"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

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A Lively Exchange

Nineteen comments made to the posts about the Church Street School. That's a record. By far the  majority  in favour  of re-working the agreement.

I am inclined to scrap it.

The initial rationale for management of the facility came from  a former treasurer, He  had experience with  a historical building in Cobourg.  On the  town's  main street  it was constructed  when municipalities  vied for the chance to become the Capital of Upper Canada.A hundred and fifty years ago.

Holland Landing was in the running.

Cobourg  built a Parliament building to give them an edge.

A hundred years later, when it became clear they were not going to be the Capital, there were plans to demolish the building. It had served as a very grand  town hall in the meantime. Cobourg was actually a Village. 

An elderly woman of the community  took it upon herself to  mount a battle to save the building,won and was awarded the  Canada Medal.

The annual conference of small urban municipalities was often held in Cobourg . A tour of the building was provided and  it's champion introduced.  It truly is a very fine historical artifact that never came to be.

Aurora's treasurer, for a couple of years, was involved in the restoration and operation plans for the Cobourg building.

To prevent it from becoming a sink hole for public  resources, an arms length board was appointed. Seed money was provided and reduced each year.

The objective was to make the operation self-sufficient  and separate from the political imperative.

When the consultant presented the business plan for Church Street School to  council, start-up funds of $500.000. to be reduced by $100,000, each year were recommended.  The  operation would be self-sufficient in five years .Funding  would be  $1.5 million in total.

The board would  be required to operate  as a business. They would seek sponsorships to contribute to the program.

An Ad Hoc Arts and Culture Committee  had been  appointed. Councillors Gaertner and Granger were council's representatives. The former Mayor's friend Ken Whitehurst was  a member.

Catherine Malloy,  curator had been  recently appointed by the Historical Society and served as   staff resource person to the committee.

Ms Malloy  successfully processed an application for a grant from Heritage Canada and $770,000 was received. It paid for the HVAC system and interior storm windows neccessary to  provide suitable atmospheric conditions  for the museum.

Subsequently, Ms Malloy left and accepted a  position  in  a Markham museum.

Ken Whitehurst, a committee member,  was temporarily appointed resource person to the committee with remuneration.

It's not clear who wrote the agreement  in place and now  being reviewed by the town solicitor. It's a fair bet there was no legal input and the treasurer with the experience was no longer with the town.

The  principle of  operational  self-sufficiency apparently got lost along the way.

The museum was interpreted right out the door.

And the facility has become exactly the sink hole of  public resources originally feared.

There is no justification  for that to continue.

The community's interest is not served.


Anonymous said...


Where can I get a list of all real estate - buildings and land - owned by the town?

Along with this I would like to know when acquired, original cost, present market value, annual cost for maintenance, expected life before replacement and number of people who use a given facility in a year. If any of the buildings are rented, when, to whom, for how long and annual rental revenue?

I would expect this to be at the fingertips of someone at town hall, possibly you have this among many others.


Anonymous said...

Since there seem to be two contentious issues,the
agreement and the building, would it be
simplistic to suggest that both be debated ? As long as
that group feel entitled to the building, they will actlike idiots. Can't we re-locate them now and avoid further
trouble over the museum?
Surely there are vacant places owned by the Town
that they could shape in their own interests.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to go back to the original name, the
Heritage Centre ? All the difficulties seem to stem from
divergent views of what 'culture' means, Why not remove it entirely. Stationery can be replaced and
there might even be an old sign somewhere.
Just asking.

Anonymous said...

Aurora does not NEED the cultural centre.
Aurora cannot AFFORD the cultural centre.
The cultural centre offers NOTHING that was not, is
not, or could not be offered elsewhere with better
Despite glitzy expensive promotional material and
scripted editorials ( paid by Aurora taxpayers ), the
only GOOD thing about the cultural centre is the
BUT, the cultural centre does NOT OWN that
building, not is it ENTITLED to use it.
Why should be cultural centre not move from the
building to a more suitable site and let the Museum
come home ?
Aurora does NEED the Museum.
Aurora can AFFORD the Museum.

Anonymous said...

Would a petition be of any use, Evelyn ? I'm just
a novice with the internet but I expect you know some
people with the will and wit to make a well-worded
petition go viral. Never heard of it being done but I'm
sure no Chris Watts.

Anonymous said...

Those in charge at the Cultural Centre seem to have
convinced themselves and others of the extreme
importance of them retaining both the agreement and
the building. You can expect them to used methods
that will reflect that self-righteousness if you pursue
this. It likely won't be pretty because you are threaten-
ing their reason to get up in the morning.
The fact that they are undercutting the service clubs cuts no ice here. They will be after staff and council
members and it will be without conventional rules. Such
is their mindset. Please be careful. Wounded pride is
a powerful motivator. Add a threat to easy pickings
and nasty might be a mild term for the result.

Anonymous said...

It looks as though the bulk of Aurora taxpayers don't have a word of protest. Was nothing learned over the
past few years ? Guess not. Ignorance can be bliss.

David Heard said...

If anyone wants to listen I have an exceptional idea to help us be very proud of our heritage and help people in our community and more if decided.

This town can be, and will be more.

We have made footprints in the past that step to our future being strong and full of spirit that promotes pride and empathy.

Sorry...we are not Canada's Birthday Town anymore.

We are a little community that did.

Our community was built on people helping people and somewhere in time we starting promoting individuality.

We will succeed and believe as a community.

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous at 27 November, 2011 7:53 PM

Perhaps the bulk of Aurora's tax payers do not have a desire to the continual re-hashing of perceived MorMac wrong-doings to speak up.

Anonymous said...

Where are the 19 comments?

Anonymous said...

The Cultural Centre is beginning to remind me of the
Money Pit on Oak Island. So far, no lives have been lost.
Let's try and keep it that way, please.
The only remedy I can see is if those who lost the last
election, either in person or due to a pet project that has
not found acceptance, were to just quietly back off and
leave the field to the new team. Then there would be no more 'perceived' wrong-doings.
Since co-operation and sharing seem impossible,
the entire operation should just move on, physically
but more importantly, emotionally.
The Cultural Centre has become Aurora's Money Pit.
Time to shut the sucker down.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:04 a.m.
Your ' perceived wrong-doings' are my
confirmed wrong-doings. I voted and I assume you voted. It is a little late in the day to be listing any
accomplishments from that council. You can be part
of the on-going restoration project or not.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:04 A.M.
The discussion is about fiscal responsibility. Why
would you construe that as an attack on Mormac?
Perception is in the eye of the beholder. There was no

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous - 29 November, 2011 11:19 AM

"The discussion is about fiscal responsibility. Why
would you construe that as an attack on Mormac?
Perception is in the eye of the beholder. There was no

Well, what did Anonymous - 27 November, 2011 7:53 PM - mean when he/she said "It looks as though the bulk of Aurora taxpayers don't have a word of protest. Was nothing learned over the
past few years ? Guess not. Ignorance can be bliss."

SOunds like a MorMac crack to me