"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 21 July 2015


The Mavrinac 6 acres that the town just bought for $2.4 million dollars  is a story that took a few twists and turns and the final writhing  is yet to come.  

The town has already acquired full entitlement for park and recreation needs for the neighbourhood.
They are built and in place.  

Legal fees are not the only ancillary expense of the acquisition.  A park is not built without cost nor maintained without manpower. There can have been no capital forecast for the expense. It was never anticipated.

 A park on that site is completely redundant and a classic example of how Topsy grows and decisions are made and by the way without advice from the Chief Financial Advisor. 

The Public  and Separate board both earmarked sites as required by the Planning Act. The Public School Board site, substantially larger, was intended for a high school. The Public Board paid for and acquired their site.

Opposition to the transfer of Dr .G.W.Williams HS. to the new neighbourhood was organized by friend and campaign manager of the former Mayor. The plan changed. The Board is now in a position to re-sell the site to a developer at market value. Who knows who.....maybe Minto will buy it back. 

When the Separate School Board decided not to take up the site, town staff had no knowledge of the clause in the subdivision agreement requiring it to be sold to the municipality. 

No such clause had  been seen before. 

Former Councillor Gallo brought it to the attention of Council and staff but first to the neighbourhood. He hand delivered a letter informing residents  and advising them he favored the site be acquired and used as a park. 

He booked the Council Chamber and chaired a meeting to promote the project.Councillors couldn't
wait to jump on the bandwagon. Councillor Abel in the forefront, first. On his feet, he  repeated his commitment to buy everything in sight and create parks,parks and more parks. 

You'd have to be on that council and the one before...and the one before ...to understand how such a clause could get into a legal agreement.

Once the town sold a small parcel to a developer. Against the advice of an interim town solicitor, a Councillor insisted on a clause that eventually brought the agreement back to be amended. The bank had refused to finance the project .

The clause effectively placed a condition on the sale,requiring it to be reversed, at the original price, if not used  for the purpose the buyer stated. 

It was to be used as stated but bank refusal to finance the project would not permit that to happen. 

Municipal politics may not be the only place for imbecility. It's the only one I know intimately. 

John Gallo,one of the gang of six on the previous Council, was the only Councillor who knew of the clause in the Minto agreement. Lines of communication between himself and probably Councillor MacEachern was a badly kept secret. With the help of the former CAO ,he once got a stop work order on a couple of tennis courts that were all but completed and within budget.They did not get finished for another nine months and of course at greater cost. 

Minto, the developer likely had his own reasons to cave in to the town.Toadying to politicians is part of the price of being in business. Discreet complaints are made at private dinners where hundreds of thousands can be paid to break bread with provincial movers and shakers. 
Then half-baked legislation like Conflict of Interest  is passed to no effect other than to place another burden on municipal property taxpayers. 

But I digress. ....Only slightly. 

Now they've got it, town has to decide what to do with the Minto property. 

Neighbours  are naturally pleased and magnaminiously recommend a purpose that will benefit the entire community... Huff Puff ....Rightly so.  

Thus far the entire community has footed the bill.  

It cannot be a park. According to town standards,already higher than need be, the neighbourhood is fully serviced with recreation amenities. 

The Mayor has  righteously proclaimed the purchase. 

 No longer is there a need to justify upholding an irregular,never-seen -before, clause in a subdivision agreement.

Now all that is needed is  an explanation of why the town needs the land. To what purpose?
Certainly not a park. 

In partnership with the Region,the Town of Newmarket has been successful in providing affordable 
housing in that community. 

Aurora could do that. Why not?

$2.4 million is only 20% of the planned giveaway to entice York University to locate a campus on our border. 

Great excitement and seat -gripping tension was not the reaction Town staff actually left their officers and went out and about asking people if they wanted to sell their property and if-so ...name the  price . 

Did I read somewhere only eight people viewed the last council meeting? 

That should suit them just fine. 


Anonymous said...


Nowhere in your very informative post do you mention that the entire purchase price was paid from the Cash in Lieu of Parkland Reserve Fund. As in, it came from local area residents by way of the purchase of their homes, in the range of thousands of dollars each, sometimes more than $10,000 per home. It is disingenuous for you ignore that little piece of information. It is also the cheapest dollar per acre in all of Aurora and the developer sold the homes to everyone in the neighbourhood on the premise it was to be a school or park. Even if no one on staff knew of the clause, the developer surely did. Additionally, it seems like pretty standard contractual language. Finally, "discreet" conversations at dinner parties are not enough to have a developer walk away from millions in profit. The bottom line is the developer knew it did not have a legal leg to stand on.

This is a great piece of land at a terrific price, paid for from the Cash IN LIEU OF PARKLAND reserve fund. Seems like a park or some kind of recreational space makes sense.

If someone gave you a million dollars or a million dollar home this year by way of an inheritance or a lottery win, would you turn it down because you didn't plan for it? Didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

"When the Separate School Board decided not to take up the site, town staff had no knowledge of the clause in the subdivision agreement requiring it to be sold to the municipality.
No such clause had been seen before.
Former Councillor Gallo brought it to the attention of Council and staff but first to the neighbourhood."

For all of his faults (brought up here many times), good for Gallo to knoiw something that staff SHOULD have known themselves.

Anonymous said...

Gonna be funny to watch the dipping and diving. It's a good thing an election isn't near or it would be just ugly..
Our Council is actually going to have to make a DECISION .
I doubt if they will use their heads and combine park space with housing.
I need to give my head a shake for even considering an intelligent process

Anonymous said...

Mr Mascarin must be frothing. That makes 2 Aurora lawsuits in which he was wrong. But it really doesn't matter because if Minto was still his client, he got paid anyways.

Anonymous said...

7:27- Staff should have known?...Maybe they did! I'm betting that they did know.

Anonymous said...

Well said 7:27! Evelyn be disingenuous? Say it isn't so!

Anonymous said...

Someone can correct me. and probably will, but I think the person who can for council solely on making that property a park place last at the polls.
A decision about possible parkland not in the holy Plan requires the entire town to participate. It is a run at the Hydro money.

Anonymous said...

Council is busy telling off Canada Post

Anonymous said...

Disingenuous my ass! Evelyn has more integrity than this Town deserves.

Anonymous said...


Then it's a good thing her services are surplus to requirements.