"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 21 April 2012

It's Karma

On Tuesday, my two notices of motion will come before Council for debate. The Auroran has already asked Councillors what they think.

Councillor Abel indicates he has already asked staff what they think.

They think the site is too small.

Too small for what. The first motion deals with demolition of two
buildings. The  former library building determined to be inadequate for its purpose many moons ago.

The second originally a firehall with three bays.with a shack attached  for a club house for the boys. It was  vacated in the late seventies. Used as a parks building for a time and then renovated to serve as a seniors' club facility for probably twenty- five years.

It owes us nothing. 

It is currently used on a monthly lease by a  group so desperate for a place, they accepted it on those terms. It is their good fortune we have not made a decision for so long.

The Victoria Hall on the corner is dreary,basic, structure and  old. The land  is worth far more than any heritage value it may possess.Whether or not it stays  will  reflect the priority we place on something old and inadequate, as  opposed to the needs of a modern community.

We own  three -quarters of the Library Square block.

When I was Mayor in the seventies, Council designated the block as a civic square in the Official Plan.We probably owned half then. 

The idea was lost in the years between. But the new library was built there. The south west corner of the block was added to our

Decisions on the old library and firehall have been pending all of these years. Now we have the  need and we have the resources.

The decision is political. Council will direct. Staff will carry out the direction.

But first we must have input from the community. Surely not about demolition of old cast off, useless buildings. That's a given.

But  about  the  exciting and delightful opportunity to contemplate how they will be replaced, in an optimum location in the heart of the community without a whopping great tax burden. 

Not only do  we have the site, we have 33 million dollars set aside for something extraordinary. Something we  would love to have but never be able to contemplate as  a  tax burden.

Now we need the plan to bring the community together and dream 
 an entirely possible dream  and make it  a practical reality.

It's our building site, our funds, our community, our role together to bring  something marvelous and exciting into being.

Let's get at it.


Anonymous said...

Right now, Council needs this project right in the centre of Aurora. The Heritage Centre is still bubbling on the back burner and they are looking at running on paving sidewalks, an expensive useless software program & cleaning up old messes. They need to be able to point at all the activity and industry involved - not drive out of town for photo shoots.
Stick it right under peoples' noses and let them feel part of the team, to criticize and comment right through to the end.

Anonymous said...

"Surely not about demolition of old cast off, useless buildings. That's a given."

It is? Not with everyone, councillor.

Anonymous said...

I would prefer to read councillor Abel's statement to the Auroran if it said that " staff initially think that the site is too small but we think it might be perfect if we are creative with the planning and everyone works together to make it happen."

I like the concept. There will be some dragging of staff feet as this was not one of their chosen sites. So what? Let it be a Council Initiative.

Anonymous said...

Why does there need to be controversy? Surely no one is still holding out for high price condos to go on that site? The possibility of using it now for this purpose makes economic sense and is a challenge. I guess the usual screamers could hold meetings but Council must take the time to examine how the site could be best utilized. Good grief! We have plenty of time of hare-brained schemes. Give this idea a fighting chance before pouncing all over it.

Anonymous said...

It would be refreshing to have an activity centre that actually is controlled by the town and can be used to generate revenue. I'm so tired of hearing whining demands from people who give Aurora nothing of use in kind or kindness.

Anonymous said...

Unless you're going to build a multi-storey car park, anything else will just cause more congestion.

Anonymous said...

It can't just be ironic that you're proposing a new building on a site that Morris covetously had designs on, can it? Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

5:32 PM Have you actually noticed how few teens now drive everywhere? Gas and insurance are through the roof even if the family can afford a car for e teen's use. They get dropped off and car-pool everywhere and use the buses near the high schools. Yes, we will likely have to put in extra parking, but let's discuss how much and whether it should be partially underground before dismissing the entire idea.

Anonymous said...

@8:20, I don't dismiss the idea of a youth centre, far from it. I just don't think Library Square is a viable location for it.

Having a 'hang-out' spot is fine for those that only want to hang out. But, I agree with Al Downey's (& the consultant's) presentation about the need for proximity to sports, recreation, and outdoor spaces. Library Square doesn't provide all that.

I also don't agree with knocking down structures. I'd prefer to see adaptive re-use of any of our existing building stock.