"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 5 May 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A SENSE OF PERSPECTIVE PLEASE": 

You opposed fixing up the Petch House and the funding of the attractive Arboretum - what's your point now?

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 4 May 2016 at 23:09


Every year, for ten years, with one exception the town has invested  $100.thousand in the Lambert Wilson ravine. It was $50 thousand in 2014. 

How I voted is not relevant. I did argue for the project. It may even have been my resolution. 
In my judgement,the Hydro asset should be replaced with an asset. 

The cash -lieu of parks reserve could have been used legitimately. But neither transpired. 

The ravine is on what was Lambert Wilson's farm. He was Chairman of the Holland Valley Conservation Authority for a number of years.The park bears Mr.Wilson's name. I believe the ravine should also. 

I believe people of Aurora are entitled to receive credit and know the satisfaction of investing in something beautiful in the heart of the community and watching it grow. Lord knows there's little enough and certainly, I would not have supported  it had the Hydro funds not been available. 

The  project should be on a list of accomplishments of last ten years. 

It has been a bumpy road . The vfirst expenditure was to hire a contractor to weed  flower beds. That was disappointing. The last expense out of the first budget was $47.thousand for a tool shed. 

In the second year,a tractor provided by the parks department was  smashed it into the door frame of the brand new tool shed.  

In a subsequent year, thousands of tons of stone blocks were imported to landscape the area around the Family Leisure complex.An equal amount of building rubble was exported from the area. 

The building was expanded in the same vicinity shortly thereafter. 

suggest the funds might have been more carefully managed by the parks department and more  progress accomplished. 

Over-all advantage of the volunteer element proved not to be. It's not uncommon when public funds are involved. 

A monthly newsletter with beautiful photography charting progress is a plus.  

The project will take years to complete. Already the  account of how it came to be is obscure.
hesitate to suggest deliberately .

No such hesitation with the Petch House.

On my return to Council, the ugly derelict had already been mouldering by the roadside for several years. A Budget of $100.thousand for restoration had been set throughout the same years. A 
donation had been received to that end also. Estimate to restore in that range had been presented to Council by Mr. Van Nostrand of the Village of Vandorf and a specialist in the field. 

In the subdivision agreement, permission to the developer to demolish the building had not been granted. The structure had a twin...a chapel. It had  been bought,restored, sold again and transported to cottage country by Mr. Van Nostrand. 

The developer agreed to transport the  second building , in worse condition than the first, to a site of Council's choosing. 

There was no site. No purpose identified either. I think the decision to save it came from the ancestor 
of the Petch family who made the donation. A third of fourth treasurer had passed through the town hall portals. 

A log house moved from the town bowling green had been shuttered and forlorn in Sheppard's Bush for years. 

So Petch House was a blight at the side of Leslie Street. A hole eaten in the roof by varmints was covered by a blue tarp to keep the inside dry. It didn't. DIdn't keep the varmints out either. Several generations  lived and died within as time moved on. WInd and rain and snow beat down and ran down the inside walls. 

Neither purpose nor site were discovered but the budget of $100 thousand continued annually. 

Every year I argued unsuccessfully for removal of the budget and the structure.The amount represented local taxes collected on fourteen homes. 

An argument was eventually offered that the developer had committed to transporting the building to a prepared foundation, a driveway and connection to all amenities. Inquiry determined that not to be true but $50 thousand dollars were offered to assist with the project. 

TIme marched on. Council changed  I learned of a site both suitable and available.The issue was finally decided by the new Council and the task undertaken.
The building was long past fit to be moved in one piece.  It had to be dismantled, transported to a
yard nearby, rotten boards and beams needed to be replaced and new ones of similar vintage sussed out, authentic clapboarding milled  and windows ordered from a specialist and the whole transported and re-assembled in its current site.

A huge boulder carries a brass plaque of identification. A small farm cart found and salvaged from a farm in the vicinity of the Petch property occupies pride -of -place in the side hard , filled to over -brimming with flowers in summer. 

The whole sits once again, forgotten and forlorn.

It could be sold and all costs recovered. 


Anonymous said...

How can that Petch house sit just outside Town hall for all of council to see and not feel shame? I'm glad the Hydro funds haven't been spent if this is an example of how a little asset gets managed.

Anonymous said...

Why do you always dwell on the past?

Surely the future is more challenging.

Is Aurora going to raise money for Fort McMurray?

That's where a large part of the future lies.

Anonymous said...

Fort McMurray is where our future lies?

Anonymous said...

Do you not understand that it is possible to do more than one thing at a time ?
Money is being raised for the Fort as you wrote. Have you contributed or is it just on your to-do list ?

As for Petch, it is well past time that it be given a purpose. Ideas have been sent to council over the years, There are plenty to chose from. Council should just get busy. This is not space science.