"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

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 said...

Here we go again... re-hash the same tired old displeasures....

There is no "secret" board.

There is no give away of culture - like the theatre - they sell tickets.

Trillium grants are some of the hardest to get in Ontario. The vetting process is quite rigid. They must be doing something right to get operating grants.

"From where you stand, ...." Maybe you should stand somewhere else and start looking at the forest and not the trees.

Anonymous said...

It was interesting how the Mayor said that the Centre was reducing its dependance upon the town & that they had the best relationship there had ever been between the two entities.
Then it turns out that Council is giving them $10,000 less than they requested.
A mere tweak - not a significant reduction at all.

Anonymous said...

Trillium grants are also very limited in scope and are drying up and the Centre is still putting out more than it brings in.

Anonymous said...

The mayor and his deputy no longer represent the Town on the board.

Anonymous said...

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

The maintenance costs of this Town-owned facility are the responsibility of the Town and would be incurred whatever the building's use. You can't lump them in with the purchase of culture agreement.

Anonymous said...

"From where I sit, the community does not support the expenditure."

Since you've never sat in the Cultural Centre, it can be expected that you're not aware that the opposite is the case. When you see the public participation at the various events and programs, you know the widespread appreciation of what the place has going on.

Anonymous said...

Earlier this afternoon I drove past the building that we refer to as the Cultural Centre.

From the north it is downright ugly and from the other three sides it is simply an old restored building with no inherent attractiveness. Its inner spaces are relatively small and incapable of handling several hundred people. I suspect that the vast majority of Aurora residents have never been in it as there have never been any events aimed at drawing a crowd. And parking is a serious restriction on attendance.

Aurora is a good-sized town, and among its residents there must be many who are talented in one or more areas.

The town is literally sitting on about $35 million received from the hydro company sale and all this does is contribute roughly $1,000,000 annually to the town's operations.

If it were me I would take a good chunk of that money, buy five or ten acres of land in the eastern portion of the town and have built there a true Culture Centre. This would involve facilities for a 500 seat theatre, working and rehearsal areas and dressing rooms, and a large music room with a collection of the larger musical instruments, such as a piano or two, drums, etc. acoustically designed for the best possible sound production, a recording studio large enough to accommodate a choir of 25 people or a small orchestra. There would also be a room specifically for ballet and other dance.

The building would also have facilities for art, painting, potting, metal working, weaving, all things that are personally creative. There is nothing more personal than self-expression using the written word, and there should be a room containing computers, printers, and overhead display facilities.

This building should permit and encourage creativity such as making videos, recording musical and theatrical productions - to create record of what the town's residents have done over the years, something that in time becomes a living history

This would be a major undertaking and its purpose would be to attract and involve the members of our community from the very young to those who some refer to as "old" - but they really aren't, not when it comes to artistic creativity, which knows no age.

And, of course, there would be a staffing requirement, people who can teach the art of theatre, music, painting, potting. Most of these might themselves be artists, technically skilled, each in their given field

Such a project would not materialize overnight, but with a nucleus of talented and artistically creative people, joined by those whose eye is on the bottom line, a real cross-section of our townsfolk, and with a concept of striking architecture, it is just possible that this term of elected officials could get the ball rolling.

This project requires vision but it also requires knowledge concerning the facility and its components and the ability to approach this dream in a practical manner.

The old Cultural Centre can then become a magnificent museum dedicated to history and heritage, its original purpose.

Anonymous said...

"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"

No, the only pertinent, relevant number is the actual contract payment of $377,000.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the Citizens' Advisory Board [ or whatever ] to the Budget state that cultural funding should be reduced by %10 before Council decided that question had been worked incorrectly ? I think they were low in their estimate of how much could be saved.

Anonymous said...

Aw, so you do not count the building & maintenance ?
Just the rich kid's allowance to live at home with all the services provided.

Anonymous said...

Bunch of cuckoos in a stolen nest producing mostly duplicated services at an additional cost with a few decent performances scattered throughout the year.

Anonymous said...

Christopher on the subject of how the Centre deals with our heritage - one exhibit per year.

Anonymous said...

"Christopher on the subject of how the Centre deals with our heritage - one exhibit per year."

Wrong, wrong, wrong,19:11. That has NOTHING to do with the Cultural Centre. It is down to the Town's recently-hired curator of the Aurora Collection.

Anonymous said...

For heaven's sake, the Centre/Center has only been around for a few years. It is not essential to the town's cultural life which has been here for decades. We even had an important birthday last year.

Anonymous said...

19:08- you're right about the duplicated services. Services that private businesses are offering. Businesses that don't get handouts from government funds. Paying their own rent, utilities, advertising, marketing, payroll and without any volunteers. Let alone the duplicated services that the Town offers.

Anonymous said...

Oh great. So that didn't come out of the $377000 handout. We're paying extra for that? Nice!

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid the /Mayor will resort to his usual dodge about budget items = that they have already been debated and decided and cannot be revisited' I voted for the mayor but donnot trust him on the vCentre

Anonymous said...

Thanks Evelyn. May be Church school building needs energy audit. Costs are too high for what they are. They don't make sense. I have a feeling that the building still has a chance to be a museum. Probably still better suited for a museum and there should be no reason to keep going with culture to keep the building alive. To have this as Cultural Centre as a base was not a good move.

Anonymous said...

What's the best part about the incessant 'sturm und drang' by the Buck-led mini-cohort about the Cultural Centre? It matters not a whit. It makes no difference.

Last term, ol' Ev huffed and puffed but couldn't blow the Cultural Centre down. Sure, the agreement was revisited and revised; and Mayor Dawe considers the new agreement as one of the major accomplishments of the past term.

The drip-drip-drip of whingeing from a handful on this blog is merely farts in a mitten. Now that the blog author is former Councillor Buck, she has no seat at the table and even less influence than she did during her failed attempts to undermine an exemplary and enormously enjoyed Town asset.

Our town leaders are satisfied that any issue has been dealt with and have moved on, pleased with the services provided. I'm sure the haters are still gonna hate, but the animosity is inconsequential and trivial - the opponents exposed as petty.

I'm willing to wager that the Aurora Cultural Centre will see out its most chronic critic.

DJ said...

With help they ripped off a building...FACT.

Anonymous said...

But you have not done so well. You were in support of the Heritage Park scheme, the s-e designation and the snow treatment nonsense-just to mention a few of your hobby-horses.
I still grin recalling your invitation to the grand opening of the Heritage Park.

Anonymous said...


OK, let's assume that the Cultural Centre is the success that you imply it is. Why, then, is it not self-sustaining as was the original intent when the structure (arms-length board) was established?

Is it fair to expect that self-sustainability (i.e. NO taxpayer funds, beyond foregone rent and the building upkeep costs) can still be achieved? If yes, when, exactly?

Or, is the entire basis for its existence as currently constituted an illusion?

Anonymous said...

Again with the "they" BS, DJ?

Anonymous said...

23:15 well put in a farty way though. But do me a favor go door to door and find out how many "Aurora people" know about ACC. I can't even say how many because we don't know so how can we justify such enormous number to pay for culture when tiny number of Aurora people know about it. I wouldn't mind my tax dollar if only the town knew how to engage people. And here is interesting connection to communication department running on 600k budget. I am sure there are wonderful events happening in ACC but if input is less than output $, then there is something wrong in this painted picture. Or perhaps this supposed to be for out of town visitors thus the sign on 400 going south? That's not culture then, that's tourism. Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

08:46, I have never addressed the "snow treatment nonsense." As for the other two initiatives, I expect them to be resurrected at some point.

Anonymous said...

No, 08:47, I don't expect self-sustainability to be achieved. What cultural institution doesn't rely on some level of public funding? It is there for the public, after all.

Anonymous said...

"I still grin recalling your invitation to the grand opening of the Heritage Park."

I still expect to see you there, 08:46.

Anonymous said...

No. That opportunity window has slammed shut. The Mayor now dreams of a sports facility.

Anonymous said...

I believe the window can be re-opened, 12:34. We can have a new sports facility AND a heritage park.

Anonymous said...

I think we should do away with windows for the rest of this year.

Anonymous said...

The developments coming into town will keep council occupied.