"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 14 May 2020


We learned something new from a comment. Condo buyers pay $10.20.30 thousand dollars extra for a parking space. If they discover they don’t want it, they can’t sell it because nobody else wants it. I can see that. I can see how a single mother might not be a car owner and shelter without parking would be less expensive to build and more affordable to rent.

Councillor Gaertner must know of neighbours in her social housing project who do not have cars. I know they’re there.

I can see how public transit use would grow and not be trundling around town like a phantom, in the evening hours. Especially if government made funds they didn’t spend on highways available to put public transit fares within reach of every pocket.

When we came to Canada, TTC fares were 25 cents adult and ten cents a child. Every day in summer we went on two street cars to Kew Beach at Waverly Road and spent the day. We were there before the locals in the morning and didn’t leave until the last rays of the sun left the beach in the. evening. Street car fare was all it cost to enjoy the summers there or the Island or the beach at the end of the Queen Street line, at the beginning of Scarborough bluffs.

Life was good. And it wasn’t costly. Which was also good because we were a one income family. We came to Aurora and of course had to have a car. Because subdivisions were built with the car in mind. A good part of the post war economy was built around the automobile. The other, as it still is, around the homebuilding industry.

Commuter transit was non-existent. As were the 400 series of highways. Car pools were the transit mode of necessity. A man with a van provided a shopping delivery service. The baker called and milk was delivered. We picked up the mail at the post office. People got to know each other in the line-up.

Aurora was dry. Richmond Hill had the nearest liquor store. The Beer Store was equally distant.

Things have changed. And changed again. Councils were elected every twelve months...then two years then three ... and now a Council term is four years.

Zoning became the rule rather than the exception. It’s typical of government. Clumsy. In constant need of amendment to suit particular circumstance.

Aurora population was 7500 after Regency Acres was completed. Council was composed of a Mayor, Reeve, a Deputy Reeve, and five councillors.

The volunteer community was alive and well and augmented the town’s budget. They provided social, cultural and recreational activities. Funds were raised to help build the Community Centre, the library, and to keep fees down for minor hockey so that every boy in Aurora could afford to play. The town had a Volunteer Fire Brigade and a thirteen man police force. All of whom lived in the town. Their kids went to school with everybody else’s kids. It mattered.

1967, Canada’s Centennial was the first year the town’s budget reached a million.

Everyone understood the connection between debt and taxes. Every effort was made to raise funds to keep town debt manageable.

Water was a flat rate at $7.50. The only reserve fund the town had was the Water Reserve Fund. We borrowed from it occasionally. We built an additional bay to the fire hall with a loan from the Water Reserve. I think the fund was $18,000 most of the time.

We had a Recreation Commission, an Arena Management Board, Planning Board, Library Board and Hydro Commission and local school boards. Hydro Commission members and school board trustees were elected. Other boards were appointed with specific authority under Provincial Law.

Library board members were appointed by school boards.

Millions were not extorted from developers to be used for specific purposes and no other and to swell the cost of housing.

Yes sir, things were very different. Councillors were hands on and accountable. Nobody had ever heard the expression “micro- management”.

It means only the Mayor gets to decide how and what advice Council receives.

Councillors received copies of all bills paid during the month.

There were other changes which in my view were not beneficial but appeared to be so for political

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Given all your years in politics, why is it that people are less engaged with politics and their representatives? Voter turn outs are always astonishing low during an election. Which means during the 4 yr term, nobody besides interest groups are engaged to what's happening in their riding or municipalities. I could be wrong, but I don't believe that was the case 30+ yrs ago.