"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

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Think About It

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Councillors Do Have A Function":

The Armory is sitting on top contaminated ground?? That we even spent 1/2 a million to buy this property that know one would ever buy, then find out that the soil and ground water is contaminated is just pathetic. So happy to hear once again how our money is so well spent, and how our professional, experienced Town staff is so on the ball.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 30 January 2015 at 16:01


For the nominal fee of  $1.00 the  Armoury site was transferred to Queen Victoria for a specific purpose which is  no more.

Half a million dollars to have it returned  after over a hundred years of use free gratis was obscene
in my view.

Now it is understood A Federal List has  the property with contaminated soil and ground water.

Well  just wait a perishing minute.

We know about asbestos in the building. The musty smell indicates  the possibility of mould.

But soil contamination?  Ground water contamination ?

The building has minimal soil around it and no  obvious ground water .The town park is not a blithering swamp.

Could the federal government know about ground  and soil  and water contamination the town doesn't?

Could that be a secret the country's  defence depends upon.?

Was M.P.Lois Brown holding out on the Town when she handed over a key that was already ours
by right of  over-priced purchase

I think we should withhold  judgement  until we have information that makes more sense.

Modern Day Politics and the Game of Monopoly

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Point Is Definitely Worth Repeating":

22:09- In politics, responsibility = Finger pointing. 

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 31 January 2015 at 07:55


A facile  and shallow observation . Particularly apt for modern politics.

Laat night, I drove east on Wellington  past the station and North on Industrial  Parkway. Traffic was stopped  because a train was in the station. Cars were exiting onto Wellington from every direction.A  continual stream turned north on the Parkway.

A study would be undertaken at different times, on different days of the week.,The decision would still be the Region's to make.  But at first glance, it appears  to this layman's eyes relieving congestion at Yonge and Wellington  by directing  traffic to Wellington  and Industrial Parkway will simply be re-directing the problem.

I once had the idea the town should request the train station be moved out of town. Like in East Gwillimbury.

Since then we've seen Ross Street closed, buildings demolished, assessment lost and a  massive parking garage built.  Every available space in town , including Temperance  Street parking lot is occupied throughout the day by commuters cars parked free and undisturbed.

Aurora is certainly open for business. GO transit business. From all parts north south east and west.
Come ye ,come all.

Road widening at Aurora taxpayers' expense  to accommodate Go traffic hardly seems logical.

But what's another consultant study here and there. At average cost between $65 and $85,000.

Just toss them into the budget bucket list .

Forthat a matter if elected members are not concerned about increasing a 6% plus increase  in taxation, why should the administration?

Friday, 30 January 2015

The Point Is Definitely Worth Repeating

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Councillors Do Have A Function":

The Hoover dam, a large and complex engineering feat on a grand scale, was completed ahead of schedule. There were financial penalties if the work was not completed on time. It was constructed in the 1930's.

Today we have this nonsense on the leisure complex. The contractor found mold, roof now needs more support and the completion date is guesswork. The mayor and council have to determine who is responsible among the staff persons and departments and take action to prevent a recurrence.
The problem I see is most of the council members are incapable of taking appropriate action because they have to ask staff what action needs to be taken. They could spend months and months trying to make sense of staff reports.

Now I understand we are going to attempt to build a works garage on a difficult site with a flower garden on the roof.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 29 January 2015 at 15:11


If I have to, as most  know, I will keep hammering the point until the nail grabs.
Council has full authority and complete responsibility for all decisions made.

Yet  quotes on the bad news of five months delay in completion and $600,000 additional cost were  from new Councillors.Nary  a word attributed to the Mayor or his trusty Deputy or any other re-elected Councillor except for Councillor Thompson.

Councillor Thompson!s comment was not enlightening.

During the last term, Mayor Dawe was content to align himself with the administration.Council could have changed that but they opted not .

Safety in numbers I guess. Avoidance of "micro-managing" as good an excuse as any.
A  memorable quote comes to mind. "What do you expect us to do......storm  the walls of the Bastille"

Mais non,  mon ami ...what I expect when a twenty- six year employee in a modest job has her job slid right out from under her is a satisfactory explanation. But once again, I was  the only one

With Mayor Dawe, Council was never in charge. Nor did he so choose .

I have received a call urging me to go see what's happening on the site of the J.O.C

We read that staff are directed to study widening Industrial Parkway to four lanes to deal with, among other things, problems of traffic to be generated by the centre . It is situated on an extreme bend in a road designed  as a Bypass for  through traffic.

Other than letting you know to go see for yourself, there's not much else to be done now.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Councillors Do Have A Function

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "There Is Heirarchy":

The Mayor of Calgary is into his second term. If this drinking is a recent thing, I think that he has the "experience" that you beleive he needs.

Staff are accountable to council however if you cannot allow them to do their jobs without watching over their shoulders, why have them?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 29 January 2015 at 08:43


In the term before last , a  staff re-organization was recommended without direction from Council.

Responsibility for Human Resources was transferred to Chief Financial Officer. 

Maintenance  of Facilities was transferred to Director of Environment and Infrastructure from  Director of Leisure Services .

Bylaw Enforcement  and eventually Customer Service was transferred to Chief Building Official . from Director of Administrative Services .

Communications were transferred to the Chief Administrative Officer from Director of  Administrative  Services 

Directors with new authority were not hired with credentials for the new responsibility.

No problems observed or documented indicated necessary change.

I found no reason to support the re-organization.
Nothing commended it to me.
It was another of those notorious eight-to-one votes.

In  a subsequent audit, the auditor noted  problems possibly due to the additional responsibility.

Nothing intervened to persuade me my initial judgement was wrong.

Instead occurrences  and complaints from the public encouraged me to believe I was bang on.

Three separate dates for completion of the Aurora  Family Leisure Complex project and the massive over-run on budget is a prime example.

It cannot be swept under the rug.

For a Councillor to fulfil his/her job does not call for taking over staff responsibility.

It calls for vigilance, judgement and carrying out a Councillor's  function.

Not So Amazing

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "There Is Heirarchy":

It is amazing that the Council is letting large important matters like that cost up-grade on the Leisure centre go without a whimper while touting left-hand turn restrictions on Yonge which will be decided by the Region.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 29 January 2015 at 10:59


That the Region will make the decision about left-hand turns at the Wellington-Yonge intersection
is not at all amazing .

Wellingtom Street and Yonge Street are Regional roads. Movement of traffic on both roads is a Regional responsibility.

The Region has traffic engineers on the payroll. As does Auurora.

Unlike planning, engineering is a science. One must assume logic therefore in determining where  and where not to permit a left-hand turn off and on to a road.

However, inconsistency in Regional policy has been noted.

The developer of the retail strip at the north-west corner of Bayview wanted a left-hand turn within feet of  the Bayview-Wellington signalized intersection .

The Region gave permission.

On that occasion, the developer attended and informed Aurora Council the Region  would allow it. They had had a meeting with the Regional Engineering Commissioner.

I had  heard  Regional staff bend over backwards to accommodate Regional Councillors.

I don't imagine anything has changed with a new Chairman.

Why would it?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

There Is Heirarchy

I've made the point before. Obviously not strongly enough.

Every decision is Council's responsibility. There  is no point beyond.

It is the reason for being and why a Council numbers nine.

It is not about workload . It is everything about keeping council honest and accountable.

An elected council is not a team. It is not a congenial social circle complete with hangers-on.

It is anything but that.

The City of Calgary was in the news last week. Councillors  have been drinking at in-camera meetings.Other Councillors objected and brought the matter to public attention.

The youthful Mayor, elected without experience I believe,feted nationwide for his fresh approach to city affairs, went on television and confided he had  no control over Councillors' behaviour. On another occasion , he apparently broke down under the stress. Poor boy.

Not for a minute is such conduct indicated by Aurora's Mayor  and  Council .

We  do have cause for concern however.

First is the  Mayor's avowal not to "micro-manage". Or manage at all apparently.

The statement  accompanied  his refusal to account for a twenty-six year employee's modest job
being slid right out from under her.

The exchange took place in an in-camera meeting. It was no less a business exchange .

Question presents: how does one accept responsibility while refusing to exerciseresponsibility

Second concern is adherence to the virtue of  agreeability  and co-operation to "get things done"

Attaining nine independent minds at the Council table through the electoral process might not be reasonable expectation.But the number has potential for something other than an amorphous blob.

Senior levels of governments have separate parties .The government proposes. Her Majesty's Loyal

Opposition opposes

Proposals are analyzed, flaws discovered and government's feet are held to the fire.

Less is pablum. Tasteless and formless.

At a recent Council meeting, two new Councillors flailed about seeking satisfactory answers on the delay and extra costs for the AFLC project.

Answers quoted  in the news story came from staff.

The Head  of Council apparently had nothing to say. Doubtless maintaining his position of non-micro-managing or by definition, non- involvement.

The  point  has been made before.

Once more with feeling I repeat,

Staff are accountable to Council.

Council is responsible for staff and to the public.

Definition of an elephant....a horse designed by a committee

I have a couple more answers  on the Aurora Family leisure Complex project.

$ 600,000  was set aside for contingency.

$900,000 had to be spent when the  building department realized additional structure support was needed to open the hallway from front to back of the building. Plans submitted  were approval without. The additional support was not included in specifications. Not allowed for in the bid. And not covered in the awarded contract.

$900.000. swallowed up the contingency plus  an additional $300,000.

Mould infestation in the cavity  above the ceiling  required wood structures  to be replaced .The problem was not anticipated, needs to be corrected and paid for.

And thereby hangs a tale.

The AFLC  arena was designed to be cold. No spectator amenities were provided . All of that was  available at the community centre.
Summer  ice was not intended.
Then summer ice was provided  but the metal building was a hot box. The ice wouldn't harden.
Then it was decided to insulate  the roof so ice would freeze in a heat wave.

The ice-making equipment uses thousands of gallons of water every day.... during drought conditions.

Expensive treated potable

clean slightly warmed water had to be  wasted into the sewer system....adding to volume  of sewage
to be treated and paid for. .

A bank of  seating was added  for spectators. Heating was added.  Mould  grew.

The community centre has seating for 850 with  electric heating overhead. The heating was good for spectators but  the ice  was heavy and not good for players.

A problem  emerged with condensation  dripping down making holes in the ice at the north end.

The beautiful cedar ceiling had to be covered  with aluminum foil clad insulation to solve the problem

Seats needed to be replaced  during the last term. A federal grant was available and assured by M.P. Lois Brown. The Town did not apply.

Well I mean, if  not eligible for the grant,  let the government say so. It makes no sense to refuse to make the application. The seats  needed to be replaced. The funds were available .

After the Stronach Centre was completed an ice surface  problem emerged . Moist warm air up from  the  ceiling of the swimming pool area was getting into cold air above the ice.

But that's another story.l Another post.

So Amazing

A friend sent two beautiful photos of the bronze sculpture  prominently displayed in the Town of Perth. Lovely as they are, they are not as breathtaking as being there.

I tried and Stephanie tried to post one  here. It looked as though we had. But when I logged into blog
the space was blank.

So, I have posted it on Facebook.

Enjoy and thank you to my friend .

Yes I know we have our own Champion in Aurora. Jim Elder and his horse Pieces of Eight ,and others, brought home numerous medals  and shocked the world by bringing home to Aurora championships traditionally won by Europeans.

They were great days in a small town's history.

The Point Was Missed

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Big Ben and Ian Millar":

21:10, there'd also be a group bitching about the cost.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 January 2015 at 23:14


 Perth is a town of fewer than 6,000.people.

The beautiful bronze sculpture of Big Ben and  Ian Millar located where everyone can see and enjoy  every day of their lives that cost $250,000 was paid for with funds raised  from the community by Perth and District Chamber of Commerce.

It was a gift to the community.

In our town , self-described as affluent , a Council member  hopeful of winning favour suggested the Chamber of Commerce should have fees for a public venue waived for an annual event that MAKES money FOR the Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber took up the offer.

They also have  use of facilities and service  at taxpayers expense during the annual street sale which is a  gargantuan financial  success.

Sometimes I think I must be too subtle.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Big Ben and Ian Millar

I was in Perth last Saturday. The  town is two hundred years old. It was settled by veterans of the  War of 1812,

I have been there before for SARB hearings. The journey from place to place was a large part of the job with not much time between stops.

Long ago I realized Scottish stonemasons were in the habit of re-creating the places they'd left behind.

I  have seldom felt like a stranger in Ontario.

Around 1p.m. everything was bustling. It may have been the light or the fact I wasn't driving but the town presented exceedingly well.

Or it may have been the spectacular life-sized  bronze sculpture of a horse and rider stretched high over a jump on a street corner as we came into the town. WOW!

Had I been driving and not needing to be elsewhere at a certain time, I would have promptly turned around and returned to a spot where I could just sit still and gaze at that sculpture.

It was dark on the way back. I wanted Stephanie to take a picture so I could post it on the Blog. Or

But we missed it. A long drive was ahead of us and everybody doesn't share my obsession about
places to live and love.

I knew little about the town except what is there  to see. Fine buildings of a soft sand-colored stone cut with truly amazing precision as if done yesterday.  Or cast in a mold.

Large  store windows are fronted with wide sidewalks. Handsome residences of another age on
the main thoroughfare and clearly viewed on side streets.

I'm in the habit of making mental notes of places but in Perth I found myself yearning.

We were in the heart of a town that had a heart and we were on Highway 7.

I cruised the internet Sunday, thinking I might find a photograph of the sculpture. I did. in the  Farmers News . It would not copy.  In any case a picture doesn't do it justice.

I went to the Town  website and discovered Perth is County seat of Lanark. Population is less than
6,000. Varies by less than a hundred up or down ,year by year.They have a Mayor  and eight Councillors.

They have theatre.

The sculpture cost $250,000 and was crafted in Georgetown. The funds were raised by Perth District Chamber of Commerce.

The  River Tay forks into two. The town sits on an island between the two branches.

Perth was named prettiest town in Ontario by T.V.Ontario.

The horse is Big Ben, his  owner and rider Ian Millar whose farm is just outside Perth.

Umpteen awards ,prizes and  a million and a half dollars were won and earned by the two in competitions.

Big Ben was a Belgian warmblood. A huge heavy horse. Lived until he was twenty-three.

Jumpers are light horses.  But this heavy horse didn't know that and he wanted to jump.

And the people of Perth, loved him for that and honor his memory.

Monday, 26 January 2015

"Follow The Yellow Brick Road"

Council is having a budget meeting tonight. The public are welcome to attend and  have input.

The town wants the public to have input.

I don't plan to attend. Not that I  don't have strong opinions on the budget.

I object to hundreds of thousands of tax dollars being transferred  to a self-appointed board with no reason to exist.,

I object to a grant of whatever -they -request  to the Historical Society.

The Town has assumed  responsibility for the museum collection, provided space for a museum and hired a full-time curator. There is no justification for continuing the grant to the Historical Society.

The other outfit doesn 't even know it 's supposed to be self-sufficient.

I am a taxpayer. I do have an informed opinion. When I was a Councillor my input on the budget had zero impact.

Why should any other citizen expect opposition to spending might make a difference?

The invitation is a scam.

Unless it's intended as an opportunity for special interests to request additional spending.

About positive versus negative.

Like the Yellow Brick Road to the Land of Oz .

Same Experience...Different Perspective

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "How many of these fit on the head of a pin":

I was perplexed by Cllr Thompson's comment about such thing being expected when one renovates a building. If such were the case, that should have been taken into account during negotiations by both parties.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 26 January 2015 at 10:10


It has not been my experience. 

Stronach Centre came in under budget and on schedule in 2006. 

Church  Street school renovations were completed on time and within budget.

Development of town-owned lands also completed within budget and on time.

Petch house was taken apart,transported to a yard, transported again to its current location and re-assembled within budget and time constraints.

All projects were under management of Recreation and Parks.

The Family Leisure Complex was taken through the design stage  by Recreation and Parks,then construction  oversight was  transferred to the Department of Environment  and Infrastructure already occupied with the $26 million dollar Joint Facility project.

The Family Leisure Centre Project  completion is  now five months late and out of funds.

Petch House stays vacant because no purpose has been assigned. The decision to install heat and
light is dependent on use and subject to the authority of the Chief Building Official.

Millions invested on developing lands at Leslie are still outstanding.
There have been no sales.
Now it just sits.
Providing a sterling example of why the town in its wisdom should buy and develop everything in sight

Sunday, 25 January 2015

How many of these fit on the head of a pin

I submitted a letter to the editor on Council responsibility for delayed opening and extra cost of the Family Leisure Complex addition
Whether published is a decision of the editor.
The CAO  of the town objects to  criticism. He challenges the editor's judgement Not unsimilar to  the challenge to the moderator of the Aurora Citizen Blog.  SLAPP  action launched  with town resources indicates threat is not idle.

If the letter is published, space mitigates against complete disclosure .A  review of process might re prove to be enlightening.

The youth facilities site was chosen contingent upon soil conditions. It follows soil tests were required to confirm the choice.

A variety of  activities for youth were recommended to and approved by Council.Consultants had to be retained for design services. A bidding process is necessary to choose the consultant.

Cost estimate are received and approved by Council.

Specifications  are required  for the building contract to be called

Specs must be precise for competition to be  measured.

At each step of the process, background checks must be undertaken to ensure competence and past performance.

Council approves specifications and authorises bids to be called.

Approvals are required every step of the way. At no time is Council off the hook.

To obtain specifications, contractors must submit a certified cheque. The intention is to
ensure only qualified contractors participate in the process.

Bids are opened at a time and date for all to know and attend. No decision is recommended at this step.  Not until all bids have been analyzed,backgrounds checked is a further recommendation made to Council.

Despite  the weight of responsibility, council approvals can be  given without the item being called for discussion.

Control of the meeting rests with the chair. Less discussion, faster disposal. Agendas can number hundreds of pages with dozens of  business items with

no possibility of due consideration,transparency or  accountability.

Management of a project is not decided by Council.It's an administrative matter.

Aurora is managed by a team system.

The legal division is responsible to ensure contracts represent town interest.

Chief Building Official is responsible to ensure all building complies with the Building Code adopted by Bylaw ,to ensure safety ,security and provide inspections along the way.All building  plans must be approved by the Building Department.

I think that's why the Petch House is still not in use.

Despite staff involvement,  steps  necessary for approvals, Council was informed in a public meeting proper soil investigations were not undertaken at the start,  required additional support beams were not realised until later, plans were deficient and mould  that has to be dealt with ,was  hidden in air ducts.

The final insult to Council authority was that  work on the project will stop if an  additional,$6 hundred thousand  is  not paid and  a chance of litigation was hinted at against the municipality.

The question of competence is a matter of personal judgement.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Courage Mes Amis ...Je Reviendrai

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "More About Hazardous Waste Heading For the Inciner...":

It is " supposed " to divert hazardous waste from the collection into the bins. everyone to whom I speak is already doing their best. Clear bags will do nothing to improve the situation. They just make the politicians feel better

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 21 January 2015 at 10:0

Hazardous waste does not go into bins.  Special depots have been set up within the region to receive batteries and electronic waste .

I think the devil is in the sorting  system. Too many details. Expectation of success is unrealistic.

ThIs morning I read the conditions of the environmental assessment approval....nineteen pages.

Entirely about monitoring.

An Advisory Committee is required to meet and report annually from date of approval; Oct. 2010.

The  committee  is composed of representatives from lower tier municipalities in York and Durham.
That's the town; nine in York, I don't know how many in Durham.

York is a 30% partner in the incinerator project.

I looked for annual reports that might reveal problems with public participation in garbage separation

They didn't pop up  quickly and I had had enough of repetitious jargon for one morning.

Aurora is following Markham  with the  clear bag program. It may mean Markham and Aurora are the only towns experiencing problems with participation.

It may not.

We know from back and forth here, some retailers  like Staples accept used batteries.

The CAA  took my car battery last Saturday .

We learned some  retailers are accepting plastic shopping bags for recycling.

We did not know that.

 I would guess the town didn't either. Else they would have told us...right?

$300 million public dollars have been invested on a system to dispose of garbage that depends
entirely on  public participation. .

Without it the system will not function effectively.

Yet what is required is use of a "clear (translucent) bag" as opposed to black or green.

Garbage collectors taking time to examine each bag to determine acceptability of contents.

If  acceptable bag proceeds

If not , collector removes safety gloves, retrieves sticker from wherever he keeps it. sticks it on the bag and returns it  to the curb.

Collection time is increased and more trucks and manpower required to complete the weekly collection.

It's a good thing garbage collectors are not town  employees hooked up to the Work Asset Management Software System.

I plan taking time off from the blog.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

More About Hazardous Waste Heading For the Incinerator

community FOCUS Aurora Ontario has posted new content, 'What is the Clear
Garbage Bag Program - My Understanding'

According to the Town of Aurora the clear garbage bag program is a household
waste diversion program. It will require Aurora residents to switch from opaque
(usually black/green) garbage bags to clear (translucent) garbage bags. The
purpose of the program is to divert items away from the garbage which belong in
the recycling blue box, [...]

You may view the latest post at


When Margaret Thatcher was U.K. Prime  Minister an American company was permitted to build
an incinerator for toxic  waste in a  Scottish farm area

Employment was provided.

The disposal process required  exceedingly high temperatures.

Soon noticed was a high number of  still births and aborted litters among farm cats.

Cows ,with longer gestation periods aborted or had still- births or calves born with gross deformities.

Eventually, in turn, abnormally high rates of miscarriages, still-births and babies born with terrible abnormalities were noted among human mothers.

One particularly horrible example was of an infant with one eye and that in the middle of her forehead

Scottish National Television did a weekly series  covering the story in depth from start to finish .

Before they could be prosecuted the incinerator operation ceased and those responsible left the country.

Except of course for government officials responsible. The series ended without dealing with that

A public inquiry revealed the incinerator had been deliberately operated at lower than required

Toxic waste had been spewed unadulterated into the atmosphere to come down in rain on everything living within it's radius.

I was in Scotland for several months when the series was run.

During the decades the Region was searching for a way of dealing with garbage other than landfill,
elected  and appointed alike traipsed off to Europe to see for themselves, how the service  was being managed elsewhere.

Countries like Sweden, without landfill option, were successfully incinerating garbage.

Sweden is a country unlike many other. A social conscience is shared between government and the people. I doubt any private company is given responsibility for ensuring public and environmental safety.

Permission for  York Durham to use incineration to dispose of garbage was not easily obtained.The cost stated  in Wikipedia  was $15 million.

Capital construction was $276 million.

Claremont community opposed  the project until the bitter end.

But permission to incinerate.has conditions attached connected to successful separation of garbage stream collection.

The incinerator started operations in 2014   About the same time as the proposal to change to clear plastic bags.

Metals can  and are being recovered from the residual waste.

They are not therefore the reason as stated for the change to clear garbage bags.

There is no new hazard to garbage collectors.

York and Durham have contracted the operation of the plant while remaining entirely responsible for environmental standards.

Since this conversation started we have learned Staples and other retailers accept used  batteries.

Neither the Region nor the municipality provided that information.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Life Has Never Been Easy

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Spot the Strategy":

There are too many conflicts of interest in our complicated society.

Do we believe anyone or anything?

Truth and trust are two words lacking from our vocabulary.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 18 January 

Today's society is bombarded with information. Particularly rules and regulations about what used to be matters of  personal judgement.

To be judged accordingly by electors.

Transparency and openness may be the most over-used words in our lexicon, having nothing  to do with truth ,trust or  personal judgement.

Not surprisingly, politicians have different version of truth and separate understanding of  trust .

Citizens have altered expectations of  politicians.

Conflicts of interest do exist between well-being of community-at-large and entitlement.

It's always been that way. But the pendulum has shifted . Entitlement has the upper hand.

To-days politicians are hand-maidens.

To meet the change, ordinary citizens have to pay more attention and work harder to make sense if it all.

A lot less trusting and a deal more independent thinking.

Fortunately, it becomes a habit

A Slip of The Finger Again

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave":

Anna's blog, Living In Aurora has an interesting post in regards to her take on the garbage.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 19 January 2015 at 15:42

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

In the seventies as a Regional Councillor, I went to a solid waste management conference in Atlanta .

Focus was on the most effective way of handling garbage from a  cost and environmental protection

Every method known to man had already been tried elsewhere and land fill determined to be best.

Decades rolled  by.  York Region shipped garbage at great expense and no social conscience to the States. No political fortitude  existed either at the Provincial or Regional level.

In the nineties, during the short-lived NDP government, a site for land fill was identified
in East Gwillimbury. Sufficiently remote and of sufficient size to create no problem to human habitat.

No progress was made.

Ultimately an incinerator was built. After years of opposition and environmental studies and at a cost which may never be known.

The operation is undoubtedly closely monitored and policed.

Two years later the clear garbage bag idea was floated.  Insinuated into what had previously been proclaimed to be a wildly successful program of garbage separation; combustible from recyclable and compostable and separately disposable.

I believe we have not being told all there is to know.

Something nobody thought of before they lit the flame under the York/Durham incinerator.

Something as simple as small household batteries.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Spot the Strategy

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Another New Beginning":

"Canada's crisis-in-waiting" and it isn't trash

In a major editorial in today's Globe and Mail

"Since we are all going to get old and die one day, we have a stake in how well Canada's health-care system looks after senior citizens. The problem is not many of us are confident that it's going well.The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) released a poll in August in which Canadians expressed a sincere set of worries about their medical prospects in old age.Four out of five said they aren't confident they'll be able to access the health service they will need. Three-quarters are worried they won't have the money to pay for services that aren't covered by medicare after that retire. And 61 per cent doubt the country's hospitals and long-term care facilities will be able to meet the demands of Canada's relentlessly aging population."

The above represents one eighth of the editorial.

Every Canadian above a certain age should make this compulsory reading.

The garage issue is certainly a challenging one but it can be solved in a trice and at a fraction of the cost of the failure that seems to be an inherent part of our nation's health care system.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 17 January 2015 at 20:47

Note  reference to a poll released by the Medical Association in August in which Canadians "expressed a sincere set of worries" about their medical care in old age.

I do not believe it for a minute. Our affluent majority in Aurora ,at least those  with  public service pensions and benefits that just keep getting better,don't have a care in the world about health care.

As for the politicians , I think there may be an entire colony retired in Mexico.

As it happens  a Medical Association  is negotiating  with the Ontario Minister of Health, Honorable Eric Hoskins  M.D. on the question of remuneration, according to the Minister.

Association spokesperson tells  a different story,  He says it's about level of  care available as the population grows.

There was a time when thy out and out suggested  doctors would go elsewhere if they didn't get what they wanted.

The Minister was a candidate for Liberal leadership, last time around. He is taking a firm stand on the issue. One might say showing leadership.

We owe it to our representative to look twice at  information coming at us  and consider which interest it represents.

Revenue  source for hospital facilities comes from the  LCBO . The Province  says  how much it wants and that's what they get.

Non-union LCBO employees, management, have not had an increase in compensation for seven

It will be interesting to see how long Health Minister Hoskins keeps that job.

The Medical Association is a powerful lobby.

They can create fear .......without the help of  Globe and Mail editorials.

Why would they conduct a poll if it didn 't  serve their interest?


Last week  on Watts Trending , we learned  the late and former Prime Minister  Pierre Elliott  Trudeau once identified himself  as a "John A MacDonald  Conservative"

Did anybody notice Justin Trudeau sporting a  young John A MacDonald hairdo in his last T V  appearance.He was talking about  recruiting soon -to-be-former Toronto Police Chief  Bill Blair as Liberal candidate in the next election.

' Tis said Conservatives might be in hot pursuit as well.

Blair has  at least one thing in common with Former Police Chief and now former Cabinet  Minister Julian  Fantino; neither had contracts renewed in the Toronto Police

It might be fun to develop a game of Spot The Strategy on the Blog .

From lack of choice, we might rarely be able  to influence outcomes in elections but at  least we would have the satisfaction of outing the silly bastards.

"There Is Nothing New Under The Sun "" Ecclesiastes 1:4-11

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Another New Beginning":

There are just so many darned things about which we can do nothing. If that isn't depressing enough, we have to realize how fortunate we are compared to others. 

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 18 January 2015 at 09:30


We have to realise we  have one life to live....one day at a time, find joy  ... and take it where we
find it.

It might just be an awareness of the comedy that surrounds us and the opportunity to share the discourse.

Ordinary people have not had that before. As it is, experts are bedeviled about where it might take us.

In the meantime we should just enjoy the trip.

Last week  on television , I watched Network  a film that won four Academy awards. Second  to do so  after "Streetcar Named  Desire"

I went out to watch it .....at the Sayvette (long gone) retail complex  on the south-west corner of Yonge and  Steeles ......twice  in one week.

Each time  I heard dialogue missed previously,

I asked Stephanie last week if she had ever heard  the line  "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more"

She thought it was familiar but didn't know why. The movie was made before she was born. But the
woman has a university degree in that stuff.

Last week,during the tsunami of outrage about the atrocity in Paris, we heard ,read  and enjoined, another phrase repeated in rallies throughout the western world.

"Je suits Charlie"

Pencils were carried (whole and  broken?) to symbolize  solidarity with the right to draw satirical
cartoons in a world where nothing is sacred.

But there is  anomaly.

In the movie Network, new learned of things thatbare sacred. The right to capitalize is sacred. The opportunity to profit takes priority against all else.

Every journalist learns very quickly how decisions about which stories will run and which will not.

The economy of media  is not about news. It's about advertising.

News and other content is about enticing readers and increasing circulation upon which to establish profitable rates for advertising.

It is a very simple formula. Make money and you stay  in business . Lose money and you don't

The French magazine lost no time  exploiting opportunity to publish and sell hundreds of thousands  of additional copies of  the publication.  A golden opportunity for international circulation has not been missed.

Maybe even government grants on the grounds of economic development.

Is that idealism? Or is it capitalism?

Network was made forty-eight years ago in the heyday of television. A  redundant news anchor ,
in his last broadcast became Messianic ....electrified a  jaded national audience and inadvertently sent station ratings sky high

The only thing missing from the fiction versus the real event is the presence of politicians.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Another New Beginning

A headline in the Auroran yesterday was a moment. The town is going to encourage the use of backyard compost bins.
I smiled.
Before the Green Bin program, the Region promoted backyard composting and sold bins at a competitive price.

 At the start of the program the home composting program was eliminated.

The material was required for the Green Bin system to work.

Single family homes were provided with two buckets. One for outside and a smaller one with a lid to collect  the scraps indoors and transfer to the  green bin in the garage ,if you had one

There being  no satisfactory way of separating garbage  that slides down a single chute, multiple residential buildings were not included.

A question of  viability of a partial program was brushed aside with a  promise of further study.

Prior to Green Bins, homeowners transported garden waste to the organic waste recycling yard  created by Miller Paving under contract to the Region  on Bloomington Road.

Finished compost could  be obtained there at no cost.

The Green Bin Program was launched  later with fanfare, substantial increased cost and no more free

Turtle Island won the contract.

Miller Paving,the competing contractor argued  experience and equipment in the bid were not properly analyzed and the award was not competitive.

Residents bought into the plan . Bottles, jars and tins were washed, boxes flattened, plastic folded  and paper tied in bundles.

Once a month  organic waste, branches cut to a certain length and tied securely, was collected

Mothers demonstrated to children how the planet could be saved.

Buy-in was phenomenal. The program was declared a resounding success.

No plastic was permitted in the green bins.
Not much later that changed.
Plastic bags were quietly re-introduced. The fast- changing organic nature of waste proved to be too disgusting  to contemplate.

Subsequent failures in collection required meetings of the northern six municipalities and Turtle Island. More equipment had to be purchased.More personnel hired. No extra cost reported

Fastidious  householders started to notice and comment that garbage separation was futile. It was being undone at curbside.

Since the Green Bin program started, a composting plant in Newmarket proved problematic.Separating  plastic covers from disposable diapers was a problem.

The plant was eventually closed by court  order because of offensive odours from the process.

Composting  material has had to be transported to a facility in Quebec since .

A joint  York/ Durham  garbage incinerator was completed and is no doubt in operation.An extravagant opening celebration was organized.

Turtle Island  has been sold to another contractor .

Now a new beginning is planned . Clear bags  presumably to ensure prohibited material will not find its way into the incinerator, while opaque bags  are permitted inside the clear.

Garbage limits are proposed to be imposed .

Policing  of new restrictions will be enforced. Stickers will be stuck on uncollectibles.

Restricted service is reduced service yet  no reference is made to reduced cost .

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Things Unsaid

Somehow. criticism for the terrorist attack on  the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris came to rest on the doorstep of President Barack Obama .
He didn't go to the rally.
Nor did Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry.

The media, including Anderson Cooper on David  Letterman's show, had  a lot to say about the President's lack of judgement. The White House apparently admitted a mistake. 

It occurred to me, America is somewhat compromised in the situation.

I had expressed a few thoughts  along those lines  previously but didn't post because the situation was so devastating.

But nobody else is saying it  and it's hard to imagine no-one else is thinking it.

America has the Ku Klux Klan. No ski masks but they do cover themselves from head to toe in white  sheets with a poky hat.

They don't throw bombs and kill with guns. But they terrorise by burning crosses and they have been known to lynch people.

The last atrocity I read was of an American being dragged to his death on chains behind a pick-up truck driven by two other Americans.

Medical clinics have been bombed  Doctors, patients and and employees murdered by Americans
belonging to Christian organizations..

It happened in Canada, New Zealand and Australia as well. But mostly in America. 

For eighty years, the Irish Republican Army fought guerrilla warfare.

They raised funds openly in America from Irish Americans to buy guns and  ammunitions  for their terrorist attacks. Always in England. 

The IRA did not stop until the women  in Northern Ireland said;

Enough. You will  kill no more of our children.
The world didn't shake it's collective fist  and shout against the IRA.They were murdering terrorists
but they had sympathizers.

It was Irish women  who raised their voices and said " STOP IT NOW" 

And they did stop. 

It's been hard to listen to voices of authority answer about how difficult, nigh on impossible ,it is to combat terrorist attacks.

So what is the answer.

Here's another thought. The world press knew about Hitler's Final Solution. It had started before the second world war.

Nobody it seems thought the general public needed to know.

And they didn't until after the war.

That's when the world learned that Nazis were not the only ones responsible. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Everybody's Doing It Now

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Still on Conduct":

"Theere was no precedent "

Maybe not in Aurora, but I know of two instances in Newmarket where DCs were waived.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 14 January 2015 at 10:47


Thank you for the comment. 

I've written four drafts of posts in the last couple of days then just didn't feel like posting them. 

There seemed to be more than enough  noise without adding to it.

I'm not surprised Newmarket  issued  two permits without collecting development charges.

A lot of time is spent in municipal circles looking around to see what other people are doing

Aurora  Council directs staff to inquire from other municipalities what they do. Safety in numbers I guess.

I am reminded of a childhood admonition; if so-and-so jumped off a cliff would you do it too?

It's an odd concept of leadership.

Provincial regulations require adoption of  Development Charges Bylaw. I've never heard of a clause allowing for excemtions.

DCs  bring in millions of dollars to municipalities in the GTA. They add thousands to the cost of housing  and other development.  In turn  that adds  to market value to new property,  increases assessment leading to higher taxes

In the long run spending  $26 million on a public works building, manning and operating multiple recreation facilities during more hours of down time than operating is less an asset  and more of a liability.

But it is the system government has created.

At the.very least there should be equity in its application.

Here's a thought.

We have a town hall that accommodates  x numbers of employees

Statutory holidays number thirteen. In a year,thirteen four day weeks. All others weeks are five/ eight-hour days.

New employees start with three week vacations. Entitlement increases a week every five years of employment to a maximum of six. Plus sick day entitlements.

A senior employee can occupy his of her space ,probably an office, fifty-two weeks , less six for vacation , thirteen four day weeks, less  time off in lieu for time spent at Council and Council-
Committee meetings ,sick day entitlements, birthdays and days spent at conventions, one or more
a year.

Every work space is equipped  with computers et al.

The building is maintained  365 days a year ,twenty -four hour/seven.

Actual occupation is a fraction of that time, varying up the ladder.

Taxes  are collected to create reserve funds for replacement costs of the building on the basis of  age.

Retail Malls  stay open  seven days a week until  ten at night  to justify operating costs.People are working through the night,stacking shelves.

Industry operates  in shifts for best  and highest use of facilities.

But Town halls, public works buildings, recreation and government buildings all  sit idle longer than they are used and we keep adding more.

It wasn't like that before the advent of DCs.

It's like that now because governments have the money and can always get more where that came  from and ....let some people  are let off the hook if Council so chooses.

Everybody's  doin'  it ..doin'  it...doin' it.  Everybody's doin' it nowwwww

Monday, 12 January 2015

Still on Conduct

Theere was no precedent .

There was a really sweet deal.

St Andrew!s  promised the Development Charge would be paid if and when the property changed hands. I doubt that means a lien in the town's favour registered  against the property.

Itbreally was an insult to intelligence.

Not sure if it was another one if those eight to one votes but I certainly  did oppose it.I also I believe it more than likely St Andrew's was invited to make the request.

No matter. It was Council that made the decision.

No  staff report advising yea or nay.,

Development Charges are adopted by Bylaw to ensure equal  and legal application.

Another example of  preferential treatment .l can't say if anyone from Dt Andrew's ever bought a foursome to the Mayor's Golf Tournament.

Legislation governing  municipal tender awards is extremely precise. Companies pay a signifying fee to pick up tender documents.

Contracts frequently have a clause that allows for extension It's not really possible to determine e if the town's interest is bests served by  the extension.

It saves work and expense of advertising .

The Municipal Act requires recruitment for  Director positions. The town does not always abide by
Provincial law either.

East Gwillimbury rescinded their Code of Conduct in October 2011.

A complaint was filed against the Mayor and a Councilor  by the CAO. The Mayor had disrespected  the authority of the CAO

The two members were advised not to attend meetings by George Rust D'Eye appointed Integrity Commissioner by Council.,Mr Rust  D'Eye claims municipal expertise.

The Mayor and Councillor were  also advised by the Integrity Commissioner to retain legal counsel

Which they did.

At their own expense.

East Gwillimbury  has a five member council.  The number was reduced to three.

Not the number elected to deal with the town's business.

The  community had a strong negative reaction to the circumstance.

The remaining three reversed the decision recommended  by the expert  and rescinded the Code of Conduct Bylaw there and then.

And that was that.

But Mayor James Young did not run for  the office again.

To be precise

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Code of Conduct 2":

It's too bad we can't discuss this without the political side-bar. It would have been better, perhaps, if the complaint in Newmarket had come from a different source. It muddles our thinking.
I kind of keep going back to Evelyn's phrasing that if something isn't good enough for everyone it should not be made available to anyone.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 11 January 2015 at 16:57


The actual quote was ; "if we  can't do it for everyone ,we can't do it for anyone"

It was made  in response to a question I was asked at an all-candidates' meeting organized by Sport Aurora. 

Council gave the  organization office space  telephone service and address at the Aurora Town Hall. 

I opposed the decision. 

I was asked why I was opposed to volunteers in Aurora sports organizations being given the consideration by Council.

I found out later most of the organization members were not from Aurora..

Sport Aurora sells associate memberships at $250. a crack. 

St Andrew's College is a member. St Andrew'built an ice arena and didn't have to pay the development charge like everybody else.  I think they are now in competition with the town for the 
sale of ice time.

I wonder if that will have the same impact on their  tax status as the Soccer bubble did on the Legion field. 

Sport Aurora also publishes a magazine. It is essentially a successful advertising publication and competes with the Town and local media  for advertising  business. 

As a not-for-profit organization, Sport Aurora  is eligible for  Trillijm grants because of the
contribution they make to the community.Having  the town hall as address no doubt helps.

When then Cojncillor Ballard  successfully argued in his first year,if the St Kitt's Jazz Featival didn't get support from their own municipality , how could they be successful in an application for a Trillium grant.

Council increased the "sponsorship" and the  Snowball,group did  receive $75,000 Trillium grant.

I didn't  support that vote either.

St. Kitts were  MLA  Ballard's guests in  the  Legislative Assembly at Queen's Park recently as prominent residents of the  town.

Reading is a Political Imperative

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Code of Conduct 2":

Is it just mayors from relatively small places ? I imagine there would be a howl if the Mayor of TO held such an event. Look at the fuss about Ford's

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 12 January 2015 at 09:39


The comment highlights  a peculiar aspect of Code,of Conduct legislation.

It is not mandatory, it is permissive. Meaning   a municipality may or may not adopt a Code of Conduct.

An Integrity Commissioner may or may not be appointed.

Complaints  can not be processed without an I.C.

A Council  can write it's own Code leaving out or putting in whatever they choose.

From experience in Aurora,  an Integrity Commissioner can be fired for not following instructions of Council about how  he will proceed.

On top of that, the Code of Conduct Bylaw cannot be enforced.

No  criminal charges can be laid under the Bylaw.

No penalties imposed. Ergo...no enforcement.

The Bylaw itself is not a mechanism to ensure a desirable level of  purity in politics.

A politician may be trusted to exercise high

 standards of integrity ....or not.

A politician may be possessed of good judgement....or not.

No Code  of Conduct will make the difference.

Aurora's Code requires Councillors to read the document. And having read it,can the Code compel understanding?

I've read the Codes of Newmarket and Richmond Hill.

The Newmarket Code refers to Section  1 and 11 of the Public Inquiries Act for Authority of the  Commissioner .

Newmarket  Code states the Town will retain an Integrity Commissioner.

The town did not.

Richmond Hill refer to  Section 23 of the  Municipal Act for the Commissioner's authority.

Richmond Hill states a complaint can be filed by a Council .

There is no provision  in the Act  to allow a Council to file a complaint.

All  Codes specify the Integrity Commissioner will receive the complaint and decide whether there  will be  an investigation.

Newmarket does not have an Integrity Commissioner.

The CAO  has no role in the process  The Clerk has the solitary role of conduit.

No person stands between the Integrity Commissioner and.complainant.

Except. In Aurora where Council was complainant and made the rules about how the complaint would be handled. They fired the KC for not doing what they wanted.,

Newmarket's CAO is quoted in the press that there will be an investigation.

I read the reference  to the Public Inquiries Act Newmarkett's Code and the  Section   of the Municipal Act  in the Richmond. Hill  Code.

It takes more than reading to understand how a law gets implemented or interpreted .

Consistency is a large part of English Common Law.

I do not claim  authority.

I do believe however  a  Councillor (legislator) has more than passing responsibility to understand  ramifications of a  Bylaw prior to a vote to adopt.

When every Tom Dick and Jane is  provided with opportunity to destroy a reputation it only makes sense.

Using public office to promote a Golf Tournament or any  other charitable fund-raisers may seem like too good an advantage to miss.

It begs the question of why and who are willing to donate ?

What do they expect and  get in return?

Why would a politician put him or herself  into a position of obligation?

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Code of Conduct 2

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Code of Conduct":

How is this different than all the mayors across the region who hold their golf charity events?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 10 January 2015 at 18:46


It isn't .. It would not have been the  point  chosen to start but since you raised it ...

Newmarket has wards. The Mayor and one other represent the town at the Region. The Regional rep like the Mayor, doesn't have a ward and must be elected at large. A modern candidate for the office must be creative and create reasons why he should be elected.

The Mayor's Golf Tournament is a  model of proven success. .They are common across the GTA.They provide Mayors with a stash to dole out to delighted recipients. Not unlike Trillium grants but on a considerably lesser scale.

The 2011 audit of the Trillium Foundation was not positive.

 Mayor's  Golf Tournaments are held to be  sacrosanct  because the intent is so noble.

Except for a couple of aspects. One obvious...the other not so much.

First , the title of  Mayor is a resource that belongs to the Municipality  Like the telephone
number or e-mail address.

The second is obvious  only to those closer to the golf action.

Like  other  more grandiose fund-raising events, the market for ticket sales is relatively exclusive.

Who stands to gain from paying upwards of $25,000 for a table of ten at a banquet or $2,500 for a four person round of golf in the Mayor's Tournament .

What does it profit the benefactors?

Who are they?

If you think abaout it, you know the answer.

They are contractors who do business with the municipality. Developers. Legal firms. Road builders and suppliers. Whoever  hopes to win  or maintain favour , political or administrative.

Well...everybody's doing it ...so it must be O.K.

Developers have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to sit down at a private dinner party and break bread with a Premier of Ontario. How is that different ?

You can argue that's politics . It's as old as the hills.

You are not wrong.It is indeed.

Except  for Codes of Conduct Bylaws voluntarily adopted  by municipal councils  which clearly state a Member  of Council shall not use public resources  available to them for any other purpose except the business of the  municipality.

Golf Tournaments and disbursing of proceeds from the same have nothing to do with the municipality
And everything to do with politics.

According to the news story, John Taylor angrily responded the complaint against him is politically motivated.  Anyone can realistically accept that observation.

When he said the exercise is a waste of public resources, he was not wrong about that either.

But the time for John Taylor and every other municipal Councillor to think about that was when they adopted the Code of Conduct .

In sheep-like torpor intended to assure the community of  apolitical commitment to political function,
they  adopted a redundant Code and created opportunity for  abuse of  town resources and third-party intervention between themselves and the people they represent.

We will speak more of this.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Code of Conduct

The Era has a story about  a complaint against Newmarket Regional Councillor John Taylor .

The details of the complaint are included in the story.

The Councillors reaction to the complaint are also.,

And a statement by Newmarket's CAO that an Integrity Commissioner will be appointed  and the complaint will be investigated in the New Year.

It is interesting . From a number of different angles.

I know John Taylor. Worked with him on the Joint Fire Service Committee. He pulled his weight.

He is a warm supporter of  Special Olympics . Came out on a bitter cold winter day to see them off on their trip to South Korea . And again to wait in the  dark and sub-zero temperatures to welcome home the champions.

The complaint provides an opportunity to examine the value of Code of Conduct legislation and how well it functions.

We will take it in pieces.

History Repeats Itself

 I  found myself thinking about American Senator Joseph McCarthy recently.

His story has been re-visited a few times. I was surprised to find his activities were so long ago;Sixty years .

If you live long enough  stuff does tend  to revolve. McCarthy's witch hunt continued was publicly funded and allowed to continue  he accused the military was harboring communists. Then Republican President Dwight D.Eisenhower finally brought it to a halt but not before he had destroyed many lives. Many others took their own lives? Most of them writers and entertainers .

McCarthy was forty-nine when he died.

The atrocity in Paris probably made me think of him.

The entire world seems to be shaking a fist in defiance of extremism.

The gunmen in Paris apparently number three. Two brothers of Algerian extraction and a twenty-year old are being sought according to current broadcasts.

Very little has been reported about the individual who shot the soldier on Parliament Hill. Except for reference to connections to extremism.

Somehow the thought  of the IRA raising funds in the U.S.A for arms and ammunition  for terrorist attacks in England comes to mind. Don 't recall anyone, including the British government making
anything of that. Irish mothers decided those atrocities had to end.

France is no stranger to terrorist attacks. When French Indo China (Vietnam) was trying to take back it's country from France ,it was a long and bloody struggle. Algeria was a repeat.

French warned the Americans about not going into Iraq.The Americans did it anyway. They mocked France for being cowardly.

Now they are the ones having a hard time getting out

We all know the wise saying ,if we don't learn from the mistakes of th past ,we are doomed to repeat them.
That we are.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

"Blazing Saddles "

On the west side of Yonge Street a sidewalk stretching between Orchard Heights Drive and Aurora Heights Drive is part the transportation system and as such, gets plowed by the works department.

Machell Park runs parallel to Yonge Street in that location.  A pathway complete with benches, allows walkers to sit and relax and enjoy the outdoors . It's a leisure facility.

Current temperature, with wind chill effect is around 29%. below. Weather alerts are being issued. Information is provided at what point flesh freezes. The elderly are warned to stay indoors.

It is an average  Canadian winter.

Town parks  are little used in winter. Staff  are reduced to a minimum. Park paths  are the responsibility of parks staff who are aware of how the parks  are used.

A full complement of administrative staff are retained at great expense, to advise  of changing needs  A service might no longer be used and could be cut back or replaced. Another might be working very well and not need fixing.  Still another might need to be increased.

These  determinations are the year round functions of administrative staff in preparation for the annual budget.

Annual cost of professional advice is literally millions of dollars to a community of  56 thousand people and less than half that many homes.A heavy burden for home and business owners.

But apparently it's not sufficient.  A Council resolution has endorsed the concept of plowing  snow
from a park path that runs parallel and duplicates a pedestrian sidewalk on Yonge Street. In fine weather the park path has a purpose. I guess that's not what is meant by micro managing.,

It's the same genius that perceives the same bureaucracy that doesn't know which paths to plow, is nevertheless replete with  all skills ,chutzpah and business acumen of a Donald Trump to buy and re- develop every piece of real estate available in downtown Aurora.

Step aside Disneyland, Broadway and Las Vegas .

Aurora is on the move.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Virtue and Vice

In a fantasy world a device could be rigged to zap  all who hate my blog but persist in following.. A bell would peal joyfully every time and my house would be filled with merriment.

When there's information about SOCAN please share with the rest of us. I don't know what it means either.

Stephanie sourced out  more Heather Mallick stories on Lori Douglas the Manitoba Associate Justice whose $1.4 million legal expenses were paid from the public purse along with $3 million cost for a public inquiry.

What a bucket of sleaze that was. It wasn't  clear her husband was the sole culprit.

Ms Douglas applied four times for the job of judge before being appointed to family court .

The inquiry was ended without conclusion when she resigned from the job  with pension intact on a date of her choosing.

I haven't read everything . It's nauseating stuff.

Charlatans Abound

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Now we know a bit more":


Halls of Fame are not the gold standard that I would trust. Especially considering that the SWHoF is now a SOCAN property. SOCAN is one of the most crooked organizations at fleecing small businesses for money without legislation to back up their claims.

But, feel free to use whatever you think backs up your case. 

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 7 January 2015 at 08:39


The above is posted  because I am so happy to find the sentiment expressed in the first sentence.

I thought I might be the only person in the world skeptical about every little town in the Province 
having sufficient  " Champions" to fill the walls of a Hall of Fame.

At some point o,the idea of champion become nothing more than the stamina it takes for ordinary people to live their lives.

I think it's more about easy money from the Trillium Foundation, phoney -baloney memberships,
tapping local business in the never-ending demand  for hand-outs and competing with the advertising business again on an uneven footing ,for  the available advertising market.

And not accounting to anybody for disbursement of funds collected.

In the last federal election the Harper Party pin-pointeded the not-for-profit industry for scrutiny. attention.

Before our very eyes, millions are  siphoned out of the community to disappear into the pockets of  charlatans operating in the murky twilight zone,

It was the only commitment the Harper party made that impressed me. I don't  think the commitment to build more prisons was connected..

I see no only proliferation of  questionable projects.

Politicians allow themselves and the municipality to be used  as pawns in the process and the band plays one.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Multiple choice

On this blog , we speak of many things not being discussed anywhere else

I went back into the Toronto Star story about  Manitoba Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglass to take a closer look at the woman who took early retirement after being scrutinised over nude photos of herself were posted on line.

The matter was taken to the Supreme Court of Canada at a cost $4.5 million before she made her decision to take early retirement

The story focus was on  how judges are able to drag complaints about themselves  out at great public expense while being fully paid and  then able to bring the matter to a halt at a time of their choosing.

No answers were  provided .  But other questions arise.

How did nude photos  of the Associate Chief Justice come to exist  and be posted on line?

Were they taken earlier in life? In a more reckless period?

How does a person of  little judgement get to be appointed Associate Chief Justice?

Would ability to exercise judgement be criteria?

What is the  authority of an Associate Chief Justice?

Do they make findings of guilt and send people to jail ?

How many have been sent to jail by a person whose nude photos  wound up  being posted on line ?

We speak of some things more than others.

I think because some things are easier to talk about than others.

If 150 people pay $35 admission to hear Dan Hill sing and  revenue of $5,250 pays his fee and all  other overheads  to come out and  sing in a classroom in Church Street School that's one thing.

I really  have little interest in the matter otherwise.

But if it doesn't and the town is subsidizing the performance ....that's a different story.

Now we know a bit more

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sometimes the point needs to be made":

I am by no means a fan of Dan Hill's music. However, I can certainly tell you that I know who he is. Anyone that has a passing knowledge of Canadian music should know who he is. If you have never heard of Dan Hill, then perhaps you spend too much time on the blogs - you need to get out of your parents' basements.

By the way Evelyn, I don't think Dan Hill's wife would agree with you that he is gay.

His song "Sometimes When We Touch" reached #3 on the Billboard top 100 chart in 1977 for crying our loud.

He has a brother who is an author and one of his books was turned into a mini-series about to hit the CBC called "The Book of Negroes". 

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 6 January 2015 at 15:01


I am familiar with the song  and I like it. 

But I confess to not being particularly or even barely familiar with vocal artists even of 1977 vintage.

Admittedly I have ben pre-occupied with other matters.

Sometimes the point needs to be made

At the time of her activities in Aurora, the St Kitts woman was reported to have commented that I was prejudiced against her because she is a Jewish woman living with a black man.

Until that moment in time, I had no idea she was Jewish nor was I aware of her living arrangement.

When I was commenting on the line-up of entertainers at Church Street School, the only familiar name was Sylvia Tyson.

I asked Stephanie if she knew anything about Dan Hill or Dala . She didn!t. I had an impression, because of  Sylvia Tyson I suppose, of a country singer.

I had no idea he was either black or gay until I was accused of prejudice because  he is black and gay.

Who knew?

It's easy to call people names  Like throwing stones or sticks. Children do it. Adults too if they  have nothing else to contribute.

On the odd occasion I may publish such a comment to make the point.

Neither Semantics nor Factual.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Let's Call a Spade a Spade":


The Town does not pay the Legion's taxes. The town does not charge the Legion taxes.

Might be semantics but it is factual.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 6 January 2015 at 09:48


The comment is neither semantics nor factual.

All  properties of record are included in  the  assessment roll.

The Legion does not receive a bill for taxes because the town pays their taxes.

The  Province passed on the decision to end tax-free status for Legions. They gave authority to decide to Regions.

We all know who they are and how much attention is paid to  their decisions

Maybe they did it by telephone poll.

It w as done prior to 2003, at least eleven years ago.

 I learned of  it when I returned to office in 2003. I discussed l with the town's deputy-treasurer.

The assessment roll shows assessed value of all properties within the  municipality including the Legion .

It shows taxes calculated and owing. It shows a transfer of funds from town coffers  to
cover the Legion's share of Regional and Board  of Education taxes

Whether there's a transfer to cover the town's shared the Legion's taxes  makes no never mind.

The rest of us , including the hospitality industry,shoulder the Legion's tax burden as well as our own.

There's nothing wrong with the status of the Legion changing to become a  social club while continuing residual services to remaining veterans.

But in fairness ,they  receive  services ,they should pay their share of the taxes.

That  the Legion doesn't receive a tax bill doesn't mean  services are not provided, taxes are not calculated and paid on their behalf

Also for the second Legion building on the site.

Leasing out part of the parking lot for commercial use does not improve the situation.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Glad You Think So

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Next Christmas at Church Street School":

It is gratifying to see that there are still those individuals or organizations that are prepared to go about their business of raising funds for worthy causes without appealing to the public purse for financial assistance.

There is nothing old-fashioned about this concept.

It's just that more and more individuals and organizations feel they have a right to financial assistance from the public for whatever cause they may represent.

This "right" is wrong. 
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 5 January 2015 at 15:50


During the Mormac regime,I would have bet  people were invited to come to Council and ask for  user fee waivers  and other funding from the town. 

Many the Mayor encountered  out and about eventually wound up at the podium as suppliants.  

Little changed in the last term. Staff recommended a figure but  the St Kitts jazz carnival got  more from Council  in the first year. 

16,000 visitors were claimed to have spread tourist bounty about. 

I heard the organizers had a bank machine in the park to save visitors the effort of leaving the park. 

Entertainment,, vendors, food concessions and beer tent were all on hand. A chain link fence allowed admission to be charged all who entered. 

Hundreds of volunteers provided free labour. 

Mighty offense was taken when the event was deemed ineligible for funding in the second year. 

Picked up their bongos and went north five miles for warmer welcome and no doubt a  more generous transfer of funds from municipal coffers. 

Next Christmas at Church Street School

I have a god news story that I need to tell before I get side-tracked.

The Special Olympics organisation held it's second  annual craft sale  before Christmas in Church Street School.

The crafts I am told are really special and make beautiful memorable Christmas gifts.

Crafters rent a table. Each donates  a piece to be entered into a raffle.

First year proceeds were small but this year $3,900. were raised for Special Olympics.

If you don't have a friend or a family member who is Special, you cannot imagine what a difference the activity makes in the lives of individuals and the lives of all the people they touch.

Fee  to rent  was $ 600.  All the space ,upstairs and down, on the west side of the building was theirs for the day. They were well pleased with turnout to the  event. They look forward to greater success when the event becomes better known. That's how their projects go and grow.

They don't ask for free space anywhere they go. They know  expenses need to be covered.

They don't ask for gold,platinum or silver sponsorships from the town. They  don't tap, tapped -out local business for hand-outs.

They don't make grandiose claims of bringing thousands  of dollars into municipal coffers from tourism like a certain carnival jazz fest we  know about.

They just get down to business and do the job the best they know how. The satisfaction is in doing it well and accomplishing the objective.

Is that really such an old-fashioned concept?