"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

Thursday, 30 June 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "EVIL IS IN THE DETAILS": 

Even when the cast changes the plots are still all the same. It happens with every municipality. Council is not running the show in any of them. Directors, producers, writers, editors. Even the electorate are part of the show. We're the casting agents. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 30 June 2016 at 16:53

I don't know what happens in every municipality but I am probably as familiar with what happens in Aurora than any person alive.  I still  do not claim expertise. Things shift and change. I only know what I know. 

It's true the electorate chooses the caste members but only within the range available. Selection is further narrowed by limited understanding of the role. 

I learned the role by listening, watching,asking and doing . Like everyone else,I needed to learn. I tried to pass on what I learned. In fact, I thought It would be my main contribution. 

It's hard when there's no reception. Harder still, without back-up from administration. ..where there's more concern about keeping the job than doing the job...the Mormac Gang made that a clear 
imperative. It sits easier on some than others.  

I don't watch meetings any more. I read The Auroran accounts and that makes me a bystander like most. 

Sometimes when I flip through channels and a Councillor is speaking, I will stop and listen. 

It happened Tuesday night. The discussion was about a planning matter, a thirty metre versus ten meter buffer between estate lots  and urban density housing. 

Thirty meters is a huge waste of space and no-man's land in an urban setting . It is contra-indicated.

Estate lots were introduced  forty odd years ago because services were not available for urban development. Estate lots accommodate a well and septic tank.

Assessment growth and revenue was essential  just to keep up withirisingcosts. Estate lots were valuable but costly in terms of land use then and a hundred  times more now. 

The  chickens are coming home to roost and there's not a soul at the Council table ,elected or appointed, who understands the background. There have been several breaks in continuity.

No respect for institutional history. I doubt anyone understands the term. 

Councillor Thompson spoke on Tuesday of Council's intent to make decisions that reflect the values of community desires. 

The  bid to reform the Ontario Municipal Board is about having authority at the municipal level to make 
planning decisions. 

Councillor Thompson is a serious thinker. He is in his second term of office. He still does not understand the junior role of a municipal council. 

The Province is the boss. Municipalities exist at the pleasure of the Province. It could be decided
tomorrow ,there is no justification for two municipalities, 

Aurora and Newmarket ,with no dividing line between them and  many shared services, to be carrying the burden of two multi -million dollar administrations makes no practical sense. Let alone demand the Province surrender authority to 440 municipalities.

No chance Lance. 

We're still waiting to hear reforms the bozos are contemplating for the OMB. 

We've heard all the razza- ma-razz. The meat of the proposal is yet to appear. 

Maybe that's why C.Ballard has been assigned responsibility for housing and poverty in the Province. 


This morning's experience reminds me not to get too cocky. I thought I would trying  again to 
correct obvious problems with lines in the "Waltzing Matilda " post. I managed to put it into draft for editing. Then I couldn't edit It and could not get it back  to publish out of draft 

As can be seen,eventually I was successful. Problem is, I can never figure out how.

I click on so many tabs, I can't recall which one did the trick. There's always the risk I will lose the whole post. I hate that. I absolutely hate that. 

On the computer I knew how to tidy things up. But my grand-daughter Robyn decided I would be 
better off with an IPad. 
She was absolutely right. I sit in my big comfy chair with my $10. IKEA table at my elbow   and my IPad down between the cushion and  the side of my chair.  Always ready and fully charged.  The re-charge chord hangs from the lamp standard. 

But I can't switch between the computer, in another room and the IPad. If I  can't figure out how to do it on the IPad, it's  game over. Except it isn't. I keep on playing no matter how irritating to see lines 
Jig-nagging all over the place. 

Yesterday, grandson Keenan , Robyn's older brother, dropped by.He and Kari Chung are getting married at the end of the month. 

They are cooking barbecue sauce and putting together a roast rub for guest favors and need my 
two big soup pots. 

He said ; "Party favors are $8 a piece. It's  my party. I'll cry if I want to"

And I said; " I just put that line in my blog yesterday. Did you read it? "

"No" he said. "Grannie, you should put your blog on your Facebook page "

He had to explain how to do that.. I'm getting smart. I made him write it out for me. So the last two blogs have gone on the page. And that's great. 

Except now more people  will see how erratic my lines are, so I need to find out how to fix that. 

First I asked grand- daughter Stephanie, Robyn and Keenan's cousin, to help me. But she works on a lap-top. She thinks the problem has something to do with writing the post on a tablet and transferring it for publishing. 

Robyn is twelve years younger than Stephanie so she knows more. Next time she is here, I will ask 
Robyn to fix it and write down the steps for me. 

Then maybe I will try tweeting again. I haven't yet figured out the advantage of tweeting and writing a daily blog. 

All will be revealed. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WALTZING MATILDA...WALTZING MATILDA": 

What do you think of a white-haired great-grandmother holding a similar position with pink or purple patches in her coiffure? 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 29 June 2016 at 18:28


The above is like a typical school yard taunt ; "Yah, yer ma  wears army boots"

In ordinary circumstance, it would not be published. 

But world news continues horrendous ...the trivial serves to distract ...and it may help some
at this point in time. 

The comment is not accurate  and context is requiredto understand significance. 

The twilight zone was from 2006/2010 aka the Mormac administration. After a single term, six members were replaced, from egregious necessity.The Dawe group saw opportunity and promised a different approach to public service. 

I did wash a pretty pink rinse through my hair a couple of times and liked it. I shall do it again for my grandson's wedding at the end of July. 

I never introduced patches of purple. Never even considered it. It's typical exaggeration when gossip is repeated.

Like a schoolyard taunt, sniggers around the table included a conjecture of senility at the time.

It was conduct unbecoming elected officials .They had no idea the case they were making. Having  the numbers allowed them to believe in their own invincibility. 

They were wrong. 

The  blog started in August 2007. Tentatively at first. I had help. A young friend with an enormous personal challenge at the time needed distraction and tagging along to Council meetings provided it. Her computer skills were substantial. Mine were non-existent.

By the time her life took a more positive path, I had acquired enough technical skills to go it alone. 

At first they questioned that I wrote the blog. Imagination tells what  they said about the friendship. 

But I had the blog. 

They are long gone. They were replaced. In pettiness and spite, the difference is scant. 

it's almost August again. 
I still have the blog. 
In nine years ,we've been through a lot together.  
I have acquired additional skills. 


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "IT'S MY PARTY": 

"There was no comment. Merely an observation"

No comment was required, the context of how it was "observed" was ample to demonstrate your disdain for the person and his dress. 

The rest of your post here shows that while it may be your blog and party, the tone, content and mind-set are clearly Victorian. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 29 June 2016 at 07:40


To  the person who asked,the photo of Councillor Abel doing due diligence, cutting the ribbon 
for the opening of a new children's shoe store in Longo's Plaza is on page 9 of last week's

To  the person commenting  I doubt  my personal opinion of Councillor Abel's "Person and his dress"
matters much. Although I  have to report the numbers spiked.

To be precise, reflection in the post is more about modern fashion and other aspects of the town's 
affairs. I will call it my town if I like. You are not the boss of me. 

I do have a distaste for grizzly,unshaven faces. Unkempt hair. Slovenly dress .

They suggest laziness, carelessness, a lack of self-discipline, self-indulgence, Hill- Billy life style, 
lack of self- respect and indifference to any known standard of conduct and whatever other 
negative terminology one might care to add. 

There...I've said it. I don't think I'm alone. 

But disdain is not part of my lexicon. It suggests superiority. I don't believe anyone is in a position to look down on anyone else. More than a hint of disrespect for my generation is conveyed in the comment. 

BtW I am not of the Victorian era . My grandparents were.  

They would marvel at the lifestyle of the modern age. They would also be horrified. 

My grandfather would shake his head in disbelief at lessons unlearned, opportunities lost.

The David Camerons , Donald Trumps, Dalton McGuintys,Justin Trudeaus ,Geoffrey Dawes  and John Abels. 

I see Councillor Joe Sponga of Newmarket has quit politics mid-term following four times elected. 

He doesn't  think he should have to use personal resources to defend his reputation as a 
consequence of public service. Newmarket will have the expense of a Byelection. 

Don't know the accusation but whatever it is , obviously  it will be allowed to stick. 

At least he won't come out of it, couple of hundred thousand dollars in debt. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "IT'S MY PARTY": 

Would be appropriate
 in Bermuda.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 28 June 2016 at 13:58


Are we still talking about Councillor Abel's nether garments?

Bermuda shorts are neat, above the knee in length with a belted waistband  and knife-edged creases typical of tailored trousers.

Fabric is usually neutral in colour and impeccable. 

Long before becoming a fashion item,they were part of a military or police uniform in desert climes like Sidi Barrani. 

They are not cut off across the middle of female butt cheeks. Neither are they ripped,ragged, bleached or paint- stained. 

They don't slide halfway off the male backside with crotch almost at the knees.Nor hang,crumpled, wide and flapping  below the knees with ties dangling from the outside hem like a pair of upside down laundry bags. 

No..Councillor Abel's nether garments worn for the official opening ceremony of a new business in town would not be  Bermuda appropriate.

My impression of Bermudians is they tend to be fastidious


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "HOW HARD CAN IT BE FOR BUSINESS TO FAIL IN AURORA": 

14:59 - Agreed, a petty shot at someone's looks. Very offside. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 28 June 2016 at 07:45


The occasion was Councillor Abel taking the Mayor's place, carrying out a formal function of cutting a  ribbon to open a new business.

One might argue an opportunity to promote the Town.

The Councillor's "looks" were not the issue . 

Reference was to the Councillor's wardrobe within the context of the ribbon-cutting occasion of a new business in town. 

There  was no comment. Merely an observation.

 At the end of a post on the lamentable lack of vitality in  retail business downtown.

If I were sufficently computer savvy, I might have simply reproduced the photo. 

But it's my blog and my town and I'll cry if I want to. 

Monday, 27 June 2016


I"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "THE BREXIT PHENOMENA": 

So Evelyn you disagree that the current development in the east of Aurora is not having an impact on the downtown core?  

Don't get me wrong, the downtown core is great if you need to visit a bank, a doctor or a lawyer. But if you want to buy anything, there is little opportunity. If you live west of Yonge street, you are more apt to drive to Newmarket or Richmond Hill versus the east side of Aurora

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 27 June 2016 at 07:38

I don't profess to be an expert but I have observed certain features over the years. First being ,
things are never easy in retail business . It would be impossible to make a list all the businesses started  closed within months downtown in Aurora. 

Before the town had an Economic Development Department, a small planning department handled the task. The planning director devoted her entire professional career to Aurora and enjoyed highest respect in the development industry for fairness and efficiency. 

We had  conversations about the downtown  "problem". The reason  that sticks out from all the rest  was rents for old inadequate space without  convenient parking were too high. 

It became apparent, mall rents were too high. People loved the amenities of the mall. They didn't necessarily spend any money there. Malls stopped being built. 

The Smart Centre on the east side of town didn't  exactly get off to a booming start either. Businesses  have come and gone  there as well. 

I've never seen that parking lot filled. Considering all the paving, trees, ornamental benches that represents considerable investment with no return for years. 

Business fails for many reasons.  Not least is the assumption by others, every business is a roaring success as long as the doors  open. 

Business is  target for every fund- raising organisation.  And doesn't that seem like a roaring trade.Municipal  taxes  are horrendous. They can't turn around without. a permit and  application fees are in the  thousands with no guarantee of permission. 

Business  is built on goodwill. Quarreling with the Municipality is not advisable. They can't complain about the Legion or the Soccer Club competing unfairly  for business. 

Without an option, they just up and close doors in defeat.  

The Chamber of Commerce should be their voice but shows little interest in their problems.

Endless, empty, meaningless, yammering  and millions of dollars fed into the maw of out- of -town consultants by a continuing procession of  fat cats, elected and appointed at the town hall are a bitter pill to swallow during the struggle to meet a pay-roll and nobody notices until they're gone. 

In early days, business was well represented in town and village councils. Farmers were prominent on County Councils. Policies, principles and standards were hammered out to reflect fairness, consistency, practicality and economy.

Taxation was of prime concern. Revenue from property development was recognized as the essential fuel for growth that kept the motor running. 

Municipal  corporation business was relevant to large and small operations in stores and factories that provided a living for those who made their homes and raised children in the community. 

People made the connection. 

Nowadays, millions of dollars for wild life reserves, for arts and culture, millions more to provide land for soccer fields for private enterprise to reap profits, additional  millions to remove land from  development and forfeit revenue, to say nothing of the public sector setting up in competition to the private sector. 

Small business are asked to sponsor concerts in the park, hockey teams,soccer teams,baseball teams.Christmas parades, July 1st parades, Easter Eggs hunts and whatever other fun and games come to mind. Not forgetting, Sports Hall of Fame,lucrative advertising magazine and Sport Aurora organization riding in the backs of the taxpayers. 

None of it regarded as too great a burden for anyone  ptrying to make a living from a business or professional service in Aurora. 

The  town is  currently advertising for citizens to volunteer as Business Ambassadors. Huh.

Last week The Auroran had a photo of Councillor  John Abel cutting the ribbon for a new business wearing a shirt and jacket over shorts and sandals with socks. 

Saturday, 25 June 2016


Page 7,June 16th edition of The Auroran had a third story of interest. Ratepayers were advised by  solicitor at a meeting in the town hall. 

private meeting  to receive legal advice was held in public with press in attendance.  That's a switch.  

The solicitor's advice was telling; the last three paragraphs most revealing. 

As an expert in municipal law,  Mr. Agostina has acted for developers and opponents and is "well-versed with both sides of the coin" 

Acting  for a developer, he  claims to "almost invariably win".  

Mr. A  explains  "the OMB process is evidence based and ratepayers generally just show up and sound off on why they don't like a particular development and leave"

"That" he said " is the kiss of death at any OMB  Hearing" 

"It is a myth that the OMB is pro-development" he states 

"What it is, is ratepayers don't typically understand that this is an evidence- based process.Secondly 
ratepayers don't have the financial benefits that a developer has that allows them to invest in the cost of an OMB proceeding and the cost of this  process is large not only in terms of time but real dollars. 
You have to compete with someone who is going to make millions of dollars if  they are successful.
What do you get if you're successful? You get to maintain the value of your home."

The ratepayers received sound advice. As far as it went. 

They did not hear the developer was liable to lose millions already invested before even reaching the point of a formal application to the municipality. Nor that the provincial economy would be undermined. Jobs in the thousands would be lost. Tax revenues would evaporate. Ontario would sink  lower into depression. 

They did not pay to hear about that. 

Nor was potential cost of lining up a parallel team of experts to refute the evidence-based development application outlined. 

It was not noted that  town staff will likely be called to give evidence-based testimony on behalf of  the developer. Evidence that would not favour the ratepayers, despite absence of a report to Council on the application. 

The ratepayers received fair warning . Even if they had to  exercise their minds and think for themselves.

They were advised to participate in the OMB mediation process.

They were nudged along in the right direction. 

But they are no closer to winning. 

How, for example, can they prove lost property value in the event of  development?

The headline to the story read :

"Ratepayers prepared to go "toe to toe" with developer over Highland Gate "

No doubt encouraged by the town's initiative in urging the Province to " reform" the OMB.

And that is also part of the  story. 

Friday, 24 June 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "SEND THE MESSAGE WHERE IT COUNTS": 

Here's news for you. Statefarm (Dejardan) is already moving things to Quebec. One of my kids has already been "trimmed".  

Regarding the lease signs that Watts has pointed out... The problem is the how the previous planning and councils of this town have allowed commercial development to go to Bayview and Leslie. Basically they killed downtown with the allowing of commercial development in those areas.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 24 June 2016 at 07:29

No.....that's not accurate. Aurora's downtown started to fade when the first shopping centre was built in Richmond Hill. Dwindled a bit more when the Davis Drive Shopping Centre was built in Newmarket. 
Larry Rubin who owned the IGA, built his first new supermarket in Newmarket. 

 Hillcrest Mall became  the destination of choice and after that Upper Canada Mall came into being  and presented still another option. After decades serving Aurora and surrounds, Ardill's moved from the south-east corner of Yonge and Wellington into the new mall in Newmarket. 

When Norm Cook closed his men's wear store in mid-block, it was not replaced. 

Old family businesses closed and new businesses opened and closed with dizzying frequency. 

Practical reasons other than planning and Council decisions, hindered development in Aurora.  

In development, we trailed behind Richmond Hill and Newmarket. Brought up the rear end, so-to-speak. 

For fifty years,complaints and laments about what should and shouldn't be done in Aurora to revitalize the downtown core has become a chorus. 

At the same time,candidates are elected who vow to maintain the small town environment
without understanding the limitations.  

Aurora acquired a reputation for being "difficult" . It may have been deserved. I've seen developments elsewhere that wouldn't have been permitted  in our town. 

But the  town is no longer " difficult ". It's well- nigh bloody impossible.

Yet  chosen nineteenth in the top twenty five best places to live. 

Judging by vacancies, including a hotel, obviously it's not the best place to do business. 

Notwithstanding advice from the Chief Financial Officer that whatever the tax burden,residents can bear it because of their high level of education. 

One thing we can't do , is move the heritage core away from Yonge Street. 

It is a regional road and a provincial highway. Despite the 400 and 404, it carries traffic from town to town, through some of the most beautiful scenery in Ontario and there's not a thing we can do about that.

Newmarket's heritage downtown is not on Yonge Street but they have had  ups and downs. The town has invested heavily over and over 

Nobody knows how well a business is doing until they close their doors. 

All a town can do to support local business is get out of their way. Let them do what they know best and the town do the same. 

We are not doing a good job of that and haven't  for some time. 

We don't even know enough to get out of our own way most  of the time. 

Thursday, 23 June 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "THE DICE WILL BE CAST": 

20:24 - There's more than half a dozen! Culture is one of the new economic industry in government. Culture and Environment, both are to improve the quality of our lives don't you know! 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 23 June 2016 at 08:42


Yes indeed there are more. They started before the current Council. There was an election and changes were made. But not really. The "change" turned out to be phony and things continued 
as  before with barely a pretense. 

The multi-million dollar hydro property being used for our own purposes spirited away to the Queen's York Rangers with a ten year lease was given an extended the lease to thirty years. 

Councillors were so be- dazzled by the royalty connection, they paid the Feds over half a million for the mouldering, contaminated shed vacated at the corner of the town park. 

Former Councillor Ballard had the connection to QYR and the former Mayor. 

Then there was a  culture board member with a dream of hosting piano concerts in Aurora. The newly renovated museum,$3 million cost, was turned over to a Culture Centre Board, rent free, with half a million annual funding .First purchase,with town funds, for the empty space was a grand piano at a cost of thousands. 

A couple of world-renowned pianists have played for a capacity audience of seventy-five. Both concerts sponsored by the board member with the passion. 

The current Mayor really appreciates culture so close to home,particularly the free parking. For the taxpayer however ,the price  can hardly be justified. 

The Heritage Park boondoggle  in the Hillary House triangle had thousands  expended on consultants before that crazy Idea was laid  to rest. The current Mayor's signature was top of the  supporting list. 
 It wasn't his idea but he swallowed it, hook line and sinker,followed by a number of other prominent, well-intentioned citizens. 

A Sports Hall of Fame has been established with a free address at Aurora Town Hall. It supports a 
lucrative magazine and a sports organization with membership far and wide  within and beyond town boundaries. 

We don't know for sure because details are sketchy but we think the multi-million dollar  Aurora Youth Soccer Association has been accommodated with another  $11 million purchase of employment lands to use as soccer fields to support their commercial growth and also  a lease of an industrial building for all season  indoor facilities for training.

Another acreage taken out of the revenue side of the ledger with no input from the Chief Financial Officer paid a salary likely closer to $2 than $1 hundred thousand a year  to do exactly that. 

A summer music festival has been  re- located from the bandshell in the town park to the  Highland Soccer Club facility which the town leases to Aurora Men's Soccer for the princely sum of $1. With a prohibition against renting it out for any other purpose. 

The advantage is murky but certainly not, as stated by Councillor Abel,nuisance to neighbours of the town park. It has to be said town park neighbours cannot argue a musical event is unwelcome in the neighbourhood. The bandshell has been there  since before them. 

The most notorious give away of all time was to the St Kitt's woman and her travelling band. Their music can still be enjoyed in the Town of Newmarket. Photos  in The Auroran of various personalities wearing Chris Ballard Ontario Liberal T shirts holding St Kitt's business cards  up to the camera, at the Aurora Chamber  of Commerce Street Festival. 

Make whatever you like of the waft and weave but there's ittle doubt or shame either that certain people with connections, have free access to all the goodies the town treasury can provide. 

If you don't want $200,thousand spent on yet another consultant ,so  the Conservation Authority can 
make  the decision for an unlikely Wild Life Reserve, I will publish your opposition but you really ought to contact the people who were elected. 

If you don't, they will assume you are on board.