When Council returned after summer recess in September, several resolutions were passed.
Staff were directed to review the traffic calming plan in the North-East Quadrant.Original estimate for the plan was $100.000, then refined to $80,000. In 2007,we actually spent $211,000,plus $25,000 for consultant fees, created chaos for the neighbourhood and made the town a laughing stock.
A second resolution directed a review of the town's sign bylaw. A business can apply for a variance to the bylaw. Pay a fee for the process. Staff can do the work necessary, recommend the variance and council can decide after sitting at the council table trying to visualize which way is up or down, east or west and reject the staff recommendation.
The business owner doesn't get his application fee back. But he can pay another fee to appeal the decision, get a hearing and likely have to listen to a Councillor cite rectitude of the Bylaw.
A third resolution directed a review of fees charged for adaptive re-use of part of small, old, erstwhile residential buildings.. Fees are approximately $20,000. The re-use is so tightly defined,the space cannot be used for any other purpose. The building is unsellable without another $20,000 fee being paid and even then, the process is not adaptable.
A fourth resolution directed staff to create terms of reference for a curator with credentials to organise a museum and provide leadership and guidance to volunteers with an interest in the town's heritage.
A fifth was to review the efficacy of storm water ponds. Residents and business with water meters pay a surcharge on water bills for maintenance of storm water ponds. We know the theory about how the improve the quality of water flowing from urban areas to Lake Simcoe . We would like to know the theory is correct and understand the maintenance factor.
In response to the last resolution, staff invited an official from South Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority to make a presentation to Council. He said Aurora has more storm water ponds than anyone. and they make an infinitesimal difference to the quality of water in Lake Simcoe .Considering the size of the lake, the number of municipalities on its shores, thousands of acres of farm land surrounding it, cottages with septic tanks,boats on the surface with zebra mussels clinging to their hulls, the information about storm water ponds was hardly surprising.
In response to the second resolution ,chaos in the heritage neighbourhood due to traffic calming, a recommendation came forward to pay the consultant $4,700 to review the plan. It was thought since he designed it, he would be impartial.
The recommendation was not accepted. Staff were directed to carry out the review ..
We have heard nothing since.
Nor on any of the other resolutions.
The year ended.The New year has begun.
Nothing. Nil. Nada. Zilch and Zero.
It's like the Council of Aurora has an ephemeral quality. We don't seem to fit into anybody's business plan. Residents responded with enthusiasm to initiatives brought to the front burner. But nothing happened.
We hear about Customer Service and the importance of clients and stakeholders.
We wonder who they are. They don't appear to be people suffering the intolerable inconvenience of a traffic calming plan that cost a cool quarter of a million dollars to implement.
Business with a need for signage to promote trade so they can employ people and pay taxes don't seem to make the list.
Property owners with a vision for adaptive re-use of heritage properties don't cut the mustard.
Water meter users who pay a surcharge for maintenance of ponds that don't appear to get any maintainance and don't count for much in the greater scheme of things anyway, they pay bills for water they use and more bsides, but does that make them clients to be served ? or just a golden fleece to be fleeced ?
I think the latter.