"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

Monday, 25 August 2014

Another Pesky Faustian Deal

Greetings Mayor Dawe and Aurora Council,

I believe it was on April 8th, 2014 that Mr. Downey told the Council he would produce in one month a revised Stuart Burnett Park RFP for the construction of a covered tennis facility. In early summer, I learned that Mr. Downey would produce report document which would contain recommendations to Council on how to proceed with creating a revised RFP. Also, there was mention of gaining input from the tennis community on what specifications should be included in the RFP. The AuroraCommunity Tennis Club (ACTC) was and is eager to provide input and advice on the design of the new RFP.

With the published story in yesterday's Aurora which detailed the closing of the Timberlane Athletic Club, I'm reminded that it is now almost 6 months since Mr. Downey promised a revised RFP (or Report). Our ACTC members are asking me about the status of the Stuart Burnett Park site and many of our members are hoping to play winter tennis at this new facility.    

I realize the election is consuming a lot of the Council's attention (and staff?) however the tennis community is eager participate in contributing to the revision of the RFP and having this project move at a much faster pace. Is there a reason for a delay in designing the RFP that we are not aware of? If so, an explanation would be appreciated. I would like to inform our membership and the broader tennis community in York Region about the timeline for completing the RFP and approximately when we might see construction of this much needed facility.  

Brent MacKinnon
President, Aurora Community Tennis Club


I thought I would share the correspondence with you rather than just tell you about it . I  wonder if your reaction will be the same as mine. 

Mr McKinnon refers to a commitment of the Director of  Recreation on April 8th  to reproduce an RFP for a covered tennis facility. Therein lies the puzzlement.

The Director   in fact  had recommended an award for a  contract to provide a covered tennis facility  in Stewart  Burnett Park on April 8th. 

The site was not useable for anything else because of proximity to the baseball backstop. Covered by a dome it was  the perfect placement for. indoor tennis. Wouldn't cost the taxpayers a dime. And tennis  aficionados would have what they wanted. 

Tennis players were in the Council Chamber when the recommendation was made.  They were not recognizable as such. Not carrying rackets or anything like that. It only  became apparent when they left after Council's decision not to award the contract and give the Director different direction.

It seems the Tennis Club didn't just want a covered facility. They want the town to provide a  permanent structure, with foundations and all to replace Timberline private tennis club.

A Bubble with all amenities ,provided by a private contractor  was not what  they had in mind .They are prepared , as noted by Mr.Mckinnon to sit down with the Director and give precise instructions
About what will suit their purpose.

 imminence of the election is noted in Mr Mckinnon's  letter.

Now we know the candidates for the Mayor's office. We know Challenger I takes proprietary interest in tennis . I think he plays. He supported the last idea of using hydr reserve funds to build a unique facility  in Fleury Park flood plain.

The building design  would allow sides to  be raised and flood waters to rush on by and convince the Conservation Authority that building in a flood plain was perfectly acceptable.

On April 8th , in more or less typical fashion, after all the man hours and expense  of preparing specs, calling for RFPs , analyzing  and adjudicating proposals, deciding on the best and recommending to Council as directed by  Council  the Contract was not awarded . A Council  majority, in their collective wisdom, bulldozed the lot and re-directed the director to pick himself up, dust himself off, and start all over again.

Thence Mr.McKinnon's inquiry.

Toronto City Council is having their last meeting today. According to the media,it could take five days to get all outstanding items completed before the deadline . Before the lame duck  Council is unable to decide on matters of substance .

Of course ye ken, we have been meeting behind closed doors to discuss  an acquisition of property.
A motion with a whole bunch of whereases  was presented by Councillor Abel to enquire  about availability of  the Queens's York Armouries  hundred year old drill shed in the town park that QYR
decided don't suit their purposes so we turfed out our parks department to make room for them on a property that  a  space needs consultant  we paid  said we should keep for our own purposes.

So now we are meeting behind closed doors again,ironically on the anniversary of that deal to talk about paying the blighters  for land they have had use of for a hundred years, also on an anniversary,
got for nothing from the town all those years ago.

With patriotic fervour, Aurora  made the land available for training of men to fight  and die for their country.And they did fight and died in two wars and since.

Now without uttering a word  about it in the open we are discussing a price to get it back. 

At staff   level of  course. 

Your Council has no role to play except to say.  ,,, yes sir,yes sir, three bags full sir.


Anonymous said...

For you information Evelyn,

In the past you have stated that you have gone by the former Hydro building and notice no activity.

In have had opportunity in the last week to go by there on a couple of occasions (Tuesday evening, Saturday for example). In both cases the parking lot had a number of cars in it, and the roler door was open to see activity going on.

I suggest that you have been unlucky when you go by, and perhaps now that summer Concentrations are over, the regiment has come back to base.

Anonymous said...

I never could figure out what happened with the proposed tennis bubble - it was to cost the town nothing & could have been done this year in time for the over-lap with Timberlane. Staff supported it & it looked like a Go until Cllr Gallo announced that it might be unsightly. [ there are bubbles in other towns - they look like bubbles, period ]. Then suggestions were made about including other sports groups . There was a brief skirmish at the table during which the bubble was shelved.
Another good idea that got lost.
The good news is that Timberlane is not shutting down now - they have more time.

Anonymous said...

I do like that the man speaks of this seemingly large group. The outside courts at Timberlane have not been cost sufficient for several years. In their good years those courts were occupied all day and into the night under lights, There were packed tennis tournaments held there and the summer camp group worked each morning.
This year, just a smattering of kids and the odd quartet of adults. This despite the fact the the courts must be maintained constantly and require qualified ground people.
There is much more activity around the little swimming pool.

Anonymous said...

The drill shed and land should be conveyed to the Town of Aurora for the ceremonial sum of one dollar.

Anonymous said...

What he seems to be saying is that the matter was soooooo important that he forgot about it for 6 months until he read the paper. And that while they do not use the existing facility enough to know what is going on there, Aurora should build them another one so that people can come from across the Region.

Anonymous said...

A member at Timberlane, eh, 11:08? You must be one of the 'elites' we keep hearing about.

Anonymous said...

11:18. One dollar is too much. We then have to maintain the thing. Unless the Rangers want to pick it up and move it. Do we really want that expense? Ah heck...why not? It's only money...just tack it on the taxes and debt that we have.

Anonymous said...

In real Canadian tennis, 2 Canadian women lost in the first round of the US Open. I think they might have gotten 3-4 points between the two of them.

Anonymous said...

The tennis community had a good deal with the bubble - they blew it.

Anonymous said...

The Banner is " researching " the tennis people's situation - this consists of asking members of the club to contact their reporter.
We can wait with bated breath for the article to appear.
Sigh !

Anonymous said...

So the perception that tennis people are elitest and are snobs has been raised here.

So, if you are a member of a tennis club, golf club, curling club, lawn bowling club or a patron of the culture centre or a supporter of the QyR Association... you are a snob and elitest. You probably would like it if they moved from Aurora entirely.

I must ask... what do the rest of Auroran's do with their time? This is really a sad bunch of people.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, 16:10, I think reverse-snobbery is more than just a hobby.