"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

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Don't hold your breath

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "About grants ,user fees, policies and waivers":

I like the " Forest " area being touted to purchasers without mentioning the wheeling & dealing going on to have the entire thing declared off-limits to those living there. 

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 18 August 2014 14:

I have a story to tell  about the woodlot referred to above but first something else occurred to me about user fees.

They are set by bylaw. So...there can't be a waiver without. an  amendment to the
bylaw. We have  never ever processed an amendment to the use fee bylaw to provide a waiver to the fee.

Now....if  user  fees were adopted as a policy, that could  be ignored. In fact ,if  Councillors  are unaware of the policy, there is no requirement to inform them or follow the policy

In the last term, there was a policy prohibiting elected members from retaining  and instructing legal counsel  but it happened anyway.This Council adopted a new policy without mention of the fact the policy already existed.

A couple of months ago there was an e-mail to Councilors about cash being paid  in lieu of
vacation  not  taken. The vacation policy  allows vacation to be carried forward a year but not
payment of cash in lieu. It happened anyway.  The CAO  responded to Council that  he had approved it.

Now back to the woodlot.

There's the Oak Ridges  Moraine Act. It's provincial legislation. A  town planner received training about how to interpret the Act.

We have the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation and the  Oak  Ridges  Moraine Trust and I have never been sure why.  We no longer  have the specially trained planner . He has been re-assigned  as Special
Program Manager in the CAO's office.

The McLeod woodlot was legally transferred to the Oak  Ridges Moraine Trust. It's a process
whereby a land owner can obtain the value of a property from government in the form of tax relief.You have to be loaded to be in a tax bracket sufficient to be liable for that level of tax.

A  condition  of the transfer was no public access  allowed for  ten years. It's understood  all trees of value were sold and removed before the transfer.

As something or other in the Moraine Trust, Susan Walmer  became officially in charge of the property. Not sure of that's a paid position or volunteer.Ms Walmer was a  volunteer member of the Environmental Advisory Committee in the last term.

Also the former Mayor's campaign manager.

In the last term, at the request of the trust ,the  town signed a maintenance agreement for the property. We don't own it, have no access to it and no authority to use it. But somehow or others it was deemed appropriate that we should be  financial  responsibility for its maintenance.

In July, after a lengthy absence, Ms. Walmer delegated to Council to inform the town of a  problem. People are dumping litter in the area.

The property is fenced on three sides. Ms Walmer wants  the  fourth side fenced for complete security and  enclosure.

Oak Ridges Trust has not yet constructed access or paths in the forest that would encourage  public use when the ban expires.

The delegate gave no indication of when that might be.

The developer is not wrong about there being access to a forest. It just looks like Ms Walmer does not intend that to be any time soon.


Anonymous said...

"As something or other in the Moraine Trust, Susan Walmer became officially in charge of the property. Not sure of that's a paid position or volunteer.Ms Walmer was a volunteer member of the Environmental Advisory Committee in the last term.

Also the former Mayor's campaign manager."

You forgot to mention that she was a royal pain in the ass for those in the southwest part of Aurora for years.

Anonymous said...

The way to get people to appreciate natural forested areas is to allow them access. It can be controlled - the Case Wood Lot bustles with people & dogs all day - all ages, shapes & sizes.
I heard the proposal to fully fence the new area & flinched. Over time that is what happened with the High Tor land. The houses gradually infilled most access spots & only those with adjacent property could get in because they put in little back gates for themselves.

Anonymous said...

The Boots and Heart event in Clarington proves that business, entertainment and people can use the Oak Ridges Morraine in harmony with their surroundings. There have been only a couple of complaints to the OMB and they were dismissed. I believe the objections were about possible dust in the air or grease spills from a local site used for parking some of the hundreds of vehicles.
The area makes a bundle with donations to schools and local organizations as well as jobs that last for weeks before and after the event. It is now the largest event of its kind in Canada - after just a few years. All those managing the program are local. The idea was from residents themselves.

Anonymous said...

I thought she was just a pain in the butt in my part of Aurora. And I do not live in the s-w section. I had no idea so many were impacted.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that there are too many rules and by-laws that were created by idiots who had no idea what they were doing, and having done it there is a great big question as to who is going to enforce them and how?

Things are becoming increasingly complicated, but fewer are competent when it comes to understanding and implementing.

I am sick and tired of volunteers who make massive grabs for the right to control something, a something that is usually quite small and unimportant.

But they can give themselves big titles and walk about threatening people who do not pay attention to the rules. Why is the Farmers' Market regularly in the news?

We should scrap all the existing rules and by-laws one by one as they are replaced simultaneously by those that are meaningful, relevant and understandable.

It could well be, in the process we would reduce the impediments to our lives while at the same time ridding ourselves of human impediments whose only raison d'ĂȘtre is the title they feel is a birthright.

Let's clean house in a practical manner and leave all the visionaries in some swamp counting their fingers and toes to make sure they have the number right.

Anonymous said...

12:59- Not just the southwest part.

Christopher Watts said...

I won't disagree with the positive economic impact the Boots&Hearts festival provides, it is outlined in this study here:

That said I'm not convinced that the event proves "that business, entertainment and people can use the Oak Ridges Morraine in harmony with their surroundings".

Garbage at this year's festival was a huge issue, even more so than last year and an issue one raised by local farmers at a council meeting prior to the event:


The whole thing may be moot as there are now rumors that the festival is pulling up stakes:http://marvenwhidden.wordpress.com/tag/boots-and-hearts/

From a supplier to this event I'm hearing the location is Casino Rama.

As of last week Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster confirmed there was a meeting between the municipality and organizers of Boots & Hearts Music Festival and at this time no decision has been made on the location for next year.

More details can be found on this facebook page:

Anonymous said...

I noticed that the Town mows the lawn at the Hydro building as well. Who pays for that maintenance?

Anonymous said...

No one is going to impose their petty rules on Mr Stronach's project. It will simply get done while we fuss about red herring like " our salt-ladden snow " and " heritage trees " bereft in a resident's backyard.

Anonymous said...

It would be a shame for them to lose that event because the organizers tried so very hard. Security was tight & there were medical people on site at all times. We turned the teen-agers loose. Very few citations for infractions on the roads despite the heavy traffic. But I did see the camp-sites after the event & marvelled that there had not been more injuries from cans & bottles. It was amazing that so many people got together & just enjoyed the music.

Anonymous said...

Before she was a PITA for Aurora she was on the Parents' Council for Highview PS. Her letters to all of the other parents was the beginning of the PITA that was then and would become.

I had a conversation with the school administration at the time about her. They had the same impression as I.

Anonymous said...


That is part of the "secret" deal.

Anonymous said...

I figure the town also does the grass at the CoC. Not sure what you mean by secrecy though.

Anonymous said...

We pay for all the maintenance at that CoC building. We got screwed on that deal, that’s already been established. The Hydro building is another matter. The Rangers have leased the building. You would think that they should be responsible for maintaining it considering the deal I’m sure they got on it. Or did we get screwed on that one too?

Anonymous said...

"secret" is a reference to the perception that the "former" and her entourage made a "secret" deal with DND.