"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 7 April 2012

Every Thought Has Many Facets

Tim the Enchanter has left a new comment on your post "Hopes And Dreams":
Anon 805P
Adelaide Street is headquarters for the Ontario Heritage Trust.
I'm not a believer in the simple "Release the bulldozers!" approach and folks such as Chris Watt should be commended for their efforts to remind us that Aurora does have a heritage and it is important.

However it seems, the practical considerations, such as costs, associated with preserving heritage are so often left out of the conversation.

The Browning house for example(up until a few days ago).

How much to restore it?
Do we/can we order the owner to restore it?
Do we/can we compel the owner to sell the home only to a buyer that is committed to restoring it?
If the Town is committed to restoring the house do WE have to buy the place and THEN restore it?
What would that cost?
The property would then be off the tax rolls - how much does that cost?
Who pays?
What happens after we restore it?
Who pays for utilities and maintenance?
Do we open it to the public and charge admission?
Do we have to pay for staffing?

Nothing wrong with the preserving heritage but you need to bring the WHOLE story to the table so we can make informed decisions


The last  amendment to the Ontario Heritage  Act  gave municipalities power to designate a property as heritage. Previously it could only be done with consent of the owner.

"Wonderful", Aurora said,

 We promptly spent thousands of  tax dollars on a consultant study and designated an entire  neighbourhood.

Wouldn't you know. it was the north-east quadrant.... with the crazy traffic calming plan. It brought more tourists to Aurora than any who came  to see the extra-ordinary heritage neighborhood..

We are currently spending another $60,000 on a heritage study of the south-east Aurora neighborhood.

When  the traffic calming contract award of $211,000 was being
discussed in a  council chamber crowded with belligerent people from"the neighborhood ", the  former Mayor assured them they deserved the calming plan because they were "special"

Much the same as governance of   Church Street School  was   "special" when she drew up  that pesky contract  without  assistance or interference from a town solicitor, because, don't you know,  heritage and culture nurture looks good in campaign literature.

If you can claim credit for all the history and culture of a two hundred year old municipality, that should make a candidate a shoe-in to office for the next several decades.don't you think.

But I digress.

A motion  is coming forward which will compel the town to take action  to compel owners of  heritage to  maintain their properties. .

It's in response to the  suggestion  the owner allowed the Browning house to fall into disrepair because of intent to demolish it and if it was in  such bad shape the town would be forced to issue a demolition permit.

There is absolutely no  evidence to support such a suggestion. 

When the Province  gave municipalities the right to designate properties without owner consent, they gave  owners the right to apply  for grants or loans from the municipality to pay the cost of maintaining the property in its authentic state. 

I voted against the designation of the N.E. quadrant neighbourhood
for two reasons. I do not believe it is an advantage to the municipality. On principle, I am not prepared  to contribute a cent to the cost of repairs to private property.

Furthermore, if we carried the principle of authenticity to the nth degree, instead of re-constructing  streets , installing chicanes and sidewalks and "rolling" curbs, which are no curbs, we should have torn up the asphalt, demolished the sidewalks and returned  the streets to  conditions  when  mode of transport was horse and buggy and shank's pony.

Residents in heritage neighborhoods should not be allowed to own cars. They too should be disallowed to drive automobiles within the confines of their " special" neighborhood.

If the rest of us can't drive on "their " streets, they should not be allowed to drive on "our"streets.

It's not my argument. It's theirs

.A resident recently came forward as spokesperson and  contended to Council ,only residents of the neighborhood  should be able to participate in the current review of the traffic calming, closed streets and traffic obstructions, to discourage drivers  from outside the neighbourhood ,who had by the way paid for the streets and the obstructions , from actually using  the  streets to get from here to there.

Anyway, to get back to Tim's and Chris's points, we  have all the power  we need to maintain every so-called heritage property.

We can finance re-roofing, .chimney pointing,  foundation repairs,  you name it, the town can fork out your tax dollars to pay for it.

Your own house can be falling down around your ears and not  a penny of assistance is available , but the town  can  make you pay for someone else's because it is in a "special" neighbourhood.

Needless to say Pollyanna regulations and recommendations all come from the public service.

They have a different perspective about taxes than the rest of us.
Understandably so. 

It seems the majority of our current council  have not yet realised  the fact. They think the administration and the political arm of the town's governance have the same objective.

When the town treasurer uses the phrase ''needs not wants"to justify budget increases, they think he means the same thing  the taxpayers might mean.

By the time they  realise the truth, after they've spent  money as though it grows on trees, the lesson will have been learned too late.

My friend Chris can indulge himself in single focus ideas about heritage property He has that luxury.

I have opted for  and been granted , with the assistance of Chris I may say, a different responsibility.


Anonymous said...

A great big Whack !

Anonymous said...

I hear Bob McRoberts speak but have since heard from a large number of people who regularly, because they have to, use the streets he wishes to keep ' in house' 'They have no option and he does not wish them to have a say in the matter. Seriously deluded thinking and intelligent letters in the Auroran show it clearly. He speaks for yet another ' entitled' group. Small, vocal, and NIMBY. The entire town is our backyard. It must be available to all residents, not a select few who claim preferential treatment.

Anonymous said...

If Former Councillor McRoberts wanted to gain Council's help for his narrowly constructed traffic plan, he might have been better off if he had shown any willingness to help them recoup the legal fees the former Mayor extracted from the Town. He has been strangely absent and silent on the court case against Ms Morris for breach of the Municipal Act. Those of us who saw her regularly demean him in front of the TV cameras at Council meetings find his reluctance puzzling. Me, I would want to go after that money if I had been dealt with so rudely and publicly.

Anonymous said...

Yahoo News has a CBC Report from Thur. Apr.5th about dismantling old playgrounds and replacing them with ' natural playgrounds' on half a dozen school properties in Windsor. Reminds me of our little ruckus over a piece of equipment. Didn't some self-styled 'expert' say ours could cause death?

Anonymous said...

it's too bad staff can't be required to live in Aurora - but then we don't have enough housing for a lot of people who work here. It would mean they would be getting outside the Town Hall strait jacket and meeting neighbours, going to the Market on the weekend, just
feeling the place. Driving home out of town doesn't cut it. Nor does attendance at fancy dress, big ticket events with one's so-called boss.

Anonymous said...

Christopher could prbably knock off that study at a more reasonable price & he'd likely employ local college kids over the summer. We're getting ripped off again, a usual. But I think i'd rather have him deal with our lack of communications department.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Bob got shellacked every meeting. Morris and Evilinea would tag-team him. My husband said men in the Hall would cringe. I thought he was out of politics. Guess not

Anonymous said...

Quit being so P.C. The guy blew it. He was Deputy Mayor with a whole lot more votes than Morris. We elected him and he couldn't/wouldn't fight back like Alison & Evelyn. Always too busy or unavailable if we are to believe what was reported. The Auroran was there. Ron would have printed his letters. He could have made a difference.He blew it period. Get over it. It happens.

Anonymous said...

So much for the idea of McRoberts helping Aurora. He should maybe stick to old post cards at the Center/Centre.

Anonymous said...

This is about garbage and communication and the Town website.

Thursday I checked the Town's website looking for information on Friday garbage collection since that day was a holiday. I spent several frustrating minutes getting all sorts of references to past council meetings, etc. Nothing about garbage collection alternative day.

Finally I Googled "Town of Aurora garbage collection Good Friday" and was immediately shown several alternatives from which to pick.

I took the first and lo and behold I had the information.

Do we really need a Town website when Google will do the job better and faster?

Anonymous said...

Is ' shellacked ' Irish, Scots or British? Great word. Up there with the "P' word you used earlier in the week.

Anonymous said...

6:35 PM
OK. As long as you guarantee McR hasn't deluded himself into considering a re-run. Suddenly he's all over the place. Those votes he received no longer exist for him. Sometimes voters do learn from their mistakes.
Let us down once, OK; twice, not OK.

Anonymous said...

Mr.McR needs to get his head out of his math & history books. My street once dead-ended in a field. Now it is a main arterial road, filled with vehicles all day. The sidewalks are packed with kids going to and from school, joggers, hikers, nannies, people walking their dogs, mailmen etc. The activity starts before dawn and lasts well into the night. We love it and feel fortunate. He can drive on our street when he wants, and we will use his streets when it is necessary. He must not be so insular.