Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Archive for the ‘Growth’ Category

How Do You Want To Receive Your Updates

Posted by auroracitizen on April 6, 2012

In keeping with our observations about the lack of communication capabilities at the Town of Aurora, we have evaluated our own. Therefore we are connecting this blog through both Twitter and Facebook, so you can receive and comment on the platform of your choice.

It may take a bit to get all the bugsworked out — so bear with us and let us know how we are doing or what we can do better.

We have set a up a Twitter page https://twitter.com/#!/Aurora_Citizen or @Aurora_Citizen Please note the underscore between the words. Someone had already set up a Twitter page @AuroraCitizen. If they would like to have it linked to the blog, please send us an email at AuroraCitizenInfo@gmail.com to discuss switching this over.

We have also set up a Facebook Fan at Facebook.com/AuroraCitizen

Happy Easter to you and your loved ones.

Posted in Community Input, Growth | Leave a Comment »

Is Aurora Friendlier than other Communities?

Posted by auroracitizen on March 30, 2011

We recently received the following note from a reader.

I have lived in many places with my family, from Scarborough, Unionville, Guelph, and Richmond Hill and never have I experienced more unfriendliness than I have as in Aurora. People rarely smile, say hello and try very much to keep to themselves. I joined several community activities and experience the same feeling.

Does anyone have an opinion why this is so?

Aurora has always prided itself on its community spirit — but have we started to change with the growth?

How do new arrivals feel? Do they still feel the sense of community many longer term resident felt when we arrived?

Is it difficult to get involved in programs due to overcrowding? What about adult programs?

We’d be interested in hearing from both newer and older arrivals. How did you get involved? What tips do you have for new arrivals?

Posted in Community, Community Corner, Community Input, Discussion Topic, Growth, Recreation | 47 Comments »

Guest Post: Question About Zoning

Posted by auroracitizen on March 24, 2011

I was heading out of town this morning I was surprised to see how many houses are up for sale on Wellington Street East.

What’s up with that? Is there some weird re-zoning going on?

Anyone have any ideas about this?

Posted in Community, Discussion Topic, Growth | 4 Comments »

$#*! My Mayor Says

Posted by auroracitizen on October 1, 2010

 Taken from the recent email published by the Morris campaign.

In fact, one attendee who had been at the campaign launches for some other prominent Greater Toronto Area politicians said it may have been the best-attended in the whole of the GTA this year. 

We guess if you preface a distortion or untruth with the claim that someone else said it, it somehow makes it okay. Really, now Phyllis believes she had more people than either Smitherman, Ford or any of the GTA events. Delusional? You decide.

At the Rogers TV debate  the Mayor talked about how the Town has turned the tables on rising taxes. In 2001, tax increases raced ahead at 9 percent. This year the Council whittled the increase down to 2.8 percent.

Why did she conveniently leave out the tax increases from her last term of Council (2003 – 2006) or that since she became Mayor we have seen taxes rise a combined 13.81%? One would almost think she intentionally meant to mislead you.

Mayor and Town Council have taken strong steps to ease the burden on residential taxpayers and make growth pay for growth. How? Town Council completed the first major reorganization of the Town administration since the 1980s. 

This re-organization resulted in a 20% increase in staff during a worldwide economic downturn — ahead of both tax base growth and population growth. Including a new, full-time personal assistant for the Mayor. How does that ensure growth pays for growth?

She served as one of only two Mayors on a special stakeholder advisory committee concerned with the Watershed, by appointment of the Minister of the Environment.

What she failed to mention was that her role on the committee was to “…provide input and advice to the government on protecting Lake Simcoe…and provide a linkage with the broader community…”.  So aside from attending a meeting or two, just what advice and input from the community did she provide?  Where was the consultation with the community on whose behalf she was appointed?

And a deal that will earn taxpayers more than $130,000 a year in rental income from the former Aurora Hydro building. Worth waiting for.

However, what she failed to mention was that this deal took 3 years and bumped the planned use by our own Parks department because the Works and Parks department have long outgrown the facility they are sharing on Scanlon Court. What is her plan to address that need? And at what cost against this $130,000 windfall?

We are now renting out a town facility that was supposed to be used for town staff. And since when did the municipality become a landlord?  Shouldn’t town buildings be used for Town purposes ahead of rental opportunities?  Surplus buildings and land are supposed to be sold and the revenue used for municipal purposes.  Shouldn’t she know that given all of her “experience”.

Christopher Watts had his own take on this same email you might find interesting. As always, Christopher brings his own special sense of humour to the online word via his personal blog, Temporary Insanity.

Posted in Budget, Election 2010, Growth, Leadership | 2 Comments »

A Failure of Leadership and Responsibility

Posted by auroracitizen on August 24, 2010

The following is reprinted from the Aug 18 edition, Volume 13 no 33, of NovæResUrbis – Greater Toronto Area Edition (www.nrupublishing.com this weekly magazine focuses on municipal politics and urban planning issues in Toronto and in the GTA).

Aurora appeals consolidated
In a prehearing decision issued August 12, board member Reid Rossi provided an update on an appeal by Aurora 2C West Landowners Group Inc. against failure of the Town of Aurora to approve an official plan amendment to establish a secondary plan for the Bayview Northeast Area 2C West lands, located on Concession 2, east of Yonge Street, bringing the lands into the designated future urban expansion area.

Rossi also provided an update on an appeal by Elhara Investments Limited and Aurora-Leslie Developments Limited (collectively known as Aurora-Leslie Developments Inc.) against the town’s failure to approve an official plan amendment for lands bounded by Leslie Street, Highway 404, Wellington Street and St. John’s Sideroad to permit development of a new community.

The board consolidated the appeal of Aurora-Leslie Developments Inc. with that of Aurora 2C West Landowners Group. The board set aside November 15 for a further prehearing conference, noting that at that time the town’s position would be known and the parties would be able to engage in more substantive discussions. A full hearing is expected to be scheduled for 2011.

So what’s an ordinary citizen to think?

How about Council has failed to do the job they were elected to do and look after the best interests of this community?

When the decision-making process is removed from their hands and turned over to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to make decisions on our behalf — then Council has failed in their elected duties.

The hoopla — just prior to the election – about things like the Promenade Study is just smoke and mirrors to divert our attention from the fact that they failed to deal with official plan amendments as required.

Posted in Election 2010, Environment, Growth, Leadership, Town Council | 35 Comments »

Council Composition: What Should It Look Like?

Posted by auroracitizen on August 3, 2010

We have had a number of comments about the make up of Council going forward. The 2 that seem to be of interest are whether we need 8 Councillors and whether we should have a ward system.

Total Number of Councillors:
The argument has been put forward that based on our population that 8 Councillors and their corresponding salaries and work load is not justified. Both 4 and 6 have been put forward as options.

On the other hand, our population continues to grow and Councillors are part-time and resultant do not have the time to make the same commitment as a full-time councillor. Particularly those that have other full-time commitments.

Ward System:
The Ward system was debated prior to this election as to whether it should be put to a vote on this coming election ballot. It was decide not to include the question on this ballot. Currently councillors are elected at large. Everyone is put in the same pot and the top 8 councillors become the Council. They have no particular alignment with any specific area.

A key argument against wards is that every Councillor can be called by any citizen and they are not beholden to a specific area.

Against is that a Councillor has too many issues to worry about and they can’t focus on helping a specific ward.

Please use this post to discuss the various merits of these 2 topics.

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Growth, Town Council | 39 Comments »

Why No Evening or Weekends Trains for GO Transit

Posted by auroracitizen on July 21, 2010

Thank  you for hosting this blog to allow residents to voice their opinions and concerns.

Here’s something I can’t figure out: why does the GO train run all day long from east to west but not north to south? And why no north-south weekend service?

The north-south trains are certainly full during commuter hours and the GO buses are often packed on weekends. As an Aurora resident who enjoys dining downtown, theatre and sightseeing, I would LOVE to have the same service as the people in Pickering or Burlington. I don’t get it. The tracks are there. The trains exist. The demand is likely there. But the service is not.

Personally, I would eagerly take advantage of a mid-day train to Barrie or downtown. I often take the GO bus downtown on Saturdays when I go to see shows or shopping. The bus, however, is NOT the train. The ride is uncomfortable — stuffy air, bumpy roads, sometimes stop-and-go traffic. I recently took the train from Toronto to Niagara and wow, what a difference. It was a lovely ride — and there were hardly any people on the train in the middle of a summer Saturday.

Think about this: Our Saturday GO buses are quite full and the Toronto-to-Niagara train is nearly empty. But the Toronto-Niagara Saturday riders have a wide-open schedule and we have only a few, crowded buses. We are constantly told that people should take transit rather than drive, but if the service is not convenient, how can we do so?

I would love to read what others have to say about this. How can we get all-day and weekend GO train service to take us north and south — downtown and to Barrie — the same way that the east-west service runs?

Or am I the only one who feels this way?

Marie

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Environment, Growth, Traffic/Parking, Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

What is the Downside of Not Fighting Westhill?

Posted by auroracitizen on July 21, 2010

Out of the chaff being spread between Mr. Poppe and other posters including yours truly, I did find one grain of wheat that might do with some clarification.

Guy Poppe responded to my earlier post regarding Westhill.

“If you think it is expensive to fight legal battles (brought by others) wait until you find out the cost of having to remedy water issues for neighboring properties.

The Town has a choice: ensure proper water and sewage resources from the developer or face further litigation for negligent approval.”

If I’m reading correctly, GP believes the Mayor’s ‘spend now-save later’ strategy is an example of far-sighted wisdom. ie; Aurora should spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to kill a previously approved development because said development MAY damage the water and sewage works of neighbouring properties and IF that damage occurs Aurora MIGHT be on the hook for the costs of repairs and POSSIBLE litigation.

Since most of us seem to have the more cynical view that this is simply a case of blatant pandering to a special interest group perhaps our more informed readers/posters could enlighten us (at a See Spot Run level please) on the consequences of the worst case scenario.

If it all goes wrong as some fear is Aurora actually left holding the bag?

What about Westhill? the Region? the Province?

Tim the Enchanter

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Environment, Growth | 2 Comments »

Is Mayor Morris Putting Lipstick on a Pig?

Posted by auroracitizen on July 3, 2010

Aurora getting makeover

In the recent Banner Article (June 29th, 2010), outgoing Mayor Morris rhapsodized about a “new programme” to provide the downtown core with a makeover in the coming months – just in time for the election – but not in time for the summer, Street Sale, Canada Day parade, movies in the park etc.. but hey, it will be ready for the election.

Morris described it as the “Clean up Aurora” programme. Apparently, the much ballyhooed programme consists of such basic things as repainting lane markers, railings, power-washing the sidewalks (seriously???)  She described it as a “quick win” for the downtown revitalization “plan” she’s been flogging to death in recent weeks – including apparently, standing on the sidewalk literally waving it about last Friday.
 
Is it just us, or does it all seem so desperate? And, well, just a little bit sad.

This is what the outgoing Mayor seems to think is downtown revitalization? Are you kidding me? Shouldn’t painting lines on the road so drivers know what lane they are in be common practice?  She thinks this needs to be part of a plan? It is pathetic that normal day-to-day business practice in public works is repackaged as some kind of new plan with bells, whistles and streamers (even a puff piece in the paper…)

Has this “plan” been discussed at Council?  Let’s hope not.  I certainly hope it doesn’t need to be debated. Can you imagine that council discussion? 

“I move a motion that we replace all the straight lines in town with wiggly ones…”

“I move a motion that the lines be painted red in honour of Canada’s Birthday Town…”

“This is just too much for us to consider, Madam Chair, I move a motion to refer that motion to staff to consider and report back to Council, madam chair…”

Good grief!

Morris hopes by “tidying” up the area, her fellow Auroran’s “…will no longer be ashamed of the downtown”.

She thinks Aurorans are “ashamed”???

If that was the case, then why did it take her 44 months of a 48 month term to notice?  Has she been paying attention at all to what’s happening in the Town she ostensibly serves? Or too busy pandering to the whiners – oops, sorry, potential voters – wanting light posts moved/trees planted/whistles silenced etc. etc. etc.

Even sadder is outgoing Mayor Morris’ comments that she hopes, “with luck” that the tidying efforts will get people, “excited” about the supposed pending changes to the core.  With luck?  She needs “luck” to get people interested in their town again???

Of course, unsaid is the fact that her hopes are all based on whether the study is ever completed, ever adopted, ever implemented. After all, we have seen so many studies shot down, re-written, shelved by this (and other) Councils, I doubt anyone pays much heed to Morris’ clarion call. More to the point, the next Council is not obligated to act — hence most Council actually develop plans early in the term so they can see it through on their term.

It is all well and good to “tidy-up” the Town – it’s about time. But to make this the central focus of what has been a term lacking in any substantive action simply highlights just how little else has actually been accomplished.

Past terms of Council have built Libraries, Seniors Centres and the new Aurora Rec Centre in a single term. Mayor Morris has managed a study.

Well … do what you’re able Phyllis.

This is just more spin to try to make an ineffectual term look like something it’s not — lipstick on a pig we say.

Posted in Election 2010, Growth, Leadership, Town Council | 3 Comments »

Guest Post: Reader Asks Council to Focus on the Bigger Issues

Posted by auroracitizen on June 27, 2010

Fifteen years ago, when I moved to Aurora, I had such optimistic hopes of my future life in a small town. Over the years, I have become more and more disillusioned and saddened to find that I inadvertently moved to such a dysfunctional suburban settlement at this.

The town has many problems — as do many communities — what with parking, traffic, vandalism and such, but those have only been addressed on the surface. The downtown Yonge Street core has been a problem since I came here and despite several promising efforts — committees formed, proposals set forth — little has changed in the last fifteen years.

Traffic on through-streets has become a growing problem, but the quick-fix of unsightly, expensive chicanes only provide aggravation to residents and ridicule from visitors. There’s been a loud hoo-haw-haw about the Farmer’s Market, but in the end, residents merely want fresh, local produce and few people really care whether the mayor’s friends are butting in and becoming celebrities in their own minds or whether campaigning politicians are taking credit for the zucchini and parsley on hand.

Now, the issue of the train whistle has reared its ugly head once again. Back in 2008, the Aurora Citizen stated: “’Mayor Morris is quoted in The Banner stating, “Residents have dealt with this problem long enough.’ That will be cold comfort if someone is harmed because the whistles are stopped.” (Aurora Citizen, “To Blow or Not to Blow”, October 31, 2008).

Here we are, a year and a half later, and for once, I see that Mayor Morris was correct — residents HAVE dealt with this problem long enough. As William Hastings pointed out in his recent letter to local newspapers, they’ve dealt with it for 157 years, because that’s how long the trains have been running through town with whistles blowing.

It’s not like this issue suddenly appeared last year to torment folks who bought homes near the tracks. That’s like buying a home on the edge of a river and then complaining when a fish lands on your front lawn.

When I came here, I bought a home near a school. My children are grown and graduated, so if I now band together with my also-retired neighbours, can we get Mayor Morris to do something about all the rogue children wandering the area around 3:00pm every day? Maybe we could re-direct them elsewhere with concrete chicanes. Or perhaps we could send these wandering children to the Farmer’s Market, where they could hand out political brochures.

Does our Town council feel compelled to take seriously the complaints of every whining resident while slapping Band-Aids on real problems? Are we destined to become a village of idiots? It certainly looks that way.

Posted in Community Input, Growth | 21 Comments »

 
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