"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

Sunday 23 June 2013

Communication Received and Responded

I was shocked to read the headline on page A5 of the Aurora Banner stating that the town was unlikely to help finance the Heritage Park concept.  I first heard about this project and saw the sketches at the April meeting of the Canadian Federation of University Women.  Everyone thought it was a wonderful project for the town.  It would revitalize the downtown and make it a welcoming place.  As it would back on to Fleury park, there are many opportunities for future ideas.  Although I live in Aurora, I go to Newmarket to enjoy Fairy Lake, skate at River Commons, and frequent the many restaurants and coffee shops on Main Street.  I would like the same atmosphere in Aurora.  I envision parking at the Community Centre and walking to Heritage Park and visiting the coffee shops and restaurants that would welcome me to Yonge St and surrounding area after my stroll in the park.My wish would also be for a future artificial outdoor rink in Fleury park as there seems to be room for this.  It could be serviced by the arena personnel at the Community Centre. Families would come to our downtown and keep it alive.

I can't believe that one councillor was quoted as saying "If it doesn't cost the town money, it would be wonderful".  I have lived in Aurora since 1974 and raised my family here.  I have waited and waited and waited for the $30 million in the Hydro fund to be spent on a project the town can be proud of.  This is the project. I urge you to support this, and I will be following the discussion and the vote.


Evelyn Buck

Begin forwarded message:

From: Evelyn Buck <evelyn.buck@rogers.com>
Date: June 23, 2013, 3:22:48 PM EDT

Cc: "mayor@aurora.ca" <mayor@aurora.ca>
Subject: Re: Heritage Park
Thank you for your input. I too  have an idea of how the Hydro Asset might be used  for the community's  best interest.

It does not involve spending millions of dollars  to take  million dollars , our breadandbutter  revenue out of our assessment base  to use  Yonge Strreet property  for a park. 

I doubt proponents of the project  outlined to the University Womens  Club  outlined how a municipality plans its parks..I doubt they know or care. 

My idea has been put forward  and won  Council's support some time ago but for a reason not hard to guess , Councils direction has not been followed. 

It involves demolishing  old worn out, no longer useful buildings that owe nothing  to the cxommunity and using the site for purposes already established  in popularity. 

Namely, the  State  of the Art  museum that Church Street School was renovated to accommodate at a cost of $2,3 million from the Hydro Asset and  several hundred thousand dollars raised in the community  by the Aurora Historical  Society  for the purpose

It  includes constructing  a building of several floors  to provide  multiple studio workshops 
for   people of  every age, to acquire proficiency and perhaps excellence in every art  imaginable not at the expense necessarily, of the taxpayers. 

The idea of   financial self-sufficiency is not an anathema to me nor I  imagine to any member of Council who understands why they were elected. 

On the other hand , current experience forewarns us of  a lack of self-sufficiency of the project promoted to your club .

Hillary House, completely and authentically furnished owned by Aurora Historical Society,  is not self-sufficient. The Society obtains a grant from the town of $50,000 a year, this year increased to $60,000 to keep a program going , despite all efforts at fund-raising,. 

A Board  operated Church Street School drains the town treasury of half a million dollars a year and enjoys free  use of our most precious heritage building. A building that symbolizes the vision of   a population of  two  thousand hard- working determined settlers,

Ms .......taking responsibility for decisions that will  affect a community years into the future is not the same as receiving a presentation during a pleasant evening of  association with one's professional peers. 

Thirty-three million dollars were derived from the sale of a very important asset. The decision was forced upon us by a senior level of government. 

Owning our own hydro utility was a significant advantage to the development of the progressive town  Aurora has been throughout her history.

A flash-in-the pan promotion  by a fly-by- night promoter who goes about soliciting support from influential  community groups , for them in turn to pressure Council to buy a pig in a poke  without by the way, putting any thought whatsoever into economic feasibility of the project. 

I was not here when Aurora was  settled. But I know where those people came from. I know what  they left behind. I know their hopes and dreams and their priorities and how hard they had to work. Fortunately for the well-being of themselves and more importantly , for their children, they  would have had no difficulty recognizing this  promotion  for the cash-grab  real estate scheme it  is. 

You have been frank with me Ms  ........ I  appreciate and respect your effort for what you think would be best for the community. do hope my own position on this issue  will enjoy the same respect. 

Evelyn Buck


Anonymous said...

For goodness' sake. Here we go again the the small groups with the loudest voices. Perhaps the Auroran can run a poll or the Town Communications outfit could do so. We do not need another annual drain from the tax base. Interesting that this occurs just when summer vacation kicks in.

Anonymous said...

I've lived here longer than your correspondent, and I agree completely with her.

You can't compare a project of vision, scope, and legacy with one that entails destruction and disrespect to a previous generation. Putting your 'pie in the sky' proposal in the middle of an already busy, congested area is ludicrous. Besides, your "vision" is a redundant one (a charge you often - and I do mean often - levelled at the Cultural Centre).

Also, you can't call the buildings "worn out" and "no longer useful" when they are, in fact, in use. Town staff is moving into the old library while Town Hall is being renovated, and now Seneca College wants to set up a "fab lab" there. I'm glad someone can see the renewed potential for our town's centennial project - particularly in this the 150th anniversary year. You'd think the one councillor who lived here in 1963 might feel the same.

Anonymous said...

That is a very well-crafted letter. It should impress the councillors as did the letters dealing with the waiving of fees for Saint Andrews. It totally fails to address the very real problems presented by this project which seems to keep switching about with each set of questions. There is nothing about the loss of taxable high-end real estate. Nothing about the fact that we do not need a park at that location. And there is no mention of sustainability.
Aurora has both The Centre & Hilary House, neither able to survive on their own. We need no more of them.

Anonymous said...

This Council cannot even agree on what to do with the land that Aurora already owns. Why should they want to add more to the useless inventory ?
Use what you have before acquiring more. Those buildings are NOT likely going to be sold anytime soon. And, if they were, so what?

Anonymous said...

@3:43 PM
Why is it so important to you and the original letter-writer to cite how long you have lived in Aurora? I have lived here an equal number of years and do not believe that this gives my opinion any more weight than that of a relative new-comer. It weakens your point by being in the lead sentence.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I am wrong. I do not believe that Aurora is the only site being considered for that ' fab lab '. Council has a lot more work to do there.

Anonymous said...

Our town is a rather typical middle-class community, with its share of senior citizens, retirement homes and a senior's centre, as well as a thriving population of families with school aged children.

Having travelled fairly extensively and visited numerous castles and cathedrals in many countries, it does become tiresome to see yet another one of these.

Heritage is important and must have an honoured place in our society. But sites that cater to it do so at a financial cost; they seldom cover their operating expense. And eventually they become boring because nothing happens; one always looks at inert objects.

Despite all the screeching over the Cultural Centre, hopefully in the past, it does provide the opportunity for our residents to interact with some of the events held there. There is some life and a relationship between performer and audience.

This is not the case with a museum and its many artefacts, no matter how important they might have been years ago.

Instead of contemplating the expenditure of a potential millions of dollars on three old houses, some of this money might be better spent on facilities that permit our entire population, of all ages, to participate in activities that improve our minds and bodies, and in their own way contribute to our mutual heritage.

Anonymous said...

3:43 PM
Please don't be so condescending. A lot of families in Aurora are very familiar with the Old Library.
Town Staff are using it because they have nowhere else to go. They are going to be very uncomfortable.
You could also cease the personal cracks at your host on the blog but that might be asking too much.

Anonymous said...

"Why is it so important to you and the original letter-writer to cite how long you have lived in Aurora? I have lived here an equal number of years and do not believe that this gives my opinion any more weight than that of a relative new-comer."

That is only true in regards to the ballot box.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time when people compare the "downtown" of Aurora to that of Newmarket. They are very different.

Newmarket's downtown is off the beaten track. You have to purposly go there. Aurora's is on Yonge Street. You happen by it on your way to other places. Newmarket's on a short quaint street. Aurora's is on a 4-lane highway that is on one of the longest streets in the world. Newmarket's has shops, restaurants, partking. Aurora's has banks, dentists, lawyers.

This "park" will do nothing for the Aurora downtown. It will not encourage anyone to come downtown.

Anonymous said...

10:39 PM
The ballot box & the tax office. That make us all equal residents. Sad that you don't understand that.

Happy NOT Sad said...

9:28 AM, the discussion was about the weight of opinion. The ballot box is where a resident can express their opinion about our town and its political representatives. The paying of municipal taxes is not an expression of opinion. Besides, it isn't "equal" - if your tax levy is greater than mine, you might feel that your opinion should count for more. Thankfully, it's one person, one vote.

Anonymous said...

11:23 AM
It's all just semantics to you.

Anonymous said...

No, 7:28 PM, it's not. It is often about educating, though.