"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

Monday 21 December 2009

It's Not a Christmas Card

It's a collection of thirty glossy card sheets eleven inches long by seventeen inches wide fastened together by a wire coil and distributed to me at the Town Hall. Any candidate for public office. knows how much that stuff costs. More than most can afford.

A quick scan reveals twenty-five per cent of the space is blank. Value is reduced by that amount of emptiness.

At least fifty-per cent are coloured pictures of the Mackenzie Marsh. If we need a peek, we can barrel on up there and take a gander. So seventy five per cent of the production is wasted.

The final twenty-five per cent is verbiage describing soil conditions, animal habitat and principles of conservation. We have heard it all so often already we can rhyme it off by rote.
Like the times tables.

God help Me, I read it in its entirety. Then a second time to confirm my suspicion.

The title gave me the first clue. Known locally as Mackenzie Marsh, it is now called " The Hadley Grange Nature Reserve"

Hadley Grange is the seniors' apartment building. In historical terms, a recent addition to the landscape.

When St. John's Sideroad was constructed, a commemorative plaque was unveiled with great ceremony with members of the Mackenzie family present to mark the honour.

Now,with no ceremony whatsoever, not even Council approval, the name has changed.

The "Report" was prepared under that title by Ogilvie and Ogilvie Consultants, for the Town of Aurora. I am an Aurora Councillor. Nobody asked me. It may even be possible whoever changed it, never even knew it already had a name.

On grandiose card number 16 entitled Development Limitations and Opportunities on the Site,
I found the second clue;

"The presence and proximity of the Hadley Grange Seniors Apartments. Residents of that building have expressed concerns about locating the proposed Nokidaa Trail too close to their building for security, safety and privacy reasons. The location and design of such a trail will need to take these concerns into account"

There you have it. The entire justufication for this expensive document.

Since Spring, the town has spent $50 ks to "facilitate" our plans to link the Nokidaa Trail with Newmarket's planned hiking trail . It will allow nature-loving Aurora residents an opportunity to spend pleasurable hours wandering in the wilderness between here and Newmarket.It may even take a few cars off the road as residents find it possible to walk or ride bicycles to work or shop.

Many many consultation lunches have been provided to overcome the objections of a couple of residents of Hadley Grange that the trail will not in fact interfere either with their safety, security or privacy. To no avail.

First $20ks was spent by staff . Then a further $30ks was approved by Council. In the end ,what we have for fifty thousand smackeroos is an extravagant publication giving us a reason to decide not to design or build a trail in a location previously determined to be the best place for it.

Months of staff time and effort. Thousands of taxpayers' dollars.

In the end , Zero, Zilch, Nada . Amen my friends. Nothing.

A deficit in fact. They even took its name away and gave that to the opposition as well.


Anonymous said...

Hey Granny,

Nothing up about sunday and family christmas yet. You should post something, I rely on you to keep me updated on the family gatherings I have to miss. :)

Love you,

Anonymous said...

I find it very amusing - sad actually - that the Town of Newmarket was able to pave a whole new section of that trail from Mulock to Yonge in the last two years.

During that time the Town of Aurora managed to talk about a 500 meter connecting trail and spent a lot of $'s investigating its impact. But nothing happened.

So far the progressiveness of Newmarket has really impressed me over the last couple of years. The lack of progress in Aurora has really disappointed me.