"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, 26 September 2014


I have to do the thing at Rogers today. It's two minutes not ten. I have to organize my thoughts. It might as well be here.

I was Mayor for four years. In my third and fourth term of office the economy had tanked with an oil crisis. The town could only issue 13 more building permits. The tertiary sewage treatment plant was at capacity.

In my four years at the helm, library space was tripled.

A new public works facility was built.

New administration offices were completed in partnership with the York Region Board of Education. We replaced the biggest blight on the landscape with a beautiful public building with no land costs.

A downtown BIA was formed.

A parking lot on the west side was designed and constructed.

Heritage light standards were installed.

Flower boxes, hanging baskets and heritage style benches were placed.

The Seniors Club got their first dedicated space in the Church Street School.

A museum was created.

A curator was hired who doubled as a heritage researcher.

The first Local Architectural Advisory Committee in Ontario was created and serious heritage research undertaken.

We borrowed money and bought Jack Wood's farm to develop the first showcase industrial park.

Little theatre became a reality on Henderson Drive. We obtained ownership of a small square box of a factory building using an LI.P. grant of $21,000 and hundreds of hours of free labour and the first play "Charlie's Aunt"was staged and the dream of every drama lover in Aurora was realized.

We created little green spaces on property we owned on Yonge Street.

Bought a burnt- out site mid block and created access to the parking lot recently constructed.

Aurora was on the move. We recognized opportunities and sprang into action.

When I left the Mayor's office, people said I had moved too far, too fast and they hadn't had time to catch up.

Whatever.... I had the opportunity to make a difference and I used it for the betterment of the community.

I think that's what elected office is about.

The present Council had that same priority.  Unfortunately we wasted time chasing after ideas
presented from without rather than within. They were mostly about separating the town from the leg Hydro Reserve Legacy.

Also garbage from the previous term remained, which was all about spending millions on legal fees to wreak vengeance on the former Mayor's imaginary enemies.

For two full terms, a decision has been pending on redundant public buildings on Library Square.

A major site in the town centre with tremendous potential for creating a beating heart within the core.

The site is there. The funds are there. One four year term of office is enough to start and complete an
asset to the community the equal of Aurora Hydro.

I picture a building open from nine in the morning into the evening, serving every age group.

Studio space on several floors to accommodate music, dance, acting, writing, computer/coffee shop, art, chess, bridge. The list goes on.

A place where non-academic students slipped through the cracks in the education system might have a second chance to follow a dream and achieve excellence.

The site is available. Funds are in the bank earning minimal interest. Four years is long enough to start and complete a project that could make a difference in the lives of Aurorans for years to come.

It could also, all by itself, be a mighty stimulant to the down-town business core.

Build it....they will come.


Anonymous said...

Go forth & conquer.
The 2 minutes sounds a lot more practical for Rogers, a cinch for you.

Anonymous said...

Comparing then and now is like contrasting Winston Churchill with David Cameron or Franklin Roosevelt with Barack Obama or William Davis with Kathleen Wynne.

The Ontario government has this week spent some $400million on an empty office building (M&RS) and the PanAm games while simultaneously saying that deep cuts would have to be made to set our economy on the right track.

Is our local MPP an active and influential participant in all of this? Thought he was just about GO.

Anonymous said...

Any candidate talking about visions and empowerment goes off my list. I want to hear about costing dreams before we try to create them.

Anonymous said...

Well councillor, this mayor is going to trump your term - $27M for a public works garage. And not only that, we are contracting more and more of the works functions.

When re-elected tag team with some of the newbies, forget about core town business and dream-up a whopper. Perhaps only then will our mayor say wait a minute, the scheme is too expensive. You can reply that it can be funded without costing the taxpayers a dime!

Anonymous said...

12:39-Active?, Influential? That's funny. I'll be nice and call him a participant. Ontario gave this party a majority government. They can do whatever they please for 4 yrs.