"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

Tuesday 31 March 2015


This morning  a notice from the Town Clerk informs me that because  I failed to file Documents before 2.00pm on Friday
I am in default of the Elections Act  and will not be eligible to be a candidate again until the election of 2022.


To be precise,documents were filed  in time with Elections Officer. I  failed to present myself  in person  to swear an oath that everything in the document was true and correct. I offer no excuse. I intended to do the thing. I left it too late and  now fate has befallen me.

Yesterday a news item noted two B of E  trustees already 
sworn into office have been unseated and byelections will be
because the dreaded deadline was not met.

How silly is that? 

Think of extravagant decisions made by incumbent Mayors and Councillors and Premiers and M.P.Ps  for no other reasons than to be re-elected Most prominent  among them by former Premier Dalton McGuinty to cancel contracts at a
cost of $1.2 billion  for projects already under construction.

Mr McGuinty said he did it because the neighbours didn't want the plants which co-incidentally does not explain why opposition was not discovered until the eve of an election.

On Sunday I watched a disturbing documentary of distressed
residents in south-western Ontario. Private  enterprise Wind Farms receive millions in subsidy from the Ontario Government.

A flash back  during the program shows the former Premier firmly and sternly declaring "the days of NIMBYISM in Ontario are over"

It was before he cancelled contracts in Burlington and Missuassaga because "people" didn't  want them. 

The cost of stuff  like that never appears in any candidate's
Statement of Financial expenses. Rightly so. They were not
paid for by the candidates or their political parties. 

But paid for they were. And the prize was winning an election 

Ontario has meaningless Conflict of Interest legislation . 

Codes of Conduct are used and ill-used for anything but noble purpose.
Recently the  Ontario Ombudsman has been given jurisdiction over Municipal Councils. His office will be open to receive complaints about Councils meeting in private when they should be meeting in public. 

Such a fervour on all sides for integrity in public office. 

Such a show.

"a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury,signifying nothing"

But costing plenty. Oh dear me yes. The price is high. 

Monday 30 March 2015


Something went wrong with my mail app and winding my way through to correct it, I find myself in a different ap. I have not mastered the new one. 

There is stuff I need to learn. Comments  await moderation; 
mostly complaints about blog, moderator,readers and commenters.

Criticism about me is meanness of intent and inaccuracy of content. 

One complains his/her comments are never published because they disagree with blog moderator.  

Erroneous , ill -researched content  is remarked upon but no corrections are offered, no new or additional information. An obvious waste of time and opportunity .

The morning flurry of whinery is milksop defence of Mayor,Council and staff. 

Calling them out on blatant contradiction is considered a low blow, unworthy of the noble sport of politics and due entirely to ulterior motive of the moderator. 

Stuff and nonsense. My motives are not at all ulterior. 

A couple of weeks ago the Mayor told Brock Weir that risk-taking was necessary and a good thing. This week, his column states he would never make decisions without a sound business plan. 

So what does he really think?

$60 odd million tax dollars collected annually are under his control.People  being separated from their livelihood need to be aware of fuzzy thinking and contradictions wherever they exist in management of their resources. 

The electorate were able to stop the worst of the excesses in the last term. Not  all. 

The blog undoubtedly contributed to awareness but of necessity
was slightly muted. 
It's not any more. 
No debts are outstanding. 
No holds are barred. 
Ours is a free society. 
Political criticism is a right not a privilege

Sunday 29 March 2015


I don't normally read the Mayor's column. I suspect  a ghost writer. Err I confide my suspicion I decided to read it one more time. 

Yup. I think so. 

A paragraph in the middle confirms my doubts.

It says the Mayor has "never subscribed to the  notion of making an investment decision without a business case"

Goodness Gracious ! Great Balls of Fire! That is just not so !

No business case was made to buy real estate for a heritage theme park. The Mayor's name complete with title was first on the list of VIPs supporting that airy-fairy boondoggle.
Procedure was twisted into a pretzel to reverse Council's  decision to require the proponent to provide a business plan.

A business case for creation of a Board to manage a culture centre was successfully sabotaged. Seed money on a reducing scale was to lead to self-sufficiency. Said seed money morphed into increased and permanent funding under the Mayor's selective oversight.

The intention to gift $11 million to entice York University to locate a campus in our town was  not accompanied by a business plan.

A few more can be named:
Fab Lab .
Thirty year lease of  property costing assessment revenue and  jobs. 
$514,000 to buy back a corner of the town park complete with a contaminated building and contaminated soil from a government that used and abused it for a hundred and forty years in exchange for one thin dime of comparative value. 
A clear bag garbage initiative.
$1 million salt removal treatment facility where there was no salt. 
$26million joint works and parks facility with most cost in remediation of a bad site in a worse location hardly qualifies 
as a business plan. 

Referenced in the column is a tax on current residents for fire protection needed for homes not yet built. Hardly business advantage to taxpayers already carrying the full burden for current service. 
Contradictions galore confirm suspicion the column is not authentic. This partial list of innovations and initiatives that bombed in the past four years had no business plans and simply do not accord with the written declaration.  

Not only do I believe  the column is ghost written,I surmise the ghost writer works offshore at a considerable distance from the real world.

Friday 27 March 2015


One of the 12 has left a new comment on your post "REALLY ! ! ! !":

Are you forgetting that you were on the last council, and these are YOUR failures as well. If you were against any of them, you are still responsible for not debating the issues properly - but then again, I suppose that's why you are sitting on the sidelines.
Posted by One of the 12 to  Our Town and Its Business at 27 March 2015 at 07:44


The comment is published because it reveals a mind set. Writing is a dead giveaway. Straight or twisted, hopelessly contrived,tangled in confusion,mired in prejudice, stunted,mean spirited and entirely lacking in logic, a mind set cannot be obscured.

Blog writing is available to anyone who wishes to avail themselves. 

It takes time,energy, skill, discipline and continuity. Like any pursuit, it gets easier with practice. 

I practice a lot. Fortunately  I have the time and opportunity to explore and articulate an idea without distraction. It reflects how much I enjoy telling the story in the language I

Readers are a bonus. Friendly exchange is double bonus. 

Comments like the one above  provide contrast. Light and shade.

Without it, no picture can be revealed, no story complete.

Thursday 26 March 2015


I am happy to receive comments.

 I publish most.

It is the better part of valour not to cross that invisible line.  

I recommend the option of direct and private word with the town's 
elected representatives. 

A week ago, Mayor John Tory expressed  fury over $148 million budget excess and tardiness of the schedule of the subway contract shared with York Region. 

Days later two senior management TTC officials were named and terminated . A Councillor commented publicly he hoped the officials were not being made scape goats. 

The two were long term employees of the TTC (25years) .

Whether or not the Councillor's fears were accurate,litigation for wrongful dismissal would likely have been the next headline. 

It hasn't happened so far that we know.  If it doesn't, financial compensation would have to have been sufficient to make litigation the lesser option. 

We may never know.

REALLY ! ! ! !

CAO Garbe's reaction to a suggested cut of $100,000 from staff training and education budget of $200,000 prompts  a response. 

His statement that training and education is :

"what sets Aurora apart as an employer " 

"That is how we produce innovation ..how we produce results"

"How we retain our personnel and part of our attractiveness"

With due respect, Mr Garbe's contentions are not supported by recent events. 

A number of failed  "innovative" initiatives come to mind:

Town hall addition plans cancelled after $300.000 had been spent on transition plans. 
Ballooning cost of  the Joint facility due to poor site location.
Completion of AFLC addition months late and 25% over budget. 
$167,000 on design of $1million treatment facility to remove non-existent salt from melting snow. 
$25k consultant fee for advice that a Heritage Theme Park represents no business benefit to the town. 
Weeks of time and staff resources expended on a failed competitive bid for a University campus with a serious offer of $11 million enticement from the town. 
Four year added delay on disposition of surplus buildings on Library Square. 
Failed clear bag garbage initiative after weeks of time wasted and $35 K consultant fee expended. 
Customer Service Plan promoted as improved service at no extra cost. Heavier workload now calls for additional manpower. 
Termination of a twenty-six year employee for no purpose
that can be justified. 
Repeated Administrative re-organization  for less than obvious reasons resulting in less than obvious improvement. 

The list continues and provides no support for Mr Garbe's contention the Education and Training budget of $200 Ks has achieved the results claimed. 


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE":

18:40 - Who exactly is "you" and "we"?

There seems to be a real difficulty for some here in seeing the town as a whole, rather than as petty, perceived factions.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 25 March 2015 at 20:11


I do have trouble seeing the whole town as an amorphous blob. Everyone  of a  mind ready to accept whatever foolishness is fed like pablum through a straw to a toothless infant. 

It has been said and I loved it when I heard it and wished I'd
said it. "Consistency  is the hobgoblin of little minds"

For all the time I've lived here Aurora has  been a place 
of robust opinion. Much like other places I imagine. 

One can be an individual. Or cling together for support 
with others. Part of a camera club ,book club,an association of artists or a garden society.  Or If words are a forte write a blog and exchange ideas 

Anyone with a particular interest can seek  help from the town's recreation department in locating or creating an association. 

It's a good place to be with everyone doing what they like and paying what it costs.

Not so great when I am taxed  to pay for someone else's taste in culture.

I object to that and I don't mind saying so.  Again and again 
until the message is heard.

Wednesday 25 March 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "AVAST YE SCURVY KNAVES !!!!!":

I have little knowledge as to what goes on at the culture centre. I have read numerous times that services provided elsewhere in town are being duplicated. Could someone provide some examples?
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 25 March 2015 at 14:29

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "AVAST YE SCURVY KNAVES !!!!!":

You've read that here, 14:29, and there's a high level of repetition on this blog.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 25 March 2015 at 15:00


The repetition is strategic not by accident. The effect is beneficial to the argument.  People ask questions like the one above and opportunity presents to cover another a different aspect of the matter. 

No stone is left unturned 

Several programs have  been transferred to the old school by invitation. 

High school students recently  mounted an exhibition of their art. The Auroran published a feature on the event. 

Ample space exists within schools to exhibit student art. 

The  York County Board of Education Centre has ideal space to exhibit art within that facility. 

St Andrew's College exhibited an annual art show at the venue as well. They have better than adequate facilities in their own premises. 

I have no problem with either group gaining a larger audience for their work. But no urgent need can be argued for Church Street School to be made available. 

Aurora Town Hall houses the Skylight Gallery built for the purpose of providing a venue for the  Annual Aurora  Class A Art Show. 

The town built a fine  new facility for Aurora Seniors. A  large room full of light provides for all kinds of events. A Concert of Vera Lynn Songs was a feature of Christmas entertainment. 

Next thing we knew, the concert was held at Church Street School with nothing like the amenity of the centre. What was that about? 

The Town's recreation department with various revenue producing programs for children and adults suddenly found themselves in competition with programs at Church Street SchooL

Frequent reference  is made  to the blog of professional service providers scooped by  C.C. programs. 

Aurora Library has many activities beside book lending. All of them can be classified as culture. No need for duplication and yet there is. 

Space at the school is finite and limited. Yet staff are increased and must be accommodated. 

Nothing is going on in that building that could not easily be accommodated elsewhere in town facilities and churches within the community. 

Yes we will keep repeating the facts of the matter. Until every taxpayer In the town has heard the word:

The community is ill- served by such senseless extravagance. 


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "THE QUESTION OF THE DAY":

@19:50/21:39/04:52/10:02 et al (the rest of the handful):

As our blog host said, "Whining and complaining does not make a favourable

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 25 March 2015 at 11:03

Your blog host takes exception to words taken out of context. 

Rational opposition  by stakeholders taxed to purchase culture without as much as a by-your -leave, does not come under the heading of whining and  complaining. 

It represents the legitimate right of concerned and sensible property owners to object to a rash and incompetent annual budget decision to hand over almost $1million in cash and services-in-kind to a self-appointed board, that makes decisions behind closed doors, to spend as they will on programs already provided elsewhere in the community at no cost to the taxpayer. 

It represents 3 points on a tax bill set to rise by 5 +points with no obvious effort to exert control. 

From my perspective,opposition to spending on culture is strong, consistent,firm and continues to grow. The issue is still current. 

Sneering and jeering at those who oppose adds nothing to the cause. I suggest the opposite is true. 

Nincompoopery is not enhanced by hokerypokery. Snobby twits notwithstanding.

Tuesday 24 March 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WHAT CAN WE MAKE OF THIS ?":

The loss of trust or even hope sometimes is reflected in the declining # of voters/ I have no idea how to remedy the 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 24 March 2015 at 08:35


There is a major factor at play. People really need to believe in leaders. It's a double-edged sword. Trust  is easily given  because of the need. 

If it's not valued, it is easily betrayed. 

Life is tough for most people. Elected officials are required not to make things harder. 

It  is a compelling  need and anger knows no bounds if trust is betrayed.

A civil society needs  to respect its institutions.

When  a law is passed government needs to know it is accepted.

It is the definition of democracy.  An entire population cannot  be forced into respecting a bad law. No army is big enough to enforce a bad law. It will be challenged and fail. 

Like people cannot be forced to use clear plastic bags for garbage if it makes no sense.

Most of us can't be persuaded we should be taxed to buy culture for others.

But If a Mayor thinks it's a lovely idea and can manipulate things his way and  the tax is imposed on the rest of us whether we like it or not then we have the stirrings  of insurrection.

Ferguson is a tragic case in point. Two policemen have been shot. The Police Chief has had to resign. The Mayor's position is not secure. 

A study shows systemic racism exists in the police force? Was it also in the grand jury that found no fault with the shooting of an unarmed youth? What might  the same group  say about the random shooting of two policeman ?

Will the grand jury be next to fall? Where will it stop? What will it take to return Ferguson to the quiet orderly community it 
was thought to be? 

From a distance, it seems ordinary Americans have had much to endure in the last ten years. Rampant  greed and corruption leading to collapse of the economy and it seems government. 

Is Ferguson,  a community of 21,000 people at the "Tipping Point" ? Are others at the same point?

Was it O.K. for Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu  of Israel  to give a campaign speech in the American Senate attacking  the President because Republicans had control ?

Are more Republicans supportive of Israel than Democrats? 
I doubt that. 

Would Republicans have done that to Presidents Bush Kennedy or Clinton? 

Is there  a touch of systemic racism in the American Senate ? 

Is it easier for me as a white person to ask that question than it would be for a black person?

And Is that the essential definition of systemic racism? 

Monday 23 March 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "LIGHTER AND BRIGHTER":

15:16- I can see why candidates could have gotten upset with the vandalism of their signs. They do cost a lot of money to purchase, many hours from early morning to late evenings week days and weekends in all sorts of weather conditions. Candidates had family members, friends, neighbors giving their time to this task. Evelyn is right. It's all part of campaigning, but I can see why it was upsetting to some.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 22 March 2015 at 20:37


Everybody gets upset when signs are vandalized. One learns from the experience. 

Signs are expensive. Maintenance is hard work.

Holding off on signs on public property means a shorter maintenance period.

Plastering the town with signs makes upkeep virtually impossible. 

Damaged signs must  be removed or replaced promptly.

The fewer and more strategically placed the more easily managed. 

Signs on private property may not be as visible but they are less liable to vandalism. 

They are also a declaration of support. 

Like everything else there are lessons to be learned. 

Setting oneself up for slights and hostilities that are not there is not helpful. It feels personal. 

Whining and complaining does not make a favourable impression.

Casting about for someone to blame is even worse. 

Pick yourself up. 
Dust yourself off . 
Start all over again.


As a child, everything learned about history was  too remote for relevance. I had to become fully adult to comprehend,

The  French Revolution is a case in point .The British government became fearful the abject misery of the poor might morph into rage  and blind determination for revenge. Police departments were created to protect private property and owners. 

The American Civil War was in my grandparents generation.
Immigrants were recruited for the army as they disembarked from leaky boats in New York. Many died cruelly ,fighting the same injustice they crossed the ocean to escape. 

Week-ends seem to be best for informative television. 

Last week W 5 told the story of 8  American "Whistleblowers"  inexplicably punished for steadfastly upholding the country's constitution against government transgressions. 

This week-end four programs were presented. Cave drawings in France between twenty and thirty thousand years old were ours to view in detail.Tiny flutes were discovered that still produced notes.

In a nature program a zoologist studying in Kenya for forty years to determine why lions live in a pride. All other cats are solitary

By studying several generations of lions in a single pride it was discovered whisker spots  are unique to each lion.
In the French cave drawings, whisker spots are clearly Identified on the muzzle of each lion.

Thirty thousand years ago,humans were recording in art for those who came after, the story of their lives and times in precise drawings on cave walls. 

A fourth story at the week-end told of a Canadian Judge convicted by a jury of murdering his wife despite irrefutable forensic evidence showing clearly ,the fatal shot was by her own hand.  

The Judge has spent three years in jail. All avenues of appeal have been exercised. To no avail. 

Canada's Justice Minister has agreed to review the case. 

Some years ago, a child of nine was raped and murdered in  Queensville. A young neighbour in his early twenties  was arrested and charged by York Regional Police ,tried and  found not guilty.

The Crown appealed. The second verdict of guilty was obtained. He spent seven years in jail. 

Eventually DNA evidence proved he was not the murderer.The crime was never solved.The story has no happy ending. 

When government institutions fail repeatedly I think the  accumulation of injustice is absorbed into the collective public consciousness. It erodes confidence and trust . 

Disrespect becomes the mode of reason.

Revenge becomes the coin of reckoning. 

In Ferguson Missouri, an unarmed black youth was shot by police in August 2014.  Strife continues. Even an appeal by the President has not ameliorated the situation.

Last week two Ferguson policemen were randomly shot during the continuing ferment.

Ferguson is a quiet unremarkable law -abiding community of 21,000 people.

Nine months  have passed. Still the community has not come to terms with an unarmed youth being shot by police and no satisfactory answers provided .

It seems nobody has any idea how to restore peace public trust and confidence in Ferguson, Missouri. 


                                Who died before they collected Canadian Pension Plan? (CPP)
Remember,  not only did you and I contribute to CPP but your employer did, too. It totalled 15% of your  income before taxes. If you averaged only $30K over  your working life, that's close to $220,500. Read that  again. Did you see where the Government paid in one  single penny? 
We  are talking about the money you and your employer put  in a Government bank to insure you and I that we would  have a retirement cheque from the money we put in, not  the Government. Now they are calling the money we put  in an entitlement when we reach the age to take it  back. If you calculate the future invested value of  $4,500 per year (yours & your employer's  contribution) at a simple 5% interest (less than what  the govt. pays on the money that it borrows), after 49  years of working you'd have  $892,919.98.
If  you took out only 3% per year, you'd receive  $26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30  years (until you're 95 if you retire at age 65) and  that's with no interest paid on that final amount on  deposit! If you bought an annuity and it paid 4% per  year, you'd have a lifetime income of $2,976.40 per  month.
Another  thing with me.... I have two deceased husbands who  died in their 50's, (one was 51 and the other one was  59 before one percent of their CPP could  be drawn). I worked all my life and am drawing 100% from my own CPP so I am receiving the maximum allowable payment per month. My two deceased husband's CPP money will never  have one cent drawn from what they paid into the CPP plan all  their lives.
Entitlement  my foot, I paid cash for my CPP!  Just because they borrowed the money for other  government spending, doesn't make my benefits some  kind of charity or  handout!!
Remember  Senator's benefits? --- free healthcare,  outrageous retirement packages, 67 paid holidays,  three weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days.  Now that's welfare, and they have the nerve to call my  CPP retirement payments entitlements?
They  call CPP an entitlement even  though most of us have been paying for it all our  working lives, and now, when it's time for us to  collect, the government is running out of money. Why  did the government borrow from it in the first place?  It was supposed to be in a locked box, not part of the  general  fund.

Sad  isn't  it?  99%  of people won't have the guts to forward this.   I'm in  the 1% and I just  did.

PS- Do you ever hear them talk about running out of welfare money ? ? ?  

Sunday 22 March 2015


Forming a conclusion is a natural part of thought process.

If  information is withheld or inaccurate, the conclusion will be erroneous. 

If contradictory or  irrational arguments are offered, the conclusion will be skewed.

If false information is  deliberately disseminated and eventually discovered  the natives will become restless and  governments will fall into disrepute.

It's a slippery slope. 

Respect is easier to earn than win back once lost.

In  conclusion,conclusions can change. 

Unlike the Ten Commandments,they are not chiseled in stone. 


The Region takes care of Regional Roads. Practice  during elections is to remove signs not in permitted space. 
Offending signs are transported to a particular yard where they can be retrieved by owner. 

Signs are private property. Candidates placing private property on public road allowances should not expect the municipality to hire an army to protect said private property. 

It ain't gonna happen . Nor should it. 

Sign damage is an occupational hazard for political candidates and more often nothing more sinister than a teen -ager momentarily possessed with a raging devil. 

Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth will avail the candidate ....NOTHING. 

Zip,Zero,Nada ,Nil.

Amen my friend.

Saturday 21 March 2015


Christopher Watts has left a new comment on your post "THE. TANGLED WEB IS WOVEN":

I understand that it was discussed at a budget meeting in January and that council referred to staff to prepare a report. That much appears to be open and transparent. What isn't is being able to keep track and follow these issues, along with the voting intent of its members when they deny they are entertaining the idea and investing staff time that suggests otherwise. We're lucky that the press picked up on this when they did as it provides time for residents to engage. There isn't a motion at Regional council, but that doesn't mean there won't be before the end of the month. Noor Javed relayed to me: "The issue is very much on the table, but not in an official way. My discussion with the mayor (Van Bynen) suggested he and council are very serious about seeing the idea through." Doesn't line-up with or regional rep saying that there is "NOTHING" (notice all caps) at the Region about

Posted by Christopher Watts to  Our Town and Its Business at 21 March 2015 at 15:36

Being part of a budget discussion obscures the matter further. 

Was it as an expenditure or  a source of revenue ?
 Regional Police are responsible for traffic. Was the recommendation part of the Police Services budget? 

It hardly seems likely. Christopher notes traffic problems are down. How would that support an expenditure for cameras?

Did the potential for new revenue spark the discussion?

That seems more likely.

Of course I'm speculating. 
When a picture is obscure that's what happens.
Clarity is conspicuous by its absence.
A stated commitment is not followed through. 
Councillors contradict one another.  
No formal  resolution of council Is on record. Yet Regional staff are pursuing the issue.
NOT  the Police Department who are responsible for traffic  control. 

By the way, Police Services Board members are paid 
as are Conservation Board members. 

It's going to be interesting to discover if regional reps on the board are accepting payment for a responsibility already compensated by the regional salary.


Christopher Watts has posted on a hazy situation at the Region. There's a move to bring back photo radar. The Mayor of Newmarket is making a bid for provincial support. 

Initially he stated his intent to bring forward  a motion. Then 
didn't. Aurora's Mayor denied news reports that he did.

The Regional  Clerk affirms there is no motion in the record. 

Despite there being no motion directing them, regional  staff are preparing a report on the  issue for Council 

You may ask;  Why are regional staff preparing a report on an issue without formal direction from Council?

Therein lies the tale of weird and wonderful modern mastery of politics at the Region and increasingly in our local council. 

Despite Procedure Bylaws, Rules of Order and Codes of Conduct , a mere whisper in the ear of a staff member is sufficient and so much more facile than moving a motion that needs a seconder, requires debate and a majority vote to be enacted and at the same time risks drawing  public  attention to the local hero  spearheading the initiative. 

It allows him to see how the idea is received before he claims credit or not. 

Why bother with the messy business of politics when 
responsibility can  be so much more easily assigned to 
staff whose jobs are secure so long as they accommodate.

It's interesting the denial did not come from the Mayor of Newmarket


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A LOOSE END":

What are you trying to get at?
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 20 March 2015 at 18:14


What are you looking for?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A LOOSE END": 

Does writing all this stuff make you feel better?

How about some visions for what we might expect in the future, let's say during the next four years?

Most people are sick and tired of what is past, and probably have some dreams and aspirations for the days and years ahead.

Please invite them to share with us.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 20 March 2015 at 20:38


Why don't you do that? 

Ask Councillors and the Mayor each to share their dreams and aspirations ...answer all your questions and keep you informed about  progress...in a daily post.

Then rather than having to endure the tedium of reading what "most people are sick and tired of reading " you could have the joy and excitement of reading about the dreams and aspirations of those who have been given an opportunity to realize them.

Should  I be the one to remind you I was not elected .My dreams and aspirations are hardly  relevant to "most  people"

My input  is necessarily narrowed to the sidelines. Writing what  I know to be true and providing answers  to questions asked of me. 

If it doesn't please you ...be my guest .. seek your truth elsewhere. 

I will just keep plugging along, filling in some of  the uncomfortable pesky little details that throw a better light on a subject. 

I never promised you a rose garden.

Friday 20 March 2015


My eyes needed to rest before I went out. I decided to use the time to make an enquiry. An old news report presented a fact that needed to be clarified. 

Former Mayor Grossi of Georgina and member of South Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority was charged by the authority for removing fill from shoreline on his property and depositing it on Conservation land. 

The Authority decided to suspend his membership on the board and his remuneration.  

The Mayor took care of the problem by pleading guilty to the offense, paid a fine and  I think ....took back the fill.

I wondered why he was being paid by the Conservation Authority and since Representatives are appointed to the board by the Region, how could he be suspended by SLSCA.

When the Region was created, it was decided Councillors would be paid a salary. Whatever they did as regional reps would be deemed to be part of the whole responsibility.  Additional remuneration would not be paid by any board or commission to a  Regional representative.

So, while resting my eyes, I called SLSCA and learned Regional Council members are paid a per diem for meetings attended and mileage and car allowance. 

The Chairperson receives  an honorarium of $10,000 a year 
paid on a quarterly basis .

It left the question of when had the policy changed. The Region is aware of the payments. The Authority is required  to file a statement each year. 

York Region shares the budget of SLSCA. 

By the time I got to speak to a person., it was late in the day and a search was required. It was suggested appointment to SLSCA was by the  local municipality. 

In the past eleven  years, three terms, I do not recall a 
resolution of appointment to the SLSCA from Aurora Council. 
This year was no different.

I have read the Mayor was elected Chairman this term. I believe he was a member of the board in the last term. The term before that Councillor MacEachern served on the board but , I understood , recommended by the Mayor and appointed by the Region. 

I know a little more than I did when I started the enquiry. 

I will know more next week.


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

It will have to go for development eventually and the town is paying to keep a share of any proceeds. I think that one might make sense. If it was an error on the part of the developer, Aurora might as well take advantage.
The two other property development projects are going to be fascinating to watch. One group is doing everything possible to mitigate a huge change, the other is just making everyone angry by making crazy demands. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 20 March 2015 at 11:28

I have to go out. There's no milk in the  house.  I just need to respond to this comment before I leave. 

There is no economic advantage to the town to take this or any other property out of development. 

The Town operates on business principles  If taxation is  to be kept manageable efficient economic business practice must 

A  six acre development site has potential for assessment revenue depending on density. Roads,parks ,lighting underground services , lighting, police and fire protection , everything is in place. It is
infilling . Not urban sprawl. And currently contributing nothing. 

Six acres might accommodate 15 detached homes, thirty semi-detached ,sixty town homes or 160 multiple units. I am not trying to be precise.

Each unit  liable for a development charge .  Anything upwards of half a million dollars in total.  Every penny   needed to contribute to facilities required attributable to population growth. 

Snow ploughing service as an example  would have no impact aI all  on taxes. 

Every time the town takes a property into the public domain it 
comes  out of the assessment base and reduces revenues. 

The Armouries for example. In 2013 the town received $800,000 in lieu of taxes from the federal government. 

I don't know of any other federal property in  town. It's not to say there isn't any. But just supposing there isn't. 

The town  bought the Armouries from the Feds. Paid $514.000 for the dump and promptly lost  the $800,000 grant is lieu of taxes. 

Look at the Hydro Property. We lease it to the Feds but still own it. We don't pay taxes to ourselves. We have federal use of a municipal building and earn not a snitch.

They pay $131,000 rent. 

If we had sold it when Hydro vacated, taxes from assessment at 2006 rates would have been $60,000 a year. Cuts rental revenue almost in half .

Loss of the grant in lieu should kick in this year. 

The  hydro property accommodated twenty -seven employees. Job losses are not an economic advantage. 

No economic  benefit study was done when the parks department was evicted from the premises and Queen's York Rangers moved  in.  None was  done in the last term either when the lease was extended to thirty years. 

And by the way, we are on the hook as landlords for maintenance of that building as well. 

Now...what was that again about advantage... The solitary advantage is political and taxpayers of Aurora got a royal screwing in the process. 

I learned very early in my political career watching a veteran councillor converse with a taxpayer. 

It wasn't about what the Councillor knew of town business.  It was what he knew the other fellow didn't that gave him the edge. 

When voters have to choose between politicians which  to believe and there is no administrative anchor  in the background to affirm facts, the problem is manifest.

There can be no trust.


I just thought of a correction to the previous post.

I said new home buyers pay for parks and playgrounds in their own neighbourhood  through development charges. 

But the last Council added a twist to that. 

A six acre site for a Separate School was determined not to be necessary. 

Despite the Neighbourhood already having and paid for adequate park facilities, the town decided to litigate to compel the developer to sell the  site to the town for a fraction of developable value. 

The process has been ongoing for a couple of years now. Legal fees coming out of tax revenues. 

If successful in litigation  the price for the land  will likely come out of the cash-in-lieu of parkland reserve, revenues collected from development that did not create a need for parks, like the last expansion of Canadian Tire. 

Funds  taken because no park was needed  would be used to buy land where no park is required. 

Of course the land could be used for other public purposes like multiple affordable housing. 

But that's not likely. 

The purpose of buying it is to satisfy neighbour demands 
to prevent development. 

The same idea  has been put forward for the Highlands Golf Club.

We may not have heard the last of that idea.The Neighbours there have retained legal counsel. 

The bottomless pockets of taxpayers is better than having a mint to print money in the basement of the town hall basement. 


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FOLLOW THE MONEY": 
19:47Well, for me the "them" are people that want pool or arena services. Why should I pay for that infrastructure? I don't use it. 
Furthermore, I don't go to any parks or playgrounds either. I don't think that I should pay for that.  
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 20 March 2015 at 08:39
Now we have something we can talk about.

You have not expressed opposition to parks and playgrounds previously. We could have responded to your concern. 

Your share of costs for parks and playgrounds are nil. 

They are built and paid for by those who build homes and the cost is passed on to new home buyers.

Ninety per cent of cost of pools and arenas and other leisure facilities are paid for by development levies. Also passed on to new home buyers. You pay ten per cent. 

User fees  for facilities are established. Properly calculated,
there should be no cost or minimal cost passed on to taxpayers. 

Programs and events offered by the town produce revenue for the town. It's the only department that does. 

Thereby hangs the crux of the problem with the Culture Centre. 

The last renovation to the Church Street School used $2.3 
million of hydro reserve money. Nine years of  interest on that money has been forfeit. No return on investment. No rent paid. No maintenance cost covered. 

In a complete and total lack of business acumen, $377,000. tax dollars are handed over annually to a self-appointed board  that meets behind closed doors. (in secret) to decide spending as they see fit.

Until now the Mayor and Councillor Abel has seen fit to collude with an arrangement that in no way serves the public interest by attending closed board meetings. For Ontario elected officials ,that practice is verbotem.

The board collects fees and along with a host of other outfits
Including the town, they dun local business ,individuals and organizations for sponsorships and donations to mitigate cost of their operation. 

They claim thousands of hours of unpaid labour. 

Unlike other town leisure facilities they close the joint on statutory holidays. 

The original objective for a management board was self-sufficiency. To ensure the facility would not be a burden to the taxpayer. Exactly the opposite has transpired. 

This year, in addition to the massive tax  burden (3 points in the tax rate) the town will fund additional cost of a curator. probably at no less cost than  $100,000. added to nigh on a $million for Purchase of Culture.

The more it's talked about ,the better understood, greater resentment grows against elected representatives who have knowingly perpetrated the betrayal.

The town employs highly paid professionals to properly and efficiently manage business affairs.

That's not happening. 

On multiple fronts, we are not getting what we pay for. 


Thursday 19 March 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FOLLOW THE MONEY":

Someone help me to understand, why 377K for Aurora Cultural Centre again? Heating? Salaries? Advertising? Signs on hwy400? Cleaning Services? What else?

Can Town charge rent perhaps to recover that money back lol. I am not up to date, where do I look.
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 18 March 2015 at 21:22


We hand over  money ,a building and its  maintenance to a  secret board operation to buy culture with taxes. There is no logic. 

The effect on the tax rate is plain enough. 

The town as noted hands over $377,000. The board asked for $10,000.more. The Mayor and Councillor Abel represent town interest on the board. The board meets in secret . We cannot know if the Mayor and Councillor Abel supported the  request behind closed doors. 

Ii's unlikely the board ignored advice from the  town's representatives. More likely there was none.

Maybe instead   strategic advice was offered. Like ask for more  then  Council can appear to be doing due diligence by refusing and taxpayers will be comforted. 

Five  years ago, the budget for maintenance ,heat and light. was $147,000.That could possibly have increased to $190,000

Cash-in-hand mtherefore and  services-in -kind totals $567,000

The town invested $2.3 million from the hydro reserve fund 
In renovations to the building. The Historical Society invested $450,000 on plans and preparation. Funds were raised in the community for the purpose.

$750,000 was invested from from a Heritage Foundation grant.The total. Invested therefore is $3.5 million.

Interest earned on that amount might have amounted to $300,000.per annum or more. 

I am doing my best to recall figures.The town was taking a
$1.million a year from interest on the hydro fund of $32,million.
I believe $1.9 million was left to accrue to the fund. 

I made a phone call to obtain the figures. Didn't get a return call.

So, for the investment to reflect a neutral balance, rent of $300.at least should be recovered. 

Cost to the town for purchase of culture services is  not less than $900,000.

A point in the tax rate represents $300,000.

Cost of give away culture represents 3 points in the tax rate

The Culture Board has other revenues from programs, They received a Trillium Grant  to hire more staff. They solicit donations  and sponsorships from business and individuals in the community..

Although space has been reduced ,responsibility for heritage programming has been taken over by the town. 

From where I sit, the community does not support the expenditure. Opposition has been expressed . It needs to be 
more  firmly expressed


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FOLLOW THE MONEY":

I don't think they even take care of their own snow removal despite all those healthy bodies hanging around doing nothing. Maybe they change a light bulb or two ?
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 19 March 2015 at 08:37
Fire stations in the city used to have beautiful gardens in the forecourts. Equipment gleamed from polishing and elbow grease. 

The Professional Fire Figherrs Association, in Scarboraaough I think argued in arbitration, ofirefighters are not janitors and should not be maintaining  facilities. 

The arbitrators agreed and the borough had to hire contractors for maintenance of facilities. . Aurora had a volunteer brigade at the time.The firehall was their clubhouse. They had a kitchen,a bar and a pool table at the back of the firehall. 

The Province used to borrow from Public Service Pension Funds. Half the money came from the public purse and interest was paid. 

The teachers argued in arbitration they should have the right to control their own investments. They got that. 

If they make bad investments municipalities have to come up half the shortfall.  From taxation of course. 

In the last contract arbitrated for the Aurora Police, the arbitrator gave the police more than they asked for. 

Shortly after the Region.was created, child care in fine new facilities was provided.

The province dictated standards and  ratio of children to ECE staff.  I did a calculation once. It would have been  less expensive  to pay  a mother a salary of thousands to stay home and take care of her own child. 

The Region eventually  got out of the child care business and leased the facilities to private contractors. 

My mother was a committed Labour Party member all of her life. My grandfather was one of the coal-miners who sent the first Labour Party Member Keir Hardie to Whitehall.

In a public service strike, unions  refused to care for the sick and bury the dead. My mother voted for Margaret Thatcher in the next election. 

I don't believe  people apply to work as police because they believe they might get killed on the job. 

Any more than a young guy working as a window-cleaner  thinks scaffolding, seventy storeys off the ground will not be secure and he will fall to his  death working for minimum wage and no benefits. 

Or the trench he's digging  will cave in on him and bury him alive. Or he does not get proper training to handle machinery or chemicals and gets torn to pieces.

I don't think a policeman's job is clean or tidy. For reasons the public cannot begin to imagine. 

But I  think there's a need for balance. 

I don't think we've had that for a very long time.
 I think limp-wristed  self-obsessed politicians are the reason. 

Evelyn Buck