Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The divestiture of CNR land.

The Crown corporation removes Canada's Maple Leaf Flag, Coat of Arms and the names of prominent people from the buildings they sell. Sir John Thompson was Canada's fourth Prime Minister, while Sam Livingston was an important historical figure in the province of Alberta.

 The CLC and the Canadian Forces Housing Agency are partners, which is a conflict of interest, because the mandate of the Canada Lands Company is to profit from the demolition/disposal of Government of Canada property. Military families were charged "market value" rents; "Self Help Housing" meant that the CLC and CFHA handed out buckets of paint and paint brushes and expected tenants to paint their own houses, and private real estate companies were permitted to set up offices on base property; read the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs (SCONDVA) inquiry documents. When my family lived in base housing, we never had to worry about paying the rent, or painting our unit; or having recreational amenities removed from the grounds-- playgrounds, golf courses; swimming pools; tennis courts...According to the article "Troops losing housing war, Can't afford to live in Edmonton" by Andrew Hanon, SUN MEDIA, 06/02/2007---until the late 1990's, CFB Edmonton had hundreds of housing units for military families. Then the 250-hectare Griesbach Barracks were sold to the Canada Lands Company. Now, troops have to live as far away as Red Deer and Wetaskiwin, Alberta, because rents are too high at CFB Edmonton; the waiting list for housing is too long; a soldier being deployed to Afghanistan may have to leave his family in New Brunswick because rents are too high at Edmonton Garrison and some troops are threatening to leave the military altogether, if they are transferred to Edmonton Garrison.

In 1985, Veterans Affairs owned 27 military hospitals; now they own one, the Ste. Anne's Hospital in Ste. Anne-de-Bellevue, which is being transferred to the province of Quebec
RCAF Air Cadets were evicted from the Kapyong Barracks in Winnipeg.

The Crown corporation held a public auction to sell CFB Chilliwack furniture, appliances, air conditioners, and probably historical artifacts. As I have mentioned before,The Archives of Canada does not have the mandate to proactively save historical documents/photographs from soon-to-be abandoned buildings; they have to be invited to intercede by the Crown corporation or agency. Library and Archives Canada is depending on the CBC to decide if any of the 100,000 albums from the CBC Music Libraries are worth saving. The CBC Radio Orchestra was based in Vancouver, and I'm sure they recorded many albums; and Glenn Gould recorded music at CBC Records. Mark my words, the most valuable, rare albums will end up in the vaults of Universal Music Group or Warner Brothers Music,the same music companies that delete  audio from YouTube videos that feature their contractees. Canadians will have to pay for albums and CD's that were once owned by the people of Canada.
The Niagara Falls Armoury at 1049 Victoria Avenue.


The Windsor Armoury in Ontario.

 









The Tecumseh Park Armoury
The Canada Lands Company probably had nothing to do with the sale of DND armouries in Windsor, Niagara Falls and Chatham, but who in their right mind would "dispose" of these one-of-a-kind, distinctive buildings, that resemble castles.
Canada's Eiffel Towers, the railway stations, are now Liquor Control Board of Ontario outlets; daycare centres and conference centres. I will fight to my dying breath to stop the government from privatizing the Conference Centre in Ottawa, or converting the building into a hockey museum, which the Chretien government wanted to do. As I've mentioned before, I was a janitor/cleaning lady in the magnificent building. Former American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and many other people saved Grand Central Station (Grand Central Terminal) in New York City from demolition and replacement with an office tower; and Mrs. Kennedy and Jane Jacobs, author of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities", led the fight to try to save Penn Station in New York City.
Instead of privatizing, demolishing and "re purposing" Canada's railway stations, the Canada Lands Company should have preserved them. Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy said:
     "Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future? Americans care about their past, but for short term gain they ignore it and tear down everything that matters. Maybe...this is the time to take a stand, to reverse the tide, so that we won't all end up in a uniform world of steel and glass boxes."
CityPlace in Toronto, built on Canadian National Railway land acquired by the Canada Lands Company.
   The Harbourfront Corporation in Toronto, Ontario was a subsidiary of the Canada Lands Company. In October of 1972, the federal government announced that it was establishing Habourfront, a waterfront park in Toronto, "a gift to the people of Toronto from the Government of Canada."
The feds expropriated 100 acres of waterfront land because they want to prevent a "Ceramic Curtain" of high rise apartment buildings from separating the rest of Toronto from the lakeshore.
     The proposed waterfront park drew comparisons to Vancouver's Stanley Park, The Plains of Abraham in Quebec and London, England's Hyde Park.
     Harbourfront Corporation gradually lost 90% of its land:
---1972 - the Crown corporation was given 100 acres of land.
---1989 - 41.5 acres of land remained.
---1999 - 40 acres of land remained.
---2012 - Harbourfront owns 10 acres of property.
In 1985, Deputy Prime Minister Erik Nielsen recommended that "Harbourfront" be divested to the private sector or to another level of government. And in November of 1990, Ontario Treasurer Darcy McKeough proposed that all of Harbourfront's real estate assets be disposed of, to provide money for the Crown corporation's cultural and entertainment programs and activities.
The federal government and the Canada Lands Company created a new Crown corporation in January 1991, called the Queen's Quay West Land Corporation, to manage and dispose of all remaining federal properties on the Toronto lakeshore. After fulfilling their mission, the Queen's Quay West Land Corporation was dissolved on March 31, 2006.
The Government of Canada and the Canada Lands Company owned the air rights at Toronto's lakeshore, they could have prevented the "concrete jungle", the "concrete sea" of high rise apartments that now define the once beautiful T.O. waterfront.You had to be there (during the 1970's) to really appreciate what was lost, never to be regained---the dance pavilions; the unpolluted water and the beaches, where I swam and sunbathed; the equestrian trails; playgrounds for children;  miles and miles of trails where you could jog or run with your dogs; the bicycle paths; I could see trees, countless varieties of wild animals, and some people sat on benches and feds crumbs to the birds; I saw picnic tables, and and people rowing boats that they rented at a nearby marina. I could buy hot dogs, chips, ice cream and soft drinks from nearby food vendors. During the summer, the beach was a pleasant respite from my unairconditioned two room apartment.
     The Hon. Erik Nielsen was a Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and a Federal Minister of Public Works. In 1985, Mr. Nielsen wrote:
     "Several Crown Corporations were set up in more recent years with the apparent objective of avoiding the constraints of government regulations regarding real property. Examples are:
    The Canada Harbour Place Corporation (and its subsidiaries)
  1. Le Vieux Port du Montreal
  2. Le Vieux Port du Quebec
  3. Mirabel Lands. (From: Page 71 of a report dealing with federal real property, part of the "Task Force on Program Review-Nielsen Task Force 1985", which is stored at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.)
 The Canada Lands Company bought Quebec Army Headquarters property in Montreal for half of its appraised value, see "Developer got prime federal land at half value" by William Marsden, Montreal Gazette, January 15 2002.

  DND had to pay the Canada Lands Company $7.9 million dollars to buy back CFB Shearwater land that it sold to the Crown corporation for $1.5 million dollars.

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