. It opens with "I think you are reading too much into what I am saying" and concludes with "Hopefully you will take the time to reread and digest in its proper context." There, see? Your problem, which is your problem, is that you just aren't properly comprehending how right he is. Grievance resolved.
I'd just like to remind you all, at this point, that this is the Deputy Mayor; this is the man who gets to run the city any time Sam Katz is unavailable, as wildly infrequent as that scenario may be. So if you have ever wondered how the consultation and input of the public is perceived -- nay, valued -- among the upper echelons of our civic leadership, well, here we are. You live in a city where there is no such thing as a valid concern.
But perhaps I am wrong! I have been wrong before. So it is best if you consider for yourself: do the communications above read like those of an approachable and reasonable man, willing to accept citizen input and carefully consider alternate positions? Do you read his letter and think to yourself, "I bet if I phrase my concerns about the water park proposal just so, he'll open up to my viewpoint and we'll be able to work towards a satisfactory compromise"?
And, after having read the links at the top of this page, which ones do you figure he considers the "deliberate misinformation campaigns"?
Give the matter some thought, but not -- I cannot stress this enough -- not until you're safely away from the computer. That's the only way that you can be certain you're clear of my sinister mind powers, the ones that I obviously must have, because I come from the Net and am therefore the enemy.
I shall exert my corrosive control over the timid and weak-willed! I shall slay all success, reducing it to short blips whenever and wherever it may emerge! All Glory to the Blogosphere! Nyah hah! Nyah hah hah! Nyah hah hah hah hahhhhhhh!
Ahem. At any rate -- thank you for reading ManLinkWeek! I'll have another post up tomorrow night, one I dare suggest will be lighter in tone; rare though it may seem, I've a couple of things to be pleased about.