"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, 30 September 2014

Guest Post

KA-NON has left a new comment on your post "Commitment ???":

Just read through the material on the Mavrinac website, and watched the video of Mr. Mascarin addressing council. Seems to me that there are a few issues colliding here.

Issue # 1 - The right of the town to purchase the land. It seems clear that the intent of the town was to establish a right of first refusal to purchase this land. And it seems that the developer understood this v-a-v the subdivision agreement. If, legally, this is trumped by the absence of this intention being included in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) between the developer and the School Board, then the blame for that probably lies equally between the developer and the Town. The developer, for not including it in the APS (motivation unknown) and the Town, for not catching it. They are going to fight that one out in court - we'll see. On the basis of what was intended in the subdivision agreement, it would seem wrong to me if the Town does not prevail.

Issue # 2 - If the town DOES prevail in the action above, (i.e. if it does manage to legally enforce its RIGHT to purchase the land at what is now a discounted price ($2+MM), should it exercise it? The answer to this question should be considered amongst Aurora's overall needs and objectives when it comes to the land it owns and the parkland it requires, including in this area. I am not a lawyer, however the fact that the developer advertised it as either a school or a park should have no bearing on what the town chooses to do with it. (Though it does seem by reading the subdivision agreement that whatever use the town comes up with for the land, it
 must be for "municipal purposes".)

Issue # 3 - The purchasers of homes in the neighbourhood were led to believe by the developer that the land would be used for either a school or a park. I agree that the home owners would have this expectation, based on the marketing material put forth by the developer. That said, if that does not 

come to pass, their primary beef is with the developer, not the town. Unless they choose to pursue a claim against the town for not adequately reviewing all of the legal documents (e.g. the APS) to ensure that the intended right of first refusal remained intact. Of course, had that happened, the Town would have had to exercise the right, and even then they would have been free to assign to any "municipal purpose". So, no guarantee of a park.

So, the question for Aurorans in general (not just those in the neighbourhood), is, "Would you like to pay $2+MM plus the legal costs to (re)secure that right for a piece of land to be used for a "municipal purpose", perhaps a park?

Posted by KA-NON to Our Town and Its Business at 30 September 2014 08:54


Because the town is in litigation  I am required  not to speak of it.

I can't pretend that isn't frustrating.

But  there are details in the public domain.

The Planning Act requires developers to provide school sites if  the need is indicated by the school board.

A municipality is entitled to require 5% dedication  of a development area for parks.

Adequate dedication  for  neighbourhood parks  was obtained in the 2B planning area .At. no time would the town have indicated  a  neighbourhood park was an option for the school site.

A site for a community park was offered at raw land price . It was recommended  by staff and refused by the Council of the day.

The public school board purchased a site from the developer for a future high school to replace
Dr. G.W.Williams High School on Dunning Avenue.

The plan went agley and investment was made instead  in the old facility.

The public board site is large enough for a community park. It was bought at raw land price. The value is now developable land price . Last market value established on  Stronach lands  sold  at auction was $1.2 million an acre.

No other  raw lands within the town's boundaries  are available for a community park.

If the public board's high school site goes on the market, it would accommodate considerable more
additional residential density than the Mavrinac  site.

If the town is in the market for a redundant school site, that's the one we can justify. It will likely take every penny we can muster.

It's complicated and yet not. But  the details are really important .

That's where frustration arises.

Things that first appear not to be simple are not even as simple as they first appear,


Anonymous said...

It is only at the discovery stage - if I have heard accurately - and the process could grind on for years. That being said, it is not the fault of Aurora taxpayers if the purchasers in the area were misled. Nor is our responsibility to remedy their problems.
We saw a tiny similar instance where a group of neighbours believed they had the right to dictate what was done with 3 aging trees in their midst. Council turned itself inside out on that one.
I do hope the lesson was learned.

Anonymous said...

This has all the makings of a protracted municipal saga. I am sure everyone can add their input into what might happen.

I think the Town will prevail if the matter is put before a judge. I believe Minto has no choice but to fight given the ultimate prize, - six acres of development land with most of the services in place - roads, sewer, water, hydro and gas.

The problem could be if the Town wins. What then? The Mavrinac folks are going to fight and demand "their" park. I am sure they will seek a remedy from the courts/OMB if the town does not play ball. As noted, this will all take time and I suspect the fight will get expensive and nasty.

Any new council could consider cutting Minto a deal. The town would offer to relinquish any rights of purchase in return for X million dollars plus costs. Minto would not be offered the land for cheap but perhaps less than market.

In this scenario, the taxpayers of Aurora would come out ahead. Mavrinac and Minto would have to duke it out to the end. It should be noted that even here there is risk to divide the town as Mavrinac and any supporter may feel the town did not represent their interests.

Anonymous said...

If the Hydro Fund did not exist ,there might be fewer ways devised to spend it. I sure don't want to blow it on an un-needed park.

Anonymous said...

These people are not going to be able to shift the burden of creating a park onto the shoulders of the town when none is in the Master Plan. Nor can they go back and try to put the onus on a former council.

Anonymous said...

You just need to look up the road to see what happened at Glenway in Newmarket. That site was about 150 acres. How many homes were purchased at a premium because they backed onto the golf course? And guess what? The Town and residents lost millions fighting that one. The Dunlap Observatory Lands in Richmond Hill had almost 190 acres. That one lasted I believe 6-7 yrs. That group ended up settling, They should have accepted the developers initial offer, because they ended up with less at the end, and spent millions for that end result. Developers and their lawyers do this for a living…They’re at the OMB and or in some sort of litigation everyday of the week. Don’t let any level of government try to convince you that they do not like developers. All levels of government love development. Why?...because it means $$$. And that’s what it's always all about.

Anonymous said...

They will not listen to you. People who Feel they have a Right will slam their heads against the wall forever. They will not check out what happened to Glenway - it does not fit their set of mind.