"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, 31 August 2012

Have I Got A Deal ...

EB This post doesn't really correspond to yours but is actually in response to a report in the Auroran. What price heritage? I wondered exactly how, other than being on the other side of the street, is the Southeast Old Aurora Heritage Conservation District different from the Northeast Aurora Heritage Conservation District. A small bedroom community with a few older properties has to be DIVIDED into heritage districts? What - like we're London or New York? Then the coin dropped when I saw the idea of tax relief being floated. "I'm Special and I live in a Special neighbourhood and as such I expect I should pay Special lower taxes than the rest of you" As if. It's time to end this insidious "Special Aurora within Aurora" nonsense. "We're all Aurorans, but some are more Auroran than others"? Sure, designated and otherwise officially recognized Heritage properties are important. They should be preserved and maintained and it is often very expensive to do so. But if you on The End My Friend
It's natural to make the connection. The fact is the last change in the Heritage Act gave municipalities authority to designate homes whether  owners liked it or not. 
In compensation for interfering with private ownership, The Act permitted mnicipalitiies to take responsibility  for maintaining the properties they  designated,  including entire neighbourhoods.
Like the traffic calming project ,most people in the  north-west quadrant  weren't paying  attention while that was happening.
Some of them knew  the financial advantage though. Most likely the people who pushed for change in the legislation. 
Even before the Heritage Act changed,Aurora lent money   to replace the  roof on  a house on Wellington Street.
That was before  blogs and I wasn't a Council member at the time. 
Sweet deal eh1 There it  was  a beautiful big. home making a huge impression of status and borrowing money  from the rest of us to fix the roof to keep the rain out.
The idea of  looking for ways to keep an old house in good condition  and steal the argument in favor of demolition, came from complaints that the unappealing  falling down Browning house on 
Yonge Street would not have had to be demolished if the owners had been  required  to maintain it properly.
I/m not even sure  who made the argument.
The result was the current notice of motion to exercise  town authority to grant loans to maintain decrepit old bachles like the Yonge Street Browning house.
Of course it means  collecting more  taxes from people living in ticky-tacky modern boxes , who may be  having  a hard time  maintaining  their own homes, to provide loans to people living in  the central  core, to keep their homes in authentic condition for another hundred years.
The Auroran had a cartoon  deriding the idea of  taking  a free ride on the train to enjoy the sights and sounds of Toronto.
The argument for preserving entire neighborhoods relies on attracting tourism to the town. 
The cartoon could just as easily have  focused on  the likelihood of hordes of  touristos invading  Aurora by train  from Toronto to see streets and houses  they could see anywhere else,  maintained in pristine condition , at the expense  of people in humble abodes  living on canned tina to have enough money left  to pay the taxes.

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