"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

Wednesday 11 March 2020


My daughter and I drove through the new industrial park on Leslie Street on Monday. It was a beautiful day. The sky was high, wide, incredibly blue and the day was beautifully warm. Despite being a construction zone, the area was spectacular with many white, high, well designed buildings.The Holiday Inn facility is close to completion. It can be seen from the 404. The other hotel structure was obvious though no sign identified it.

We were both dumbfounded. “How come we knew nothing about this?” I said. “Wow, this is fantastic.” We echoed each other “I/you will have to write something positive about it.”

I caught the inflection. Theresa thinks I’m negative. She would never say it...may not even allow herself to think it. My family believes it’s great that I continue to participate in the public debate. None would say anything to discourage me. But that may be, because there’s little chance of that happening.

We were even more impressed when we turned onto Wellington Street and noted signs of construction on the site south of Smart Centre. All those new employees mean a new retail market. New homes in the neighbourhood will generate new trade. Highway 404 and the carriage trade will contribute. Tournaments and swim meets at the Stronach Centre will create hotel clientelle. Walmart is already well patronized and provides numerous jobs. Empty stores in the Smart Centre will soon be occupied.

Now we have to wrap our heads around the new focus and determine what it means to the old Town Centre.

We drove along Wellington into the town. New tree planting will make it an impressive avenue. Closer in, old homes have been pleasingly re-tooled to serve new purpose, mostly professional. Just as envisaged fifty years ago when we planned for that to happen.

We turned north on Yonge Street, passed building after building of residential condos. Unleased space at ground level awaits new enterprise. It will follow the walk-in trade as residents re-discover life without cars. Came back south on Yonge Street. It was Monday...mid-day...traditionally a slow day...but last Monday, downtown Aurora was lively and if not exactly a hive of activity...definitely bustling.

There's room still for renewal on Yonge Street. If the town can get a handle on traffic, it could be a great neighbourly place to live, shop, and enjoy life.

It’s easy to imagine, having been around long enough to watch it evolve. Even more satisfying to have had a hand in making it happen.

Susan Seibert, are you reading me? I raise a glass to you, m’dear, m’darlin and to the council and administration that had a heart in the community.

Today, I turned on the video of the Mayor’s speech at The Chamber luncheon. The sound was imperfect. It echoed in the space. I heard less than half of what he said. It was an opportunity missed. He should ask Chris Watts if it can be improved.

Tuesday 10 March 2020


The immediate response to my last post was so slight, I got discouraged. I monopolized Anna Lozyk Romano’s blog instead. I know Anna doesn't mind. Still it doesn’t seem right.Yesterday I re-checked the stats on my blog and discovered on one March day, 69 people had read the post. I realize my blog has a limited audience at the best of times. It would seem sensible not to be overly concerned about immediate stats.

I don’t write with a view to make money though I don’t think that would necessarily be a bad thing.
But I do have this compulsion to spill the beans about what I know to be true. Anna has the same feeling that her blog is not widely read, yet I depend on it to keep me informed. I suspect the spike in my readership on that day in March may have been regional reps. Well that’s a good thing. They may collectively decide what I have to say is not worth noting. But they can’t be sure.

I read of the policy to invoice at-fault drivers for emergency calls to collisions on Anna’s post.
Nowhere else was there any discussion. Not at Aurora Council and apparently not in Newmarket either according to Mayor John Taylor.

Apparently the only question in Aurora was “Why did it take so long?”

My immediate reaction was ....why now?

How much revenue will it generate? How much will it cost to administer? Will it reduce the budget? If not, why not? What are they planning to do with the extra money? Buy more gold braid for the Chief’s uniform? Why is he wearing a uniform? Why are any of them provided with a uniform? They don't fight fires or respond to emergency calls in uniform?

But the most significant question of all: if it’s right and proper to charge an at-fault driver for the emergency call to a collision...why is it not also appropriate to invoice a person responsible for a fire in their home for the fire department to fight the fire?

If a person falls asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand, or leaves a pot of oil over a flame on the stove, or overloads a circuit, or messes with wiring, or if a landlord fails to maintain wiring in a safe condition...are they not all similarly at-fault the cause of fires. Should the person responsible not be similarly invoiced for the cost of fighting the fire?

Why should the taxpayer subsidize the cost?

With all the people sitting around the council table...elected to represent the taxpayers ...were none of these questions asked and answered? What do they think they’re there for? Why do we pay them? Are they just figures in the crowd scene? Backdrop to the play?

If a sewer pipe collapses, the town repairs it. But the property owner pays what it costs for that part of the repair on their property.

If a private property abuts a public property, the town will pay half the cost of a fence but it must be built to the town’s standard.

If I took the time I could probably come up with other examples of non-subsidization. But enough is enough. Towing is a private service. Companies compete. If municipalities invoice the cost of emergency measures, what law gives them a monopoly in the emergency business?

Contracting out public services to avoid providing employees with benefits is now the prevailing method of cost-saving in the public sector. If senior’s housing and senior’s care and child care can be farmed out by the Region to save, why not fire protection and emergency calls.

I’m not just asking.

I want answers.