"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 10 December 2015


Moved by Councillor Tom Mrakas

Seconded by Councillor Harold Kim 

That the Dec 4 2015 offer to the town to purchase  lands  known municipally as 21 Golf Links Drive,
Aurora put forward by Highland Gate Developments Inc., be rejected ;and

That Highland Gate Developments Inc  be requested to hold off on addressing  any encroachments until such  time as the OMB matter of appeal has been fully decided; and 

That the town solicitor be directed to retain legal counsel and  necessary experts to represent the town in the appeal by Highland Gate Developments  Inc., and

That Highland Gate Developments Inc and Highland Gates Ratepayers  Association be encouraged to continue their dialogue  to resolve this matter with facilitation by town staff ; and

That town staff continue to update Council regarding the outcome of any such future discussions;and

That Town staff respond to the lawyers for Highland Gate Developments Inc. and inform them of Council's direction and position on this matter .


No complaints please about information overload. 

I tried and Stephanie tried to copy Councillor Mrakas' resolution from Facebook to Blog and it simply would not budge. 

I had to go back and forward to transpose  the copy. That takes a lot of patience. Patience I did not know I possessed.

There were recorded votes on various clauses of the resolution but the first  passed with a majority of five. Councillor Gaertner was absent. The negative votes were for continuing negotiations. 

The Auroran reported  Councillor Mrakas was angry and said the town and residents should be  insulted by Highland Gate Developments Inc. offer to sell the golf club for $98.1 million. 

The offer was made at a meeting held on Dec.4th. Friday.

I'm not sure why "residents" should be insulted . I'm not. It merely illustrates foolishness  to contemplate such a purchase.

I am concerned that if it was town business, that's a bit murky, there appears  to be no record 
of a public meeting. 

If  the meeting was between Ratepayers and developer ,then obviously it's not our business.

Any more than how much the Ratepayers spent to pursue their objective. 

If that was the  objective, why did the town host all those meetings ,renting space and stretching the issue out for so long?

What exactly was that about? We're the meetings advertised to talk about buying the golf course or developing the golf course? There is a difference.

Now we have Councillor Mrakas reaction and the resolution. Nothing prepared us. I wonder when were they were planning to let the rest of us in on the plot. 

Seems there never was an intention to work together to make the plan acceptable and it was all a sham and a colossal waste of time.

Except of course for leaning on the developer to abandon his rights and plans to develop and surrender the property to the RTepayers or the town. 

Not clear which.

Not exactly kosher.

My reason for transposing the resolution is  to read it together.....once,twice,three times for clarity.
Which escapes me. 

Staff are directed to inform the developer the offer is rejected. Which offer? The offer to sell or the price? doesn't seem to be the development.

The developers are "requested" to hold off on "addressing" the "encroachments" until th OMB decision is made on the appeal. 

 A request to the developers  seems like seeking a favour. Hardly appropriate in the circumstance of hostilities declared. 

Staff are directed to retain legal counsel and necessary experts to represent the town in the appeal. 

In what way  are they to represent the town ?  Is it about rejecting the offer to sell the property for the price? Or about  rejecting the application to develop on the basis of what? Neighbourhood opposition?

And  finally developer and ratepayers are "encouraged"  to keep talking with town staff present to facilitate matters. To what end? To haggle the price of the land down ?

It's all very confusing. Not the least transparent. 

Nothing in the Municipal  Act  gives a municipality the right to wrest  a man's land away from him at a price he is unwilling to accept for a purpose that is not in the public interest and hasn't even been discussed with the community at large. 

It may be people have a right to be angry and insulted. It's just not clear who they should be angry with or insulted by. 


Anonymous said...

I don't think I expected anything different but we have yet to hear from the ones who were hoping
the town would just buy that land and all would return to normal.
The motion is convoluted and looks to be cobbled together over a few drinks - it really does not
accomplish anything imho - maybe it's just a holding pattern to see what the ratepayers' group
does ?

Anonymous said...

"...and looks to be cobbled together over a few drinks..."

Talk about insulting.

Anonymous said...

I do not see any insult. The Town & the homeowners kept saying that things would be different
if the Town owned that land.
Highland Gates Development gave them the opportunity. Period

Anonymous said...

I have a question, please. sorry if it is something I should know
It says that the town should hire the legal person/firm. whatever to represent it for the OMB hearing
Now, does that mean the ratepayers' group would not have their own representation ?
What I think i would like to know is if the town is an active participant or just an observer ???

Anonymous said...

I am not even sure if it was the town or the neighbours who rejected the offer. Maybe both

Anonymous said...

I think the owner has made a simple offer. It is for sale. The price, in my view, seems realistic. Surrounding homes command almost a million dollars.

So, the owner is going to sell at market value or develop it. How it's developed might be the subject of further discussion. But the discussion will be along the lines of less detached on bigger lots here or more semis/towns/condos there.

The OMB will have clear jurisdiction should the matter be put in front of it. The town is not going to buy it and the owner(s) is not in the business of gifting land for dog parks. The province is not going to get involved as there is no need to.

The town might whisper to the ratepayers' association it is last call - realistically spell out how you think it should be developed. If a realistic presentation is received the town could bless it and see if the owner can accommodate it. Otherwise, the ratepayers' association can bring the matter to the OMB on its own dime.

It will be exciting to see our councillors duck and weave as they try to avoid a decision; send it back to staff, more review, send a memo to the province demanding it get this hot potato off its plate and direct the OMB to do the "right thing".