"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, 27 April 2012

From The Sublime To The Ridiculous

I made a mis-statement at a meeting on Wednesday.. I said, we have three golf courses in Aurora.

We actually have six .When Westhill is built on either side of Leslie  there  will be seven.

Aurora Highlands and Westview have eighteen holes plus nine.That represents, in area,  three golf courses.

St Andrews on St John's Side Road is  fourth , Magna is fifth and Beacon Hall sixth.

That's a large chunk of  geography out of a small urban node..

We have three woodlots in public ownership. Sheppard  Bush.  Jack Woods  bush  on Vandorf  Sideroad and  Case woodlot on HendersonDrive.

 We  acquired full ownership of Case woodlot last year with a purchase of $750,000. that takes us out to Bathurst Street .

Trilliums will soon be in bloom and visible from the road.

The  McLeod woodlot is in  ownership of the Oak Ridges Moraine Trust. In a couple of years it will be ours to use. Right now, we are only shelling out  for  maintenance.

High Tor Farm  on Bathurst Street is owned by  Heritage Ontario and for all intents and purposes sits idle and unmaintained for the benefit of immediate neighbours.

The  Ontario Hospital farm  is also  idle.Isn't farmed. Pays no taxes. We need the space bu we can't use it. .

For the purpose of  this post, golf courses are the subject.

A premium  is paid for a residential lot backing on to a golf course.  .
For six months of the year, a course is  simply a beautiful rolling vista of peace and quiet.

Undeveloped as they are, free of the combustible engine,   no negative contribution whatsoever emanates to our environment.

The production, care and maintenance of green manicured grass is the  important element. All effort is devoted to the task.

The tiny white ball,must have premium conditions  to complicate complete  mastery of the game

Otherwise, there would be no challenge. There would just be a parade of people from morning  until  night walking or in carts, hitting  the  little hard ball with sticks from hereto there and following it  to wherever it happens to fall.

Grass is  the essence of the industry. To accomplish the desired objective, certain works must be accomplished. Shade must be controlled. Grass does not do well in shade.

Shade bespeaks trees. Trees must be trimmed, sometimes removed completely and replaced by smaller trees and vegetation.It's a feature of the industry.

But Oh La!

 It cannot be allowed. Homeowners who bought homes abutting golf courses and paid a premium for the advantage are deeply offended by loss of trees in their vista.

A stronger Bylaw to prohibit the "injury and destruction" of trees is demanded and after much labour, discussion and contemplation,it has been  provided.

But it's not enough. Along comes our Aurora  Gladiator Marge Delahunte in the person of Susan  Walmer to rally all notable environmentalists, to lecture and harangue lowly "Rube" Councillors as to their duties and stewardship of the environment.

Not only should golf courses  not have liberty to attend to their industry, but no individual in the community should be permitted to remove a tree more than three inches in girth without obtaining a permit.

Not even a dead tree should be removed without first being examined by an expert, hired by the town,  to determine  the reason why leaves have disappeared , branches are bare and breaking off and bark is peeling and littering the ground around.

Town staff must be on hand with probes and calipers to determine the obvious. The tree is either less than three inches in girth  or    after fifteen years  of struggle to stay alive, and dying in full view inch by inch, has at last  given up the ghost,  is  but a  sad skeleton of its former glory  and must be cut down and summarily removed.

Providing of course, the owner can find the hundreds, if not thousands  of dollars necessary for the task, after paying the town as much  for the benefit of  a useless and redundant diagnosis.

Well ..you know...  golf courses are well equipped to fight their own battles. No doubt, they have friends in high places in favorable positions to understand their needs and intervene if need be.

But I will be damned, if I  listen to some shell of a kernel who demands  that a dead as a door knob tree needs to be confirmed by an expert at my expense before it can be removed, also at my expense.

That Marge Delahunte character, without the wit, and nothing else but an abundance of  political calculation, can  take a hike as well.         


Anonymous said...

Marge Delahunty is right!(Without the wit for sure)Thank you for my morning giggle!

Anonymous said...

I think the Rube Councillors have just about had it with the special interest groups demanding their time, meetings and money. They appear to be stiffening their collective spine which would be good for Aurora.

Anonymous said...

Query: If Susan Walmer and Susan Morton-Leonard are in the same room, do they set off sparks or do they neutralize each other?

Anonymous said...

While I agree that Walmer (et al) is a nut, your condescending tone towards those that golf in this post is something that I must take offence.

Technically, the Highgate Gate course (formally Aurora Highlands) has 18 holes. Westview is 27. St Andrews Valley, Magna and Beacon Hall each have 18. That is only 5 courses!

We are lucky to live in an area with so much golf to choose from. These courses employ local people (during the summer most are students). They encourage non-locals to travel to the area to play them. Outside of Aurora proper, there are many more courses (King's Riding, Bloomington Downs, Emerald Hills, St Andrews East, Diamondback, etc). It was sad to see Glenway in Newmarket close up shop but the power of the almighty dollar made that decision.

Like it or not, this is a big industry and in our area a big deal. The owners of these courses are not interested in making the courses devoid of trees. Courses must change. Trees are removed, trees are planted, things happen.

Just be lucky that there are no owners that would like to make their course look like the stark St Andrews in Scotland. There would be no trees.

You don't have to like the sport, but please don't put down those that do. We are all different.

Anonymous said...

The Aurora Gladiator should be immortalized in an acrylic block and placed under a shady walnut tree, where in mid to late summer her acrylic container would bang joyously as the nuts hit it on their way to the ground and the waiting squirrels.

Anonymous said...

11:47 AM I had thought that Glenway in Newmarket was also a fitness place or am I confusing it with some other place? It should not have closed down based on just the golfers.
PS I have been to several of the golf courses in Scotland - the trees there are blasted and lovely, survivors. You don't go on the golf course to examine the trees. Those that are there tolerate the golfers.

KA-NON said...

11:47 you have read Evelyn's post completely backwards. She is defending the right of the golf courses to grow the most necessary asset that a golf course must have - grass - and she is also making the case that they are fully qualified to carry out responsible tree pruning, using the case of a dead tree as an absurd example of government gone wild, if the elites get their way.

How in the world did you read it any other way? Was the post's assumption of the voice of the elite too confusing for you?

Anonymous said...

Glenway was golf, fitness and raquet sports. The fitness side of things shut down last year. The golf course shut down in October. The tennis bubble is still there but run by a Toronto company - no defined plans as yet.

It was closed down because the owners want to develop the property for residential (probably high density). There have been many rumours of what will happen from nothing to full-blown development. What is clear is that Glenway clubhouse will be razed soon. They sold off all of the items inside back in the fall - from napkins and table cloths to appliances, exercise equipment and golf course maintenance equipment. The bar from the restaurant was acquired by the curling club.

I think the poster at 11:47 took exception to comments in the original post like "The tiny white ball,must have premium conditions to complicate complete mastery of the game"

Anonymous said...

The problem when people buy a property overlooking a golf course is that they do not acquire the land with their view. It is owned by the golf course and subject to economic conditions as well as requiring regular servicing all summer and sometimes tree culling in the winter. It is quite clear in the residential plans. They can not suddenly claim possession. This reminds me of people who move into a rural area and then demand that the roads be paved and provided with sidewalks. Ain't going to happen.

Anonymous said...

KA-NON, don't many people equate the game of golf with "the elites"? You know, the affluent, country club set that are patrons of - wait for it - 'culture'. Shock horror!

Anonymous said...

I remember one stormy summer night at Gleneagles with one kid sick. A Doctor was summoned and appeared wet & exhausted. He opened his magic medical bag and pulled out a light bulb on an extension cord and plugged it in to examine the small throat. Clearly he was familiar with the dark rooms and corridors. Of golfers there were none but the healthy family members had some wild runs along the beach and across the dunes. Great weather for viewing castles and ruins but, Man, it must be tough to keep folk warm and dry.

Tim the Enchanter said...

The religious fervour of the eniro-nuts can be quite comical as long as government officials don't make the mistake of taking it all seriously.

Kind of like when the teams of god-botherers come to your door want- ing to enlighten you as to the impending doom posed by INSERT CURRENT DEVIL'S THREAT TO HUMANITY HERE.

You can buy in and sign up or you can politely, or not so politely, send them on their way.
Refusal on your part matters not because they consider them-selves "chosen" anyway and thus will meet any opposition with a blissful smile.

Although they are by-and-large harmless the enviro-zealots can be annoying because even though they're all "believers",some believe to a greater degree than others.

A rule applying to trees 3 inches and larger will one day be denounced as blasphemy. Trees 2 inches and larger will be the new rule and so on until pulling weeds and cutting grass will be added to the growing list of "sins" against the environment.
Lopping the head off a dandelion will get you an afternoon in the public stocks while schoolchildren pelt you with all manner of certified-organic material.

Like religion, this is a game you cannot win.
Town council would be well-advised not to play.
And besides, are we really worried that there's going to be a neighbourhood initiative to start up a sawmill?

Anonymous said...

We have the owl that our neighbours at Beacon Hall bitched about losing - like,she/ he moved a few condos down and looks good. No photos. None of the coyotes either. Audubon thinks we're OK - so does Mr/Mrs Owl.

Anonymous said...

The comments here on golf and on Aurora Citizen's post about the Lawn Bowling Club have combined to make my week most memorable and enjoyable.

It would be nice to see this repeated on a weekly basis.