"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 31 March 2014

A possible clue

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Only The Shadow Knows":

22:49- “Isn't necessarily from the Town’s grant” So how is that $70,000 being used? When they can stand up on their own feet and not ask for another red cent….your “hyperbolic outrage” comment may be valid. Until then….expect any and all types of “outrage”.


The Aurora Sports Hall of Fame  sent out a bulletin last week.  A Trillium grant  of  $192,000 has been received providing  for a new staff person.

Their  address is the Aurora Town Hall.

Remember when the erstwhile jazz festival applied for a Trillium grant. The Town had to support  them  to validate  purpose for a trillium grant.

Maybe the Historical Society has received  a Trillium grant as well.

If you know how to work the system and all parties co-opeate, the money just flows.

It may be why the Aurora Historical Society continues to exist.

No money is provided in the Town's budget to operate the museum.

We have a room in Church Street School. We have  artifacts.

Funds flow freely in grants to organizations  allowing them to hire staff .

But no operating funds for the town's museum.

New lessons learned

I should have added the Heritage Act is permissive legislation. Municipalities don't have to.

I  once had to explain to a lawyer  the difference  between mandatory and permissive .After I  answered his query he  sarcastically asked where I received my legal training

I wish I had  time to follow trends.

Mr. Bray, the Heritage Consultant  states there are 31 districts designated  in Ontario.

There are 444 municipalities in Ontario.

One of the districts is in Aurora and we are spending taxpayers money  again to create a second.

One is underway in Kingston.  A Councillor hopes it will be  completed by the 2014
election.   Mr. Bray is quoted in the Kingston Plan as well.

It would be useful to know why  the Heritage Act was amended by the Province.

It wouldn't be surprising to find  municipalities cited in  the magazine Money  Sense
as best places to live in Canada , as the same  with Heritage Districts.

Considering  financial and monitoring responsibility that goes with authority to designate.
it's easy to see how a whole new industry could be created with opportunities for an army
of heritage consultants and planners.

It  brings back the question of where the  pressure came from for municipal  authority
to  impose district designation.

Supporters of designation  argue insurance  protection  is not affected.

Opponents have discovered something different. An insurance representative merrily
gives verbal  assurance  designation makes no difference. Asked  for assurance in writing
draws a different response.

There are insurance companies which will not insure designated properties.

We all know about fine print .

What a catastrophic lesson to discover after a designated house is lost ,that  authentic heritage
replacement cost is not covered  by the policy.

Informal chats between provincial  bureaucrats and representatives of  the insurance industry would not  count for much in the circumstance.

How much responsibility would the municipality have for leading people to believe  the problem
does not exist?

The issue has been raised in public. The problem is denied .

How much legal responsibility does a consultant have ?

Sunday 30 March 2014


Dear Editor,
Mayor Dawe uses some of the information from MoneySense magazine to paint a rosy picture of Aurora's property taxes. The use of averages, without deeper examination can give an inaccurate picture. Here are some other Aurora measures gleaned from MoneySense.
a) Aurora is rated # 24 across Canada.
b) Average income, $133,000 - 6th highest in Canada.
c) Average home value, $560,000.
d) Net household worth, $833,000.
e) Average discretionary income, $63,600.
These numbers may help individual citizens decide whether our local taxes are appropriate and affordble.
Robert Cook


Some of these figures are used by the treasurer  when introducing increased spending.

 High  average income and high average post-secondary education are  apparently  justification for steady increases in taxation.

The service level  consultant study submitted  to Council in December noted high cost of service reflected  high  level  and  high quality of service.

It's a measure of how things have changed over the years.

Spending used to be  measured against the ability of those least able to pay.

All the  airy -fairy schemes  that permeated this  term of office  are a reflection of  Council's
assumption of wealth and disposable income in the community.

The high salaries paid to  the town's top administrators don't contribute to the statistics.

They do not live in our town.

Preservation of worthless relics..????

When I was re-elected  in 2003. I had been out  fourteen years. I had some catching up to do.

The Heritage Act  had been amended to  give municipalities authority to impose  heritage designation
 I wondered why . Change  never comes without pressure. The answer was not immediately obvious.

No time wasted  in Aurora  designating the north east quadrant.  I  thought it was a bit of a stretch
but it wasn't something I cared to argue. Owners who didn't want to be part were able to opt out.

No  controversy erupted.

The situation  with the south east  area is different.

Request  for  district designation came from one opposed to re-development.  Control  of the neighborhood was the obvious  objective.

The area includes Wellington Street and Victoria Street;  properties with different long-term uses expectations and  investment.

Opposition to heritage designation and all that entails quickly  became evident.

Carl Bray ,the Heritage Consultant  doing the "study" for the town, described opposition  as a
"significant minority"

 It was an interesting choice of words.

 Opposition was apparently  not  to be  taken seriously.

Subsequently opponents  organized and brought their arguments directly to Council's attention.

Whereupon accusations of fear-mongering and  spreading mis- information  quickly spread throughout the land.

It often happens when there's no  rebuttal.

The other eventuality is  the politicians' dance  of weave and bend and twist in the wind.

If there is insufficient intestinal fortitude to fulfill the role, it is  a pathetic sight to behold.

Now the controversy commands community attention.

The town budgeted $100,000  for the "study"  The contract was let for $67,000. Funds  came from general tax revenue.

It's not clear to me why.

The HeritageAct authorizes a municipality to impose heritage designation.

It's not clear to me why.

Authority  carries responsibility to  monitor and ensure a designated district is  restored and maintained in its authentic heritage  character.

Heritage  Designation  is registered against title of  every property in the district.

It's not policy...guideline ...or flexible option.  It's law.

It must be  enforced ...by  the corporation and  obeyed by private property owners.

We already have a heritage planner on the payroll. With two designated districts, monitoring and
enforcement will compel a new division within the corporation.

Inevitably, it will increase the tax burden.

Without as much as a by-your-leave or a smidgin of consultation.

Misinformation...lack of  communication... there's plenty  about.

There can be no doubt insurance on property will be impacted by cost to restore property
constructed a hundred years ago.

Mortgage financing  is not available without insurance to cover the risk.

Marketability is reduced by restrictions on use .

The corporation  does not benefit by maintaining old,inadequate,unsafe housing
on large lots, taking up more than their share of infrastructure, producing less than their share of assessment revenue to pay for fire protection, police protection and other services provided by the municipality, including violin and piano concerts by world renowned musicians and esoteric art shows.

The question of reducing numbers of councillors  and a ward system drew good response.
Better than the open house  on the joint facility the Mayor thought was  wildly successful.

We didn't even talk about how the town could practically be divided into wards.

Now let's hear from you about all these perishing heritage designations being undertaken
at the expense of the community at large and without support of the inmates.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Only The Shadow Knows

Born  of  wealth and privilege, St.Andrew's College might have been our Alma Mater.

We would have participated in theatre arts and a debating society and  become masters of the latter art.

No matter.  We can learn . This media provides the opportunity.

A question  under discussion  is  sufficient number of Council seats?  6 or 8

The task is to discover the merits  and prepare oneself to  argue for one or the other.

Rules  are civility and timing.

The first means  no invective, personal criticism of an opponent's intellect  is a no-no.

"Ya. yir ma wears army boots."  is not appropriate.

Itwould be definite lack of decorum . Points would be lost .

Timing in this media is not material but  precision matters. Rambling cost points.

Consider what is known.

In living memory,Aurora always had eight councillors since  a population of 5,000
and half its geographic area.

 With the creation of Regional goverment in 1971, with a population of 11,000. authority was given to reduce the size of Council.

It was proposed and promptly rejected by the community. The feeling was one of deprivation of rights.

Fast forward to 2010. Contemplate the last term of Council.

Fury swept through the community. Three citizens were sued during the election campaign by the Mayor using tax resources, compelling them to incure massive legal cost to defend themselves.

Already a strong  campaign had been mounted to replace the Mayor and five incumbents.

Twenty candidates were registered for eight  seats.

Despite a massive effort the campaign was only partially successful.

Turn-out, always the key ,only increased by .5 %

The Mayor 's office was handily won by a candidate without experience of municipal government.   A first in living memory.

Four  Councillors of unknown quantity , were elected.

Two  incumbents  and  a follower , all affirmed disciples  of the former Mayor, were re-elected.

A fifth was  squeezed out by the narrowest of margins.

A powerful campaign was only half successful

So, what did we learn?

Elections are hard. The electorate is a strongly independent entity. They do the best they can with what's available.

Half the Mormac Cabal  was re-elected.

New untried members  elected did not fulfill the promise of change.

Would  fewer numbers have  provided quality over quantity?

Would  candidate  selection  be enhanced  by a reduction in  Council seats?

How say you?

Mind..... no name calling.  It proves nothing .

And forby, how do I know you're not a candidate attacking  the competition. ?

If I do it, everybody knows it's me.

 If anonymous does it only The Shadow Knows.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

They know not what they do

Voter turnout in the last few elections.

2010 - 38.5%
2006 - 38%
2003 - 33%
2000 - 41%
1997 - 33.8%
1994 - 40%

A Special Meeting of Council was held on  Monday to choose wording for a question on the ballot on wards. 

Council previously approved putting  the  question on the ballot in  October's election. 

Wording is as follows:
1. Are you in favor of electing all Aurora councillors, other than the Mayor, by ward vote instead of 
     Town -wide vote?
2.  Are you in favor of reducing the number of  councillors. other than the Mayor, from eight(8) 
     to six (6)  councillors?


I understand  for the question to be binding,  voter turnout  must be 50%.

As noted above, the closest  turnout  in  the last five elections (twenty years) was the year 2000  
Turnout was 41%.

Each election cited had a mayoralty contest.

When there is none ,turnout can be and generally is as low as 20%.

Council also  recently passed a resolution to allow for "re-call" if enough people signed a petition.

Premier Kathleen Wynne  has announced  new legislation  to place  municipal councils under the oversight of  Ontario Ombudsman , Andre Morin.

Mr.Morin is not admired in government circles. He first came to eminence with the Special Investigative Unit, oversight of police where a death has occurred.

He was relieved of responsibility for that job.

Eyebrows raised when he was appointed Ontario Ombudsman. 

Aurora's  Mayor has commented  publicly  if he really  had CEO  authority, there would be changes
at the Council table.

He did not specify.

I will not speculate.

At a time ,when one hopes citizens are contemplating candidacy,  what encouragement is there in all of this  to take additional risk.

The Code of Conduct Act, Integrity Commissioner legislation. Conflict  of Interest  Act.

Ontario Water Act that could find  an entire Council guilty of an inditable offence punishable by jail time.

The normal  everyday process of  being a candidate carries its own self-inflicted  costs and penalties.

$100. registration :

Thousands  of dollars  costs of a  campaign.

Audited financial statements at the end of it;

Hundreds  of milles walked; thousnads of steps and stairs climbed.

Thousands engaged , at least half  with no interest in the enterprise.

On the fateful night,watching  the tally and finally, potential public rejection.

There are always more candidates than  seats.

People have always done it. Some, out of conviction ,two or three times before being elected.

Most never  risk it again.   It is not an enviable experience.

Now we have the Honorable Kathleen Wynne's government ,eviscerating the people's right to choose
and live with their selection.

At what point does priceless liberty become, for an individual, not worth the  price?

Are we perhaps there already ?

People  have authority and  power, who know not what they do

Saturday 22 March 2014

I'll be fine

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Compare prices":


Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 21 March 2014 18:58


I'm alright. I just need some time.

My sister was  twenty-two months older. Our childhood was as one. I knew her as well as I knew myself. 

I'm not ready to write about it. Maybe  I never will. 

But for now, I can't  write about anything else. 

I just need some time. 

Thursday 20 March 2014

Compare prices

An in-camera  session was held after Council meeting on Tuesday. The item to be discussed was Hallmark Cards property on Vandorf  Sideroad.

It's for sale.

It's twenty nine acres. Has warehouse facilities of 29 thousand square feet.

Asking price is $17 million dollars.

Similar properties in town have been on the market a number of years.

The town is proceeding with a plan for a joint works and parks facility on  4 or 5 acres with
an estimated $3 million  needed to make it into a developable site.

Estimate  cost of the project,  including land.  is $26. million .

Where's the logic?

Wednesday 19 March 2014

The Vigil Has Ended

My sister died at  five o' clock last night.

I am finding it hard to compose my thoughts.

I will be back in touch soon.

Monday 17 March 2014

A Week of Vigil

I had to go to Ottawa yesterday. My sister  Kathleen is hospitalized . She has ben placed on palliative care.

It was hard to leave and  it's hard to focus. .

I was able to say goodbye . I know she is in a good place.

Kathleen's children are with her. This week will be a vigil.

Thursday and Friday the litigation resumes in a court house in Oshawa.

This my be the week my attention  is distracted.

This is by way of an explanation beforehand.

Saturday 15 March 2014

What will be , will be

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Grace needs Assurance":

Let Grace decide.
The Council can still be a nasty scene. too many residuals and heaven knows what is coming out of the underbrush.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 15 March 2014 19:16


Of course Grace will decide. No pressure intended ,   No offence either by not mentioning others. 

When Grace  resigned I felt the community was short-changed, It wasn't meant to be that way. 

Grace needs Assurance

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

I would love to see Grace run but she took such a nasty hammering with the last council that I hesitate to even suggest such a thing. I felt so badly because we had voted for her & encouraged others to do so

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 15 March 2014 12:51


It's because of what happened in the last term that I think Grace needs to be encouraged.

And  it's about the town's  needs. 

Grace's Dad was a Captain in the  Beaches fire department. 

It's an area with a strong sense of identity. People who grew up there speak of their background with pride.

Grace has  that sense of pride in  public service.  It's not  an idle cliche. We  are  short on identity  and commitment on  Council.

There's  too much cold calculation of  " what's in it for me "

FYI< there's  a referendum  campaign in Scotland now about Separation.

Except for language, it's not unlike the roils and rumbles we hear from  Quebec.

Except the Scots might be a tad more deliberate and have less to lose,

The Irish still want the Northern Territory back.  Kind of like Russians and Crimea .

The  Irish  practiced  terrorism , with funs from Americans, until the mothers decided ...when they had to bury children...they had had enough.

Doesn't really matter where in Europe, passion is never far from the surface .memories
never fade and it  doesn't take much to start an argument and get the blood boiling.

The  new rigeur for blog will not include occasional waspish comments.

We are advised  the trolls  are  being fed  too much .

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "All Join In The Chorus":

How can we have an honest discussion without opposing views?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 15 March 2014 11:01


I didn't say  I would  delete opposing views.

A difference of opinion and a mean and spiteful, venomous attack are not the same.

A rational argument is not enhanced by  aspersions on character, moral or intellectual.

That's why Parliamentary Rules of Order  require  the person who has the floor to speak only to the question on the table.

Speaking of which, Grace Marsh should be encouraged to  be a candidate in the next election.

Grace  has a wealth of knowledge and integrity to  bring to a Council .

We are not short of ability in Aurora. But we do need to restore confidence.

No Irish Need Apply

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Hallelujah I'm a Bum":

Please. what do you now about this " European Club " meeting at the town hall called by a woman running for Council ? does she have to pay for the use of the facilities & what might a ' European club ' be since we have solid european roots & have never heard of it

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 15 March 2014 08:58


I haven't heard about the European Club.

Any one can use the Council Chamber .There's a User Fee.

I  know of one woman candidate .  Svetlana suggests Russian but that  could cover  a number of new/old  Baltic States.

The candidate  has been making her presence felt for some time.

A corner of Bayview and St.John's Sideroad  has a designation for commercial development.

There was a  delegation to demand trees not be removed. The town was being denuded .

Next  request was for the Town to buy the land and turn it into a  park much-needed in the new neighborhood.

After that, a delegation of support for the tree bylaw.

 Also support for acquisition of the six acre school site no longer required by the separate school board for a much-needed park.

Then registration as a Candidate.

Then husband recruited and selected for Board of Historical Society under leadership f John McIntyre and William Albino.

And now formation of a European Club.

It's been a while but I don't think citizens of the  tight little Island known as the United Kingdom
generally speaking identify themselves as anything but English, Norther Irish ,Scottish  and Welsh .
 Well, the English also self- identify as Brits. It's a peculiar affectation they have.

Some Canadians identify them as  " Bloody  Limeys"  But the English are sublime in the certainty of superiority.

I'm not sure  any citizens of  Europe  self-identify  as Europeans

Certainly Asian people would not .

So I  think, by a process of elimination, one  must assume a meeting of a European Club in the Town Hall would have no political  reference in the Town of Aurora.

It must be social.

If there is an invitation ,it must be  seen to be exclusive.

All Join In The Chorus

I am advised nasties flourish when they are fed . ... Ignored....they vanish.

I think of the  movie Ghost with Deborah Winger and  Whoopi Goldberg. 

Two  scenes of  awful  snarling and groaning emanating from shadows  and black, ghoulish shapeless forms  rising from the subterranean.

I assume the advice is ,  if  unpublished ,  discouragement sets in .... they simply give up
the ghost and vanish.

Sounds like a plan. 

In politics, when you do what you think is right, you can't avoid having some  people mad at you  some of the time. 

When  residents from a  hood come out  shouting and demanding and reminding you they vote ,they don't like to be reminded they're not alone and  decisions need to reflect  best interest of the whole .

They get what they want from the cringing majority  some of the time but none of  time do  any of them look good in the process .  They always need somebody to blame .

I have a broad back.  From taking more whacks than pats.

When I was very young I  took my revenge with the cutting  phrase.

It's a peculiarly Scottish trait. 

I  discovered there was no real satisfaction in wounding people. Especially if they  were not-equipped   
to fight back.

I would be filled with shame and remorse

Half my life, I struggled with that conflict .

Then I discovered politics. I knew I had come home. 

I had to learn the discipline but the fight was  always legitimate.

My foot was finally on the right path . 

I was a happy warrior.

Then Blog came into my life. 

That  discipline also  has been an on-going learning  process. 

A community continues to grow around this new outlet in our lives. 

But we do have  gremlins.

I've tried to discern but there's no choice between veiled  and real .

They are all just plain mean and nasty.

So....I  accept the advice.  No longer will blog provide sustenance to aliens

Benefit of the doubt will no longer be an option. 

The knell will fall. 

The finger will poke .

Friday 14 March 2014

Hallelujah I'm a Bum

Guelph University is closing two  satellite camps to cut costs.

I love it when I'm right.

Recently town staff were out  soliciting potential  locations to offer to Windsor University
as a satellite campus

Owners  were asked if they would be willing to sell their property and if so what would be the price.

I've never heard of that method of public acquisition of  property.

Among other points in an argument , I  referred to York University having to  cancel programs to cut costs.

Attracting a post-secondary institution  is an objectives  of the  town's Strategic Plan .  No doubt  contributing to the aim of " an exceptional quality of  life for all "

The consultant study  was budgeted at  $80,000.

There was already a Strategic Plan.  An update  required review it and changes  wherever necessary.

Didn't need to spend  money.

But  high -flying objectives of excellence and exceptionality were in the wind.

Staff have pursued  other  objectives  that came to nought.

Yesterday we heard that Staples is closing stores. Taking sales on line.

We just approved a three million, three year plan to replace plain with patterned concrete sidewalks.

That's part of the Promenade Study.

Build it and they will beat a  path to the doors of stores .   Not likely.

If I were a cartoonist, I would draw a picture of  a straight line of ostriches ,posteriors in full view with  signs hanging from their tail feathers.

Comment to Comment

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Save The Town Harmless":

Drones in themselves are not that heavy. It's the bomb that does them in.
So a structurally strengthened roof might not be a prerequisite. And a bit
of greenery on half of the roof would be a nice touch.

The region would, of course, not want one but six so that the component
municipalities could be the equal to the others, regardless of physical
size, population or tax rate.

The Department of National Defence could not handle this topic. It is too
small, too simple, and too inexpensive in relative terms. The Department is
only comfortable when it deals in billions spread over many years, projects
that are invariably postponed or cancelled outright, projects with which
the Prime Minister is enamoured.

I'm all for committees but Mr. Bezos does not function in that environment.
I just finished a very good biography of him. He actually is a dictator,
but he does get results.

It would be altogether too embarrassing to introduce him to the three
councillors you name, embarrassing to us - you and me - not to them.


I  probably should  pace myself on  comment moderation.

There's a ton of spam. The nasties are still with us. Some comments  I don't  publish for one reason or another and judging by the  number of accidental deletions, my finger is slipping when it shouldn't.

A comment yesterday  indicated  suspicion that  someone is being paid to monitor the blog.

It;s actually a fact

In the last term a public statement was  made that a communications manager with a Master's Degree in English would be hired.

The person doing the job competently for almost a decade didn't have a Master's Degree. I have good reason to believe she objected to the monitoring bit.

Seemed apparent she wouldn't get the job.

She didn't.

The person hired didn't have a Master's Degree either. He's not on the job now either.

At the time of  the  job announcement, terms of reference referenced monitoring  blogs and correcting inaccuracies.

Haven't noticed any corrections  since.

Which isn't to say blogs are not being monitored,

Just that they haven't contained inaccuracies.

Or a variation of the two.

Which raises the  perennial questions..... How well are our tax dollars being monitored?

A tin foil hat  for the  first answer.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Another accidental deletion

A comment posted at 19.20 p.m. was accidentally deleted.  Sorry

Send it again  and it will be posted.

Thank you.

In another comment ,I was asked to correct the understanding that I am not paid.

There is no misunderstanding. I  am not paid to publish  the blog.

I  comment on town business as a Councillor.

It wouldn't feel right to be selling advertising

Now...if I  wasn't  a councillor.....I could really let it rip.

Fasten your seat belts...it's going to be a bumpy ride

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Musical Accompaniment Please":

But what happens when the audience doesn't want to see the end of the play the way the cast have written it ?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 10 March 2014 16:31


If a tree falls in the forest and there's no-one there to hear it...does it make a sound? 

I'm not sure if I have that right but it's good enough for my purpose. 

No play  is complete without an audience.

They are much a part of the drama as  characters on the stage.

This play is like a T.V. serial.

The  episode dealing with three trees ,not theirs, was prompted by neighbors.  The  characters  on stage picked up the theme and  ran with it , making absolute fools of themselves  in the process with no help from anyone else.

The  audience  knew how it  must turn out .

The question would be how many meetings ? how much bafflegab before the undignified end.

A betting  pool could be set up on how long .... Not how it would turn out.

The saga of the cell tower in King Township .  Eagerness  to spend thousands  on legal fees to compel Bell to dismantle the cell tower was a farce identical.

The six acre site on Mavrinac;  the town has embarked on a legal battle to compel the owner to sell for a fraction of its value with no identifiable need because neighbors don't want to see  houses where they've become accustomed to vacant space.

The Mayor and Council have been commended  for heroic action in the matter with a web site to keep residents informed of the play by play right up to the election.

The proposed  S.E. Heritage  designation that cost $67,thousand for a consultant and  turns out not to be about heritage at all.

It's about  some property-owners preventing other property-owners from exercising  their   right of property ownership.

I could go on and on.

No sooner is one scene over than another begins.

We live in an age of shameless entitlement. I want it. Give it to me or else.

Yes sir  Yes sir    three bags full .

It's tiresome and tedious...repetitious and predictable...often dull with the same characters playing the same roles.

But no matter how banal the script .... the audience cannot leave before the play is ended

It's their  job to bring down the curtain.

Save The Town Harmless

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Highest and Best Use of Time ?":

I feel it important to note that those opposing the Joint-Ops have, with the exception of Cllr Buck, refused to consider any other alternatives. And that those supporting it have, with the exclusion of Cllr Buck, refused to consider any alternatives.
It shows how solidified and inflexible both sides have been in their needs to present their desires.
We elected ALL the councillors to work together. Cllr Buck cannot bridge that gap by herself.
Have a good night. I'm going to read the Auroran and try not to get too ticked off at the ongoing stupidity of the current council- All of them with one lonely exception.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 11 March 2014 19:29


I think it's important to note  there has  only  been  one side to the question of  providing better  accommodation for  public works and parks .

There had  been no opposition.

With the exception of myself, everyone had gone along with  staff recommendations until the last  estimate of cost was presented.

Only then did Councillors Gallo, Ballard and Gaertner take the same position as myself .

The price was too  rich.  Financing was not clear. There needed to be a better understanding .

It was obvious  by the orchestrated response  the other five had already had their deliberations,
marshalled the arguments,  the votes  were lined up and the decision was mad

I  noted the obvious. The   decision had  already been made by the Mayor and four Councillors before Council had convened.

It was not denied.

The Mayor responded with an accusation that  "you" meaning myself  Councillors Gallo,Ballard and Gaertner   "do that too "

I am rarely dismayed.

I  understand the only sure thing in politics is not a sure thing.

It's hard to describe  the shock of utter futility of that moment.

I left the Council Chamber.

If there is no common understanding of the purpose of a Council , how can the purpose be realized?

If a plane has no pilot or a ship is without a captain, can  passengers and  crew have  any confidenec of reaching a destination without coming to harm?

Wednesday 12 March 2014

You...out there

I've never heard the phrase "Jewish lightning  " before.  I have no idea what it means . I took a chance it was harmless.

It was the former Mayor who made the  scarcely veiled threat about the police searching a councillor's  home .

I used  it to illustrate how the current Council is much improved over the last.
You had to be a part  of it to  appreciate what a nightmare it was.

I have received  a comment providing details about requirements for police to make a search  of a person's home , It's good information for people to know.

It affirms  how far the former Mayor was prepared to go to intimidate Councillors who failed to fall to her feet in fear and trembling.

If the contributor would please re-send without the reference to our current Mayor, I will publish it.

Pollyanna? .. Absolutely not.

Voters make the rules in election politics. A  politician must listen to learn.

The last election was an aberration like the term of office that preceded it.

Something I read triggered a memory this morning.

 The former Mayor glowered across the table in my direction and said;

"I have had a conversation with the Police Chief. The  regional police have authority to search a person's home"

The comment was apropos of nothing .A less seasoned politician would have felt the threat .

Certainly  an unwary listener might  easily have wondered and never guessed  the explanation.

The  current term has been an improvement over the last but not  in the  context  the current  Mayor and Council might wish.

Voters  make the  rules in an election. They don't vary much. A  politician would -be if he/she could-be will hear  them if they listen. 

If they give you time and attention , the rules are as follows;

 do not ask how they intend to  vote. 

Do not attempt to tell  them how to vote. 

Tell them about yourself .

Don't  tell them why they shouldn't vote for  another candidate. 

Not everyone who gives  you the time of day intends to vote but everyone has the right and  respect is due. 

First impressions are physical.  If you are knocking  to bring a person to the door, how you project matters .

Campaigning on foot was never my forte. Less so  now than ever before. 

I  don't make promises. I have but a voice and a single vote.  

I will defend my position.  

I  don't attack other candidates.  

We are all out there  engaged in the same pursuit with the same objective.

It's easier for some than others but it's not a walk for anyone. 

We all court public rejection. 

I have to make a  new decision about the blog. 

Town issues are par for the political course and will  continue to be vigorously discussed. 

Hotly disputed positions are welcome.

Personal attacks  are off limits.  

I can't let the blog say what I would not say myself  on the campaign trail. 

It's open for discussion 

Not all that meets the eye

Since last Tuesday Councillors have received five lengthy e-mails extolling the   unique beauty of the  S.E. proposed  heritage neighborhood.

Undoubtedly they are the ratepayers'  who initiated the request for heritage designation.

I'm not sure how familiars the consultant, Councillors  and staff  may be with housing stock
in the old part of town.

I'm familiar with number of areas and properties do not conform to the idyllic picture presented.

Soon after I came to Aurora, I went looking at homes in the old part of town. Taxes were cheaper
and all amenities called for a drive from our neighborhood.

When  an attractive house on Wells Street went on the market, I took the tour. The only nice thing about it was the balcony. Ceilings on the ground floor were ten feet high . Second floor bedrooms  had head room was only in the centre. Basement was dirt floor and unusable .

A son lived in a house at the bottom of Tyler hill. When the creek flooded  so did the basement.

 Another on the east side  was garage , rented  out as living space.

In a flat on Walton Drive, entrance to the basement was by trap door in the floor and ladder .

Finally  bought a semi on Metcalfe Street. House too old , lot too narrow for any possibility of renewal or renovation.

Another son  live in a flat in a house on the east side of Larmont Street . No property. Just house.

One daughter lived in a fire trap on a corner on Centre Street for a year to save money for a down payment.

Another in a third floor flat on Catherine  which only had  head room in the centre space.

I've visited  homes with basements flooded with  raw sewage when the creek  flooded .The creek meanders throughout the town  .

A house on Catherine, with  bulging plaster walls  and ceilings detached from lathe, sloping floors
narrow stairs  to the second floor sloped against an outside wall  and a basement without head room dug out after the fact.

Another I re-call , three or four up from Yonge Street where the ceiling actually did collapse from age.

I've seen plenty of housing in the old town  not only inadequate but downright  unsafe and would never meet modern building code standards.

Housing in the old part of town is by no means universally  idyllic. Much of it should be replaced
rather than protected.

Throwing  a  Hudson Bay blanket over it and calling it heritage  will not change the reality.

Even if  all property owners were persuaded it was in their interest.

Which they are not.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Comment Deleted in Error

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Highest and Best Use of Time ?":

I feel it important to note that those opposing the Joint-Ops have, with the exception of Cllr Buck, refused to consider any other alternatives. And that those supporting it have, with the exclusion of Cllr Buck, refused to consider any alternatives.
It shows how solidified and inflexible both sides have been in their needs to present their desires.
We elected ALL the councillors to work together. Cllr Buck cannot bridge that gap by herself.
Have a good night. I'm going to read the Auroran and try not to get too ticked off at the ongoing stupidity of the current council- All of them with one lonely exception.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 11 March 2014 19:29

Highest and Best Use of Time ?

The previous post opened with a compliment to myself.

Thank you.   I needed that.

Mayor Dawe and Councillor Abel have difficulty concealing impatience when I  talk.

Rules of order state  a member recognized  has the floor and shall speak without interruption.

I try to organize my thoughts . I  often start , as I do in a post , from experience to make my point.

The Mayor's habit  now is to interrupt with the question "What does that have to do with
the issue"  without giving me the chance to complete the reference.

He signals with a twirling finger to speed it up.

The  actions display  more about the Mayor .

Respect for the Chair  and the process is ingrained after all the  years   The discipline is hard to shake.

But  there is a negaative effect.  Especially when Councillor Abel echoes the Mayor .

" That's  right' he says " we don't want to hear the story"

Councillor Abel  takes out his day book and puts his time  to better use copying details of upcoming events  to  attend.

He  reports  each week during Public Service Announcements  section of the  Council Agenda.

The minutes frequently reflect a page or more .

I was not a Councillor when that  agenda item was created. I've never understood  the connection to corporation  business   Yet  it takes precedence.

A decision  on $26 million for a public works and parks yard and garage  was made  between 10.30 to 11.00 p.m.

By the way, the $26 million price tag is an estimate.

Specifications  and tender documents need to be prepared and bids called.

Three months  are allowed before closing. Letting a contract a highly legalistic process.

This  contract  is multi- faceted.

Bids are to state a price  without this or  that or the next thing ???

Sub contractors will be involved.

Any contractor  along the line could lose his shirt if he's not careful.

Bids  will undoubtedly be sufficient to ensure against that possibility.

Analysis of the bids  will be complicated.

Estimates,  while in our hands, more than doubled.

Final price of the final product and final timing of completion cannot  yet be secure.

Problems, if they occur, could be front and centre at the time of election.

How smart is that?

Could it have been avoided ?

Would sufficient time for deliberation, with attention of all Council encouraged, at a reasonable time in the evening,  have made a difference?

Could the decision have been unanimous insteaad of half of Council opposed.. Those are not good odds for a decision of this magnitude.

No great assurance to the community the decision was the right one.

We will never know the answer  to the question because it was not allowed to happen.

A Different Slant On Things.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Musical Accompaniment Please":


As the sole member of Council who thinks before they speak, does it drive you bonkers having to sit there and listen to all the gibberish that flows out of their mouths?

It would be interesting to see a list of all the studies, plans, and consultants that gushed forth from the previous term, and then compare it with what this term has done by way of continuing studies, plans and consultants, plus actual implementation, at a cost into the multi millions in some instances, and in others at a cost of a mere multi thousands.

I have never heard of a municipal government giving money to individual businesses for the purchase of paint or awnings or a pair of brass cuspidors to be used for plantings to brighten up the sidewalk, make people stop, park their cars and then rush forward and shop like mad so that the cash registers are making rock 'n roll music.

Is a heritage designation supposed to increase property value or diminish it? Has a study been done into this?

The housing market in parts of Toronto is going absolutely crazy. Ordinary houses are the subject of multiple bids - 25 in one case - and some houses are selling for $250,000 more than list price, i.e. up into the mid $900,000 area. I don't know if heritage plays a part in this.

Too bad we can't lure some of this money to our town.

But this is just more silliness, to prove that crazies live in big cities as well as in small towns. Are we still a small town or have we graduated up a notch?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 10 March 2014 21:2

The Case Can Be Argued

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Little Bt of Background":


Of course your hair style is perfect....... if you have hair (probably don't).

Why do you permit attacks to sitting members of council because of their looks? There is a huge pot/kettle thing out there.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 11 March 2014 07:

Is  it a political  comment  ?     Is it personal ?

Does  appearance  matter  in a person elected or appointed to represent  the municipality?

I think it does. 

Who is  more responsible for maintaining  respect for public office ,elected or appointed that the person privileged to hold the office. 

I object to a Director at the Council chamber in shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbows or wearing a golf shirt.

It shows lack of judgement.

I object to  a shirt open at the neck  displaying vast expanses of  skin .

Sprawling in  chair  or reading from a  lap top to pass the time is offensive to me.

But I digress. It's a failing I have and readily admit. to being an imperfect human being.

Hair style is a personal choice.  Except for  when it's lost.

Image is projected by style.

If I wore  short tight skirts ,plunging neckline ,stilletto heels  and dyed my hair red, aside from having difficulty maintaining  my balance ,I would look ridiculous, frightful, unmindful of my years, lacking in judgement and  stark raving mad.

I would quickly become the talk of the town.

By contrast, Councillor Gallo's hair style is mild. That it  attracts comment  is not  beyond  the political.

I think he  probably takes it in his stride.

I rest my case.

Monday 10 March 2014

Music Maestro Please

An election is an evolving drama without a script.

In rge next six months we will watch it evolve. With  social media we will  plau a role. .

Anyone with a town address is a potential candidate.

I think Tim the Enchanter would be an excellent candidate. But I have no odea who he is.

Ka-non as well .He makes cogent points  with a calm and deliberate style.

The Masyor's chair is key.  New Councillors need  guidance. Otherwise they are floundering andcompletely dependent on the bureaucracy.

To be fair to the incumbent, no-one has ever been elected  in Aurora to the office without experience .
I don't mean management experience.  I mean knowing what people expect from you and having the wherwithall to deliver.

We have watched how  this term has turned out . It's been a sad  and expenssive disappointment.But maybe not unexpected.

And whatever it was not  ,it was better than the last

Municipal politics is not like the other two. No party platform to hide behind  or tie one's hands.
We exercise judgement ,or  fail in full view.

We have cable T.V. and U-tube and  a web site where people like  The Enchanter can dig up facts with a flick of the finger.

 I love it.

The social media has taken hold.  Views are expressed in plain unvarnished terms.with evergrowing  intensity.

It comes as a shock to those unaccustomed.

Four years is a long time to endure if  not  enjoyed.

Avoidance  offers no time or opportunity to discover where the public's intention might have  been misread.

The tendency is to blame . But wounds are self-inflicted. Words  are heard, mannerisms interpreted.
Impressions solidify.

Candidates  have six months to strut the board

The audience is already in their seats,  Lights  are dimmed . The play evolves .

New characters enter, lines are read into thescript   and  the  drama unfolds.

A Little Bt of Background

When I came to Aurora,  I still had  everything  to learn about politics. The U/K was a two -party system. Conservative and  Labour.

In Canada ,it was Progressive Conservative and Liberal. The CCF didn't have much of a profile.
The New Domocratic Party was yet to be formed.

Major Lex Mackenzie was  the  P.C. MLA for the Riding.  He  was already  a legend.  His  voice had never been heard in the legislative assembly/ His status  in the Riding was high. No problem went unattended. He was a warm and caring man.

When he stepped down ,Bill Hodgson, a  farmer from King Township succeeded him.

His family had deep roots. He had served as a Councillor in King Townahip, then Reeve ,then Warden of  York County before he became  MLA.

He followed  in  Major Lex's footsteps and took care of every problem.  As Mayor I had good reason to know. He looked  after the Riding.  He was responsible for  Newmarket Court house neing established among other things.

The average resident  would never have reason to discover how much that means.

The Riding was a safe seat for the Davis government.

With little recognition for the  King Township farmer whp made it happen.

Pine Ridge, the Ontario Hospital , closed as an institution .

The  government proposed  the property be used as a youth detention centre .A relatively innocuous
facility, we thought.

Young people in trouble would not  have to be shuttled back and forth to Toronto and families
would have better access.

M.L.A. Hodgson supported the  proposal.

 As did I  as the town's  Mayor .

Furious  controversy  erupted . We defended the  purpose.

Then plans were released . A ten foot high chain link fence topped with barbed wire, patrolled by guard dogs  were the security.

Bill was in trouble. It was not what  he understood. His government dropped him into it.

An election was in the offing. Nomination was scheduled at King City Composite High School.

The member was wounded. The jackals  had gathered.

I took a membership in the Riding Association to be able to vote for nomination of a member who had  served  the people well.

George Timpson was a candidate. George had already been a Liberal candidate. He offered.They accepted. George paid for everything.  He was in debt for years and still using  Liberal signs  many municipal elections later . He had bought too many.

George just wanted to be in politics. He didn't much care where and he saw an opportunity.

I was at the nomination meeting. I voted.

The other candidate  was Frank Klees. Nothing  whatsoever was known  about him. Like George,  he saw someone in trouble and an opportunity for himself.

I am not drawn to opportunists.

Bill Hodgson won the nomination, the election and  he continued to serve.

Sunday 9 March 2014

We Need To Talk Again

The  Liberal Riding Nomination is  the business of the Liberal Riding.

I  have had a Liberal membership. I have had a Conservative membership. I have had a New Democratic membership.

I do not have any membership at the moment.

I have taken memberships in  the various parties in order to vote in a Riding nomination for a candidate that I thought would best represent the needs of the riding. Always someone with a background in municipal business and  a proven commitment .

 I know  nothing of the candidates for nomination with the exception of Councillor Ballard.

The same goes  for the Conservative .NDP and Green nominations.

Councillor Ballard has put his name forward for the nomination. I believe he is a Liberal in good standing.  It is the business  of the Riding Association to choose a candidate .

I am not inclined to participate.

Sometimes I  find myself on the same side of a vote with Councillor Ballard and sometimes I don't.

There's always another issue ahead to be  argued and another vote to be cast.

A Councillor who aligns with a group, ties his own hands. is beholden  and  loses

It may be safe but it's not wise.

Group think is  never healthy .

My  first  responsibility is to town  affairs.

If Councillor Ballard  doesn't win the nomination, he continues as a Councillor.

If he does win. he may still continue as a Councillor until an election is called.

The blog  can't be used to fight the Liberal nomination battle.

Or either of the other three.

Just Give Us The Facts,

Tim the Enchanter has left a new comment on your post "It's About Service":

For those who may be interested.

Council minutes
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

5. PL12-039 – Award of Contract – Consultant Retainer for the Southeast Old Aurora Heritage Conservation District Study

Moved by Councillor Ballard Seconded by Councillor Humfryes

THAT report PL12-039 be received; and
THAT the Request for Proposal (RFP) be awarded to Bray Heritage to undertake the Southeast Old Aurora Heritage Conservation District Study to an upset limit of $67,425.00, excluding taxes; and
THAT the Mayor and Town Clerk be authorized to execute the necessary agreement with respect to the award of the contract, including any and all ancillary documents required to give effect to same.
Council Meeting Minutes
On a recorded vote the motion CARRIED.
VOTING YEAS: Councillors Abel, Ballard, Gaertner, Gallo,Humfryes,
and Thompson, and Mayor Dawe

VOTING NAYS: Councillor Buck

Oddly enough the Northeast Special Neighbourhood was on the agenda the previous month when council voted to take out the traffic chicanes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

THAT Tender IES2012-59 – Traffic Calming Alterations – Mark Street & Walton Drive be awarded to C. Valley Paving Ltd. in the amount of $59,945.00, excluding taxes; and Council Meeting Minutes

THAT funding for this project be provided from the Roads Repair and
Replacement Reserve; and

THAT the Mayor and Town Clerk be authorized to execute the necessary Agreement, including any and all documents and ancillary agreements required to give effect to same; and
THAT staff report back to Council regarding additional information
on mitigating some of the other traffic calming measures.


Mark as spam

Moderate comments for this blog.

Posted by Tim the Enchanter to Our Town and Its Business at 9 March 2014 09:03

Saturday 8 March 2014

Da Vinci's City Hall

Da Vinci's City Hall is  playing on  channel  55 on  T.V.  Now. at 7 p.m.

It's taken a few weeks to get into it. There's no humor whatsoever . It's dark.  Literally.

The Mayor's role  is played  by ,in my view.by an unlikely personality.

But the theme is  politics behind the politics.The politics of the police and firefighters competing for power with the politician.

It's a theme long overdue  for the spotlight.

There was a time when Police Chief Bill Blair wold have been immediately suspended for his comments about the City's Mayor.

If not by the  Toronto Police Commission ,certainly by the Ontario Police Commission.

The Police Discipline Code absolutely prohibits the police from involving themselves in
politics.If the Police Chief cannot be expected to exercise discipline how can it be expected from
the ranks

AMO''s Position on The Wynne Poition


Wynne Government Embraces Provincial Oversight of Municipal Government
Today, Ontario’s Premier, Kathleen Wynne, stated that her government intends to create new municipal accountability measures and assert greater Provincial oversight over municipal government.

Municipalities would be required to either create new processes to review complaints about service delivery, or choose to have service complaints investigated by the Office of Ontario’s Ombudsman, Andre Marin. Furthermore, municipal service complaint processes and investigations carried out by anyone other than the Provincial Ombudsman, could be subjected to “review” by his office.

We will share further details about these proposals as they become available.

AMO fully supports efficient and credible oversight of municipal services and governance. Public trust, accountability, transparency and integrity strengthen municipal government. However, AMO rejects the Wynne Government’s vision of how best to achieve it.

The Ontario Government would layer Provincial oversight and new administrative processes on municipal government. It represents duplication and inefficiency, and importantly, it suggests that Wynne’s Government does not trust in the capacity of municipal government to expose and address questions about performance and integrity.

No one knows what it would cost municipal government to fulfill these new responsibilities. But new costs are inevitable, the administrative burden is likely to be substantial, and municipalities and their citizens should expect more red tape.

Assigning oversight authority to the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman, a provincial appointee who is based at Queen’s Park and who reports to Ontario’s Legislature, has the effect of transferring local municipal accountability to the Province. AMO is curious to see whether the opposition Conservatives and New Democrats will support that, or reject the invitation to micromanage municipal government.

Municipalities are committed to accountability and transparency. Public trust is one of our greatest assets. A municipal government that lacks public trust has every reason to earn it, and good government is best served when local municipalities meet that goal independently.

Over the past decade, the Ontario Government and municipal governments have respected one another as willing, able and capable partners. AMO wants the Wynne Government, and opposition leaders, to be clear about their vision for future provincial and municipal relations, and the capacity of municipal government. Our vision has not changed: municipalities are looking for leadership that partners with municipal government, respects them, and believes in them.

AMO Breaking News will be broadcast to the member municipality's council, administrator, clerk, and treasurer.  Recipients of the AMO broadcasts are free to redistribute the AMO broadcasts to other municipal staff as required.  We have decided to not add other staff to these broadcast lists in order to ensure accuracy and efficiency in the management of our various broadcast lists.
These are final versions of AMO documents.  AMO assumes no responsibility for any discrepancies that may have been transmitted with the electronic version. The printed versions of the documents stand as the official record.

It's About Service

Someone noted in a comment this morning that an opponent to the Heritage Designation is a friend of mine.

It's absolutely true.  Our friendship extends back forty years. Since before they bought their property.

Before we had a planning department.

When she came to see me in the Mayor's office to find out if their intention for the property would be acceptable to the town.

It  certainly was.

More than one generation of pre-schoolers  received warm nurturing care ,including two of my grandchildren , while parents worked to provide.

More than one single parent received desperately needed support, during the worst time of their lives.
when it could be accessed nowhere else.

I  saw two old,  shabby, idle,useless buildings  lovingly restored and  brought back  to use to add
substantially to the  town's assessment base.

They  asked for nothing.

Invested everything.

Enriched the community by their efforts.  And were good neighbors into the bargain.

Yes indeed , I am proud to call them friend.

As are all property-owners who invest  of themselves in  the community and make the  greater contribution to the well-being of the community.

They make no demands .

They expect  nothing but to be allowed to get on with their business without interference or  certainly in the case of  Heritage Designation , actually being deprived of their property rights.

If they ask I will advise . If they seek answers, I will provide them.

If they need my support against an uninvested bureaucracy, they shall have it.

I do not run for office to surrender my rights and become subservient.

I run to protect my rights and serve the rights of  others.

If that means head on collision with the entitlement class, I will do that with gusto.

If it means persuading people to their  best interest ,I will take that on as well.

It's a job worth doing and worth doing well.

No Refunds Allowed

Someone was asking  if the Town would get it's money back if the SE Heritage Designation  Plan does not proceed.

I think not.

The consultant did what the Town required ; prepare a plan to designate the south east quadrant heritage .

Ostensibly, the study was undertaken at the request of a  S.E. quadrant Ratepayers Association using the acronym H E A T.

Much is made about communication with property owners  to  explain the concept and overcome opposition but that's not the  real objective.

The  aim is to designate the S.E. quadrant no matter  how property-owners  react.

Politically  expedience downplays opposition ....Full  Speed Ahead and Damn the Torpedoes.

The consultant  reported " a significant minority opposed"

It seems the significance of the minority may have been underestimated.

The  plan  has gone awry.

Owners on  the north and south side of Wellington Street ,south to Mosely  are not in favor. They are
not inclined to be acquiescent or easily persuaded by airy-fairy concepts.

More than that, they are not about to legally convey  shared control of their properties to a
municipal bureaucracy........  Not in a million years.

Last week, the Honorable Kathleen Wynne ,Premier of Ontario,announced  her government's
intention to  create  yet another layer of supervision over Ontario Municipalities .

The same government gave municipalities power to impose heritage designations on
private property  with or without  owner agreement.

The same wrote Conflict of  Interest  legislation that  doesn't stand up in court , places onus on a private citizen to foot the bill and  suffer abuse in the process.

The same wrote Code of Conduct legislation that  allows  its use for exactly the
opposite  intent.

The same that wrote the Clean Water Act that could see an entire Council, including the Mayor, jailed for  potential failure in the system.

Nothing like that at the Provincial level for squandering $1.2 billion in return for a couple of
seats for the government  in the  legislative assemby.

The same  government introduced four year terms for municipal Councils  that seriously eroded
authority  of  the local electorate to exercise  judgement on performance control .

It's that Generation X thing again. The ones that got everything  easy ,donned the mantle of entitlement  then, hasn't taken it off since and  learned not  a bit of sense in the process.

We worked hard, gave them every opportunity, asked for nothing for ourselves and this is the tanks we get.

Oh Woe.

Guest Post by Tim the Enchanter

Tim the Enchanter has left a new comment on your post "A Different Perspective":

"I see well cared for houses that are all different. No cookie cutter houses."

That's quite the welcome to our newer neighbours in east Aurora.
I wonder how much in Development Charges we collected from those homes?
Enough to pay for a "special" neighbourhood?

"people travel from all over to learn our history"

Bray reports that heavy traffic is a concern and that residents feel the area needs traffic calming measures.
Parking isn't considered to be a problem but if it does become an issue the Town could build a parking structure behind the shops on Yonge south of Wellington.
I assume they intend that all Aurora taxpayers pay for that.

It says the intent of the Promenade Plan is to provide options to automobile use.
I guess that means we aren't supposed to drive there.

On tourism the report basically says Town Park, the Library and the Cultural Centre can accommodate any events necessary.
It does mention however that the Jazz Festival was considered too noisy by many residents and apparently baseball was too disruptive as well.
Walking tours are fine and driving tours are okay too as long as the vehicles aren't too big, noisy or smoky.

" we have so much history to offer the "world"! You have to think big!"

So the key selling points of the district are history and tourism but without large festivals, sporting activities, more traffic, additional parking or tour buses?

So much for "thinking big".

I think it is quite clear that the author's idea of urban heaven doesn't include the "world" or even the rest of Aurora unfortunate enough to live outside the meandering red line on the "plan".
And isn't that really the objective of the Heritage District?
An urban oasis, legally frozen in time right in the middle of a modern suburban commuter community but mere steps away from all the mod cons big box sprawl can offer.
The best of both worlds.

Can't afford to live in an exclusive gated community?
Simply get the Town to draw lines on a map and voila!
(just remember to keep mentioning the importance of heritage - they like that sort of thing.)

Joanne Russo, representing members of the local community...... advised that she had met with other residents in the area who were unaware of the proposed designation, and requested for herself, and on their behalf, additional time to familiarize and educate themselves regarding heritage planning and designation.

That seems reasonable to me.
Perhaps not everyone is a fan of the proposal.
But that's OK - there's no rush is there?

Put together an information package with all the details and rules and make sure every ratepayer in the district gets one.
owning a heritage property or running a business in a heritage zone presents unique challenges and financial considerations so it's only fair to take a few months to answer questions and make sure everyone understands what it all will mean.
Then collect signatures and get a hard count of support.
If you are successful don't forget to bill each heritage district ratepayer their share of the implementation costs.

You see, I've already lost money on another "special" neighbourhood when I was billed twice for their traffic calming chicanes.
Once when they demanded they be installed and again when they demanded they be taken out.

Not this time.

You want "jewels" - you pay for them

Posted by Tim the Enchanter to Our Town and Its Business at 7 March 2014 22:49

Friday 7 March 2014

Will you walk into my parlor,said te spider to the fly

If it's not already clear I should indicate I do take poetic licence on occasion simply  to elaborate on a theme.

I make no apology .

I want  the blog to be read and speculation has  a place . As it would in  any  casual conversation
about politics.

So.....when I say I think the Mayot's campaign organisation has determined a strategy ,of course I do not know that as a fact. Obviously  I am not a member of the Mayor's campaign organisation and I don't know who is.

How would I know that?

I do know  those who benefited from  funds handed out liberally  and  favourable decisions for special interest groups  during the  term are  likely to be ,at least loosely, campaign supporters of the Mayor.

Also  a pattern of  comments received lately disclose an effort afoot to discredit the blog  as nothing more than an opinion piece full of lies and inuendo.

Well...you know .. a body needs to  defend herself.,,, using  whatever means  available.

All's fair in love and politics.

Over the years, I have collected a few scars. It should surprise no-one that I'm willing to inflict a few

The  Mayor  misuses his authority on a regular basis in Council.

I have too much respect for the office and the institution to get down and dirty during a Council meeting.

I have advised him  calmly, "if you do not allow me to say  what I have to say here, I have other options."

And Indeed I have.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sticks and Stones":

I would be carefeul about insinuations ..... they can lead to law suits

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 7 March 2014 11:13


Yes and  law suits  can lead to decisions that the law suit was nothing  more than  an attempt to stifle 
the public criticism of a politician 

When did we surrender our rights?

Sticks and Stones

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Take a Gander at this":

I hope that Evelyn publishes this.

Christopher Watts is a commentator. He does not always present a balanced vision of the reality. He tends to colour his comments on the "humourous" side for effect. Before anyone begins to consider that he is some sort of saviour for Aurora, just remember that you cannot beleive everything that you read on the internet, especially from self-appointed commentators.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 7 March 2014 08:34


I publish  the  above because it's  a  fresh pattern. and  I want to talk about it. 

I think the Mayor's campaign  organisation has already held a strategy meeting. They've determined critical blogs  are a potential hindrance to re-election . They  must be dealt with and  the best way is to discredit them. 

That's where  thinking stopped  and  all they've come up with so far is to throw rocks.

Christopher Watts  is a rare bird. He is a keen observer, a satyrist  and  he  is  passionate..

The only qualification  needed to comment on town affairs is  his address.

He is not subject to an  anonymous arbiter of "balance "

He's not trying to make people laugh.

He's trying to stir in them the same anger he feels.

He is fastidious about supporting his arguments with scholarly references . He supplies the source for the quotes  he attributes.

There's no light touch in his work . It zings and sizzles.

There's nothing gentle in his style. He is ferocious. Last time I looked , I spied no law against
righteous rage.

If his total lack of tolerance for  stupidity  in places of power  is difficult  to handle , don't  try.

Others will  make up their own minds about whether they will or they won't.

Advice is redundant.

Warning readers not to believe what they read on the internet while offering  fatuous , spurious mis-statements on the internet , is hardly conducive to establishing credibility.

Since the same  arguments  have recently been made against my own blog I am not sympathetic.

Thursday 6 March 2014

A Different Perspective

I have owned this house for over 10 years. It has a town plaque & is also designated. I am very proud of this house & my neighborhood. 
I attended the council meeting yesterday, Tuesday March 4, 2014. This letter expresses my thoughts of my neighborhood.
Many people in this beautiful neighborhood have given so much of their time and effort over quite a few years in order to help preserve it through designation and it would be a dishonor to its heritage not to continue the study.
What is very rare about our neighborhood is everyone who enters has the opportunity to leave all their cares behind and just enjoy the quiet beauty of a time where life appeared to be simpler. I see well cared for houses that are all different. No cookie cutter houses. There are beautiful gardens, friendly neighbors always happy to discuss any topic, especially their house, with anyone who passes by. You don't go for short walks in this neighborhood! You get a good education on who built it, brick types, insulation used, unique features and more. It's a peaceful stroll through a caring community loaded with character that will bring a smile to your face and allow you to be swept away!
My neighborhood has the Town Park, the Cultural Centre, the Farmer's Market and many beautiful older buildings. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have Aurora known for these landmarks and have people travel from all over to learn our history? It is our south east district that holds these wonders and we do have the potential to do just that. The north east district is designated but it does not have enough of its own buildings to do what the south east has the potential to do. However, if we combine the two districts, we have so much history to offer the "world"! You have to think big!
Mr. Bray has all the documentation to show the benefits of designating this neighborhood. Town staff, committees and many neighbors have worked long hours for the purpose of designation. It is positive movement in the right direction. 
If we hesitate because of fear, we miss the opportunity for growth of not only the south east district but of Aurora. If we change our perspective, review all the facts from all sides and make a well informed decision, we have the opportunity to grow and flourish.
Please consider all the well documented research that has been undertaken for the south east district and the potential this neighborhood has to change lives in a positive way. Designation benefits all who see the vision of a treasured jewel in the town I call my home, Aurora.

Bits and Pieces

"Something Fishy in Aurora  was one of the first commenters to this blog. I haven't received a comment under that name for a long long time.

I'm glad to know you are still there and came to my assistance when I needed you.
Thank you.


Yesterday morning a person named Yulia called me for help. An application had been made in January to sponsor her grandmother who is here on a visit from Ukraine.

The caller was anxious because she had not had a response.

I told her I was not in a position  to help but I would call her back with particulars about M.P. Lois Brown's riding office and I would speak to the Riding Assistaant.

I spoke to Mary Anne and determined office hours address and  explained the problem.

I could not get  back to Yulia because my call would not go through on the number I'd been give.

I don't know how Yulia got my name. If it was through the blog , call me again and I will  relay what I have.


The point about  the job  advertised by the Historical Society indicates the new executive have no intention of doing executives  of volunteer organizations normally  do....that is ...the  work necessary to realize the mission. mission .

It would nor normally be my business , nor would I be concerned.... except there is no doubt in my mind the taxpayers of the town are funding the position. We have been inveigled by our  Council into
funding the operation of Hillary House.  While we  provide no resources to operate  the museum or
take  proper care of the museum collection.

Transparency is lacking.