"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Best Laid Schemes Gang Aft Agley

Yesterday was not a nice day . Despite my plan I didn't weed the garden or tour on my scooter. I did watch American news and comment on Facebook. 

This morning I searched T.V. for something of interest other than CNN and came up short . 
I checked out Facebook and launched into a lengthy debate with my friend Tom Mrakas.

On Tuesday, I drove down the cart path of the former golf course until stopped by a rotting bridge across the creek. A sign advertises future homes from $2 million. Premier Kathleen Wynne is 
traversing the Province talking about perceived problems. The price of housing and the difficulties 
for families featured amid her concerns.   

Development of the former Aurora Highlands Golf Course is certainly not going to resolve any part of the housing problem in Aurora. Aurora's MLA is Premier Wynne's Minister of Housing. He resides  in 
the golf course neighbourhood. I understand, he was active in opposing development. 

There were Councillors and neighbours of the property who believed  the town should buy the real estate to prevent it from being developed. I imagine the price gave them pause. 

Municipal councillors have  been organized and working to negate the authority of the Ontario Municipal Board. A Bill has been presented in the legislature.  The Councillors are  feeling very positive they will accomplish their objective. Specifically , any application for development of vacant land within an urban municipality can be denied without appeal. 

Aurora is not a large town. Taxpayers shoulder the burden of a massive top-heavy administration 
with a payroll in the millions for a handful of individuals . The town's recently departed CAO went to Richmond Hill for an annual salary of $260,000 . An increase from $200,000. 

In return,elected representatives are entitled to receive professional advice on efficient, municipally related, business practice. 

That's not what happens. Not here. And not apparently at Queen's Park. 


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A New Plan

A couple of things happened that brought pause to the blog. My I pad stopped doing what I wanted 
and for a number of reasons it took awhile to get it back in order. 

In the meantime, Facebookbecame my outlet. It was  less work and less time.

 I developed a horrible fascination for American politics but less inclined  to add to the cacophony
In depth or extent. 

Now the current topic is racism. It's a volatile topic. Easy to be misunderstood.  I'm going to try to write a blog that has nothing to do with American politics or the issue of race. I don't think one voice less will be missed and I doubt it would make a difference. The problem is not going away soon. 

I'm going to stop watching CNN. My garden needs weeding . I want to meander  about  on my scooter. .. take in the sights and sounds of my neighbourhood and slightly beyond. 

Yesterday, I went on a circular tour. On my way home ,I scooted across Confederation Park from Seaton to Glass Drive. It was mid-afternoon. Grass was neatly cut, Soccer fields clearly marked and ready for use whenever. Baseball diamond backstop was perfectly groomed .

Everything was peaceful ,tranquil and quiet. There wasn't a living soul in the park except for myself and my daughter Heather on her bicycle. 

Wednesday afternoon ,on a sunny afternoon in early August. No children in the streets either. No kids on bicycles, roller skates, playing ball or skipping rope. Playground equipment  still and unused. 

It was like that throughout the town during the last election campaign. But the school kids were in 
their classrooms. I planned ,if re-elected ,to make myself familiar with our various town facilities 
and  make a point of visiting to observe for myself if they are used and part of the community 
lifestyle. 

Councillor Tom  Mrakas published a photo yesterday of dog-walkers ,two, on a town trail. Each had four dogs on leads. I'd heard the leash-free park was used mainly by commercial operations. The 
photo gave a sense of that. 

 I would likely spend four or more hours a day writing a blog. I am going to try to reduce that and the time I spend watching the news and maybe wean myself from Facebook. 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

IT MAY HAVE TO GET WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A SPADE IS A SPADE..IS A SPADE ..IS A SPADE": 

An interesting historical interlude.

The Golf Glen lands were always privately owned. The reference to "Aurora land" is its location, not its title.

But a growing population, an exploding population, has to be located somewhere. 100 or so homes are just a drop in the bucket to provide for the approximately 25,000 population influx that is provincially planned for poor, dear "our town."

There is only a finite amount of land, unless you happen to be Holland, Singapore or China, where in-filling is really filling in.

The luxury days of single family homes are at an end and future residential accommodation might have to involve 3, 4 or 5 story buildings. That is the only way baseball diamonds or other recreational facilities can be provided for our children, or for ourselves. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 14 June 2017 at 19:35

**************************************************
The reality is the land is privately owned. The other reality is when people don't want anything to change in their neighbourhood , they tend to insist the municipality buy or otherwise obtain ownership.

The town  just did that with a 6 acre parcel in Mavric Land . Additional millions are to be spent to create a redundant park. 

I think the settlement agreed for the golf course is similar. Numbers of residential units are shrunk to a minimum and park area increased to a maximum. Cost per unit increases commensurately. 

Who cares? Not the developer. Time is money. They will agree to anything just to get going. 

Not Golf Glen or Mavricland residents that's for sure .They already have theirs. 

But more reprehensibly,  the consistent official position of some ,not all, politicians, is to do everything possible to accommodate the demands of some, not all, abutting homeowners.

It's the nature of the beast. It's certainly the easiest way to win votes. Always was. 

That's why there has always been an Ontario Municipal Board . 

There used  to be Municipal Planning Boards as well for the same reason. 

Politicians complained about that as well ,the same way they complain about the Ontario Municipal Board today. 



A SPADE IS A SPADE..IS A SPADE ..IS A SPADE

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "GYPSY..GYPSY..LIVES IN A TENT": 

Had the OMB not existed at the time of the Highland "agreement" between the parties it is conceivable that this development would not take place, or if done so, on a greatly reduced scale.

So the rape of Aurora land might have been negligible.

But leaving future development to local councils with little or no oversight might be even worse. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 14 June 2017 at 13:43

*************************************

The golf course was never  "Aurora land". It has always been privately owned . Before  a golf course, it was a farm on the outside edge of Aurora in King Township. 

Homes abutting the erstwhile golf course came later but  have similar history. 

The  Nesbitt family were never accused of "raping" the land when the golf course was built. 

They  were not accused of being accessory to "rape" when they sold the land to Joe Shaw,
who was a developer at the time. He built a beautiful club house that was an asset to the community for many years . Nesbitt's built two more golf courses Westview and St. Andrew's

The town continued to grow out  into the countryside . I'm  certain, the seven-hundred and fifty families who bought homes in Regency Acres were glad of that. 

I raised my family here. Golf Glen subdivision was a small fill-in development between Regency and the golf course.

 Nobody objected to Regency Acres.

Nobody objected to Golf Glen. 

Instead of being developed ,the golf course continued for half a century longer. 

Now  that  planned fill-in development  is compared to the land being "raped".

There is nothing logical or reasonable about that. 

But it's not just illogical or unreasonable. 

Community  interest is nowhere reflected in opposition to vacant serviced land being developed. 

The opposite is true. 
 

Monday, 12 June 2017

GYPSY..GYPSY..LIVES IN A TENT

Councillor Mrakas made the link available on Facebook for the Bill to establish the new Appeal Trubunal designed to disallow appeals from Municipal Official Plans. The bill has received First
Reading. Councillor Mrakas has put tremendous time and effort into organising support from municipalities across the length and breadth of the Province. 

A committee of the legislature was appointed and hearings were held for public input. 

I read it. I hate reading legislative acts. Writing does not improve. Clarity is clearly  not the objective.
 It's as if legal practitioners are afraid non-practitioners might discover the secret. 

Giving first reading to a Bill  is common practice. Three readings are required for it to pass. Even if  three readings proceed,  it can't be enacted until definitions and regulations are in place to enable enforcement. 

It used to add a year to the process. It might be better now.  And it might not. 

Councillor Mrakas is hopeful the signs and portents are positive. 

To-night's Global news had a relevant item. The provincially owned former lakefront power generation site in Missuassaga Is to be remediated and sold for multiple residential development. 

It's huge. Thousands of units will be accommodated. Worth millions it might  help reduce  debt
 caused by cancelling new generation mid contract. Two of McGuinty's staff might go to jail for 
wiling out records that traced the decision. 

This neighbourhood persuaded  McGuinty to cancel the project. Brought about his early retirement. 
and hangs around Premier Wynn's neck like a dead weight. 

The site is no doubt designated Industrial in Missuassaga's Official Plan. 

A change in Land Use designation will be necessary to allow residential development. It will change
the neighbourhood. 

We should watch that. 

It's not exactly a change from golf course open space to residential.  It is  multiplied many times 
over In neighbourhood impact. 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

POLLY PUT THE KETTLE ON ...SUKY TOOK IT OFF AGAIN

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WITH DUE RESPECT": 

I bet that senior living building will have total occupancy before the doors are opened. Traffic? Pollution? Has anyone been to seniors home in Toronto? 
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 31 May 2017 at 06:15

*******************************

If the  building proposed is ever constructed, the comment is likely correct. 

For the same reason, people come from Toronto to buy multi-million dollar mansions because 
they would cost twice as much there, senior living facilities would quickly fill. Every vacant 
site in Aurora could be used for the purpose and they would still be fully occupied. It's a lucrative business. 

The Town  of Newmarket keeps moving forward in partnership with York Region to provide  rental housing for families and the elderly . Can't point to a single such development in the last twenty-five years in the Town of Aurora. 

But the discussion is  not about that. pay attention people. 

The town  recently  adopted a Secondary Plan for the  area.

It calls for a Culture Precinct. Whatever one thinks about that , it was approved during the last
term. It allows for residential intensification in the area; purpose being to cut down urban sprawl
 and make public transit an option for commuters. 

A Senior's Living Centre does neither. Though it suits the needs of the United Church, it contributes 
zilch, zero, nada, nil , to the Town's stated objective.

Without  a study or collected data to prove my contention, I'm willing to  bet Senior Living and day- long parking in every nook and cranny  in the town centre for commuters is high on change activity 
in the last several years. 

Neither contribute to re-vitalisation of  Aurora. 

The opposite is true.

If it were the Town's intention, it may be argued. 

But it's not. 

The Town has expended substantial resources developing an Official Plan that generates a different objective. 

The document went through all  legal requirements; advertising, public meetings, consultant studies, 
public input, endless routine occupying planners, and finally public approval and the stamp of authority. 

If this proposal is approved , it will prove once and for all, planning is a farce. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

WITH DUE RESPECT

My friend Councillor Mrakas has updated us on Facebook onthe status of the United Church rebuild 
proposal. The town's decision is not yet made but the item has been referred to the 
next general committee meeting. 

The Councillor is supportive and provides his rational. 

Tom is in  his third year serving of his first term on Council. He works hard and  provides a channel
for communication with constituents. Also offers information and his position on issues. It's. A mark of respect for those  he serves. 

In response I have to say on some issues, mais non, mon ami, Je suis disagree .

There is little about the United Church site that lends itself to senior living. 

At the time Seniors can be expected to be out and about, traffic is heavy on Yonge Street.  
Exhaust fumes are not good for health. Traffic lights barely provide enough time to cross.  

Amenities are few . Public green space is sparse and the site even less adequate. 

A retirement centre is the last thing likely to revitalize the core. It is not a better use of retail space. 
Seniors are not shoppers. 

The need cited  is not there . Retirement centres are probably second in growth only to the construction industry . It's a lucrative business and resources come from sale of seniors' homes.

What happens in York Region when seniors outlive their stash and York Region has to provide 
beds for the outcasts ? 

Council  is being coy about designation under the Official Plan. Completed in 2010 ,the Promenade Study ,was adopted in the Plan during the last Council term. The area is designated as a "Culture Precinct".  I'm fairly sure the "culture" referenced is not a community of elderly. 

The Planning Director has budgeted millions for fancy sidewalks,heritage lighting and street 
furniture. Build them , they will come and  shop and sit to rest from their  frenzied efforts of 
shopping in the block , wave to drivers and breathe in pollution. 
 
We've heard much about the sacrosanct Official Plan. This proposal requires a change in 
designation with  little to commend  it. Certainly no municipal interest. 

The library was built on Yonge Street twenty years ago. The library got busier the downtown did not.
Stores continued to close. 

Park Place Manor , with a huge presence, was built thirty years ago and still the downtown is moribund.

 Density Intensification  has been referenced . 

The purpose of provincial policy is to bring people on or near public transit routes to cut down on vehicular traffic and reduce urban sprawl. 

Seniors are not commuters . Crossing Yonge Street at the lights is a time challenge . 

There are no  good arguments for this proposal .

Council would do well to review the recent application for a Montessori  school in the vicinity with 
all the same details and difficulties. Thousands of hours were spent seeking ways and means to realise the project.In the end, it came to naught. The last thing mentioned were  soil tests.  

Construction is possible in most soil conditions. The question is one of  feasibility of cost and returns.

Furthermore, an Official Plan designation for high density multiple residential, is exactly what it says.
Nothing in the Plan designates a particular proponent. 

Monday, 15 May 2017

NEWFOUNDLAND DECLARES WAR ON USA

Forwarded: nothing to indicate I can't  share. I can't resist. 
President Trump was in the Oval Office when his telephone rang. 
"Hallo, President Trump, " a heavily accented voice said. "This is Archie, up 'ere at the Harp Seal Pub in Badger's Cove, Newfoundland, Canada, eh? I am callin' to tells ya dat we are officially declaring war on ya!" 

"Well Archie," Donald said, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?" 
  
"Right now," said Archie, after a moments calculation "there is myself, me cousin Harold , me next-door-neighbor Mick, and the whole dart team from the pub. That makes eight!" 

Donald paused. "I must tell you Archie that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command." 
  
"Wow," said Archie. "I'll have at call ya back!" 
Sure enough, the next day, Archie called again. " to acquire some infantry equipment! We have two combines, a bulldozer, and Harry's farm tractor." 

President Trump sighed. "I must tell you Archie, that I have 16,000 
tanks and 14,000 armoured personnel carriers. Also I've increased my army to one and a half million since we last spoke." 

"Lord above," said Archie, "I'll be getting back to ya." 

Sure enough, Archie rang again the next day.. "President Trump, the war is still on! We have managed to git ourselves airborne! We up an' modified Harrigan's ultra-light wit a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Legion have joined us as well!" 
  
Donald was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. "I must tell you Archie that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to TWO MILLION!" 
  
"Jumpins, Lord tunderin! Two million, ye say!!" said Archie, " have to   call youse back."
Sure enough, Archie called again the next day. "President Trump! I am sorry to have to tell you dat we have had to call off dis 'ere war." 

"I'm sorry to hear that" said Donald. "Why the sudden change of heart?" 
  
"Well, sir," said Archie, "we've all sat ourselves down and had a long chat over a bunch of pints, and come to realize dat dere's no way we can feed two million prisoners." 

CANADIAN CONFIDENCE CANNOT BE SHAKEN 

Senior Scholar
York University