Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

Jazz Festival Back In The News Again

Posted by auroracitizen on April 13, 2012

It seem Councillors Ballard, Gallo and Gaertner never miss an opportunity to create controversy. They have tried to create a controversy where none should exist.

Council recently declined to wave the user fees for the Town Park — in keeping with the policies that apply to other user groups who use the park.

Seems pretty clear. In fact, it should never have come to Council in the first place. Remember, Council sets policy and then expect staff to execute accordingly. Why wasn’t staff simply allowed to do their job without the controversy?

More on point, why did the jazz festival come before Council in the first place. It’s simple — they expect to be treated differently. Which make sense — since the previous Council provided them with privileges no other group received. And clearly they have vocal support this term who feel they should get special treatment again.

However, not so fast. This Council rightly decided to treat everyone equally. Good for them. That’s leadership, transparency and integrity. What we voted them in to deliver.

But then Ballard and crew started their whining because their friends didn’t get to continue on the gravy train and get access to our tax dollars. And instead of dealing with the policy issues — then have tried to hide behind their cries of the balance of Council being “anti-culture”.

Well boo hoo. You didn’t get what you wanted — so again you start twisting the facts and trying to change the discussion.

First it the Aurora Cultural Centre being an attack on culture versus what it really was — a demand for accountability for our dollars. Now it’s the jazz festival.

This is a privately run organization that claimed to generate $100,000 in revenue. Yet they feel they are entitled to have you and I dip into our pockets and pay part of their expenses even if we would prefer to have that money used for something else. If the event is that successful — fantastic. Run it responsibly and pay your way like every other user group in town. But keep your hands out of our pockets.

And to Councillors who voted to give them the funds — start looking after our money — and stop giving it away to special interest that you deem as worthy. It’s not your money. It’s our money and we want to have a say on how you spend it.

Wonder when Councillor Ballard, Gallo and Gaertner will figure out that there was a reason their mentors were voted out. Auroran’s want transparency around how and where our tax dollars are being spent and no more special privileges for friends. The jazz festival situation has again brought out the underside of Aurora politics.

Posted in Budget, Community Corner, Leadership, Recreation | 17 Comments »

Aurora Spirit Walk Returns

Posted by auroracitizen on October 24, 2011

The Aurora Spirit Walk 2011 is underway. New stories and a new route are highlighted.

Did you know Jack the Ripper may have walked Aurora in the 19th century.The Ripper was never found and a suspect had connections here.

No kidding….The tour times are

  • Friday October 28 at 7 and 9pm.
  • Saturday October 29 at 7 and 9 pm.
  • Sunday October 30 at 7 and 9pm.

Tickets are available by calling 905-717-6647

Posted in Community Corner, For Fun, Recreation | 6 Comments »

The Aurora Lawn Bowling Club Welcomes you to the 2011 Season!

Posted by auroracitizen on April 6, 2011

Great Sport, Great Weather, Great People ….. that’s what the ALBC has to offer you.

Located in the heart of beautiful downtown Aurora, we have a gorgeous place to gather with friends, play a fun and exciting sport, and spend the summer having a great time!

Whether you are brand new to the game, or a seasoned veteran the ALBC would love to have you join our existing club members for this coming spring/summer and early fall.

Our season begins in May, and runs through to October (weather dependent).

We supply all the equipment, and lessons you may need.

We play two nights a week and every Sunday afternoon, and you get to choose when you want to play and when you don’t.

We have a beautiful clubhouse that is private to members only and when you sit out on the deck and watch over the greens you feel like you are up at the cottage!

It is a ton of fun, and you get to meet some wonderful people who are part of our community!

For more information please contact Kelli Collins at kelli5572@hotmail.com or 416-886-4733.

Kelli M. Collins

Posted in Community Corner, For Fun, Recreation | 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 »

Where Is Our Money Going?

Posted by auroracitizen on February 23, 2011

In her blog, Councillor Buck posted and then posted again that last Tuesday Council committed almost $5000 of our tax dollars to support/subsidize a Jazz Festival in town park. We are not sure why.

The community as a whole — who are funding this contribution — are not able to access this event. They would be required to pay an additional fee to attend.

Further, there are a variety of other revenue sources that have been identified that will contribute to the event coffers.

Some will say that any excess funds raised will be given to charities/community groups — which is a very positive thing.

However, let’s say that the event raises $10,000 after all expenses. That’s great.

But how much of these “expenses” went to pay performers, rental of equipment, etc? Potentially at market rates versus subsidized rates. We don’t know.

So who reaps the benefits of this event — the participants or the community. Are we even sure the organizers don’t take an honorarium or salary for running this event? It sounds like a for-profit venture that happens to donate left over funds to local charities so they can position themselves as a not-for-profit. Rather than a fund-raising event supported by volunteers so that funds can be raised for the community. That’s a different kettle of fish.

Equally important. If the town give $5000 and then the event donates $10,000 — effectively, the town has handed over $5000 to the group so they can donate it to the charity of their choice — versus the politicians making the judgment of where these funds should be spent.

In our opinion, the funds should not have been given — and if Council wants to donate some money to charity or community groups they should do so. That way we know exactly where our tax dollars are being spent.

Better the event only donate $5000 to local charities and then they can accept the full recognition for this generous donation — because they chose to use some of their profits to contribute to the community. This arrangement just muddies the water and we have seen where that has gotten us in past years.

In this case, we are either subsidizing an event or delegating authority to which charity our tax dollars are donated to. Neither which we support.

Posted in Charitable Programs, Community Corner, Recreation | 76 Comments »

Magna Hoedown Was a Hit

Posted by auroracitizen on September 18, 2010

Magna Hoedown returned to Aurora with a bang. Great event that raised $514,000 for local community groups. Great food, great entertainment and great friends.

Did you go? Did you have a good time? Share your stories if you have any.

Special thanks to all the volunteers — without you , it wouldn’t have been possible.

Posted in Community Corner, Recreation | 14 Comments »

Guest Post: Further Info on $500,000 Trail Addition Requested

Posted by auroracitizen on June 19, 2010

I do a lot of hiking on a weekly basis in town & in Newmarket and thoroughly enjoy Sheppard’s Bush and the Nokiidaa Trail north of Green Lane in Newmarket.

I just read the article at yorkregion.com, Trail link project set to start this winter ( http://www.yorkregion.com/news/article/835366–trail-link-project-set-to-start-this-winter )

At the General Committee meeting Aurora Council  approved going ahead with linking the Nokiidaa trail in Aurora to Newmarket section, but would still need final approval. I have followed bits & pieces of this topic from various sources but don’t have the whole picture. I do see that this does not include the “other planned enhancements, such as turtle ponds and snake hibernacula” and the project is going to cost $500,000 (1/2 million) and that’s without the already spent consultant’s fees, etc.

Fair enough, you don’t get anything for free and I’m all for trails since I am a user, but I on these trails, weekday evenings, mornings and weekend mornings and I don’t see heavy use. You pass by a few hikers, runners, a couple of families sometimes.

Yes, trails are great, but here’s the kicker $500,000 and its less than ½ kilometer of trail. Less than 500 metres ( 283 metres of trail and 185 metres of board walk – so it’s an average of $1,000 per metre.

There’s already a great boardwalk already there on St. John’s Sideroad, why is another boardwalk needed at that cost? I hope they plan on putting parking in somewhere there because I have always seen that area to hike as a problem since you have to park down on Industrial Drive at the dog park or further south at the Leisure complex.

Anyone have a quick summary as to what they are getting at $1,000/metre?

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Environment, Guest Post, Recreation | 5 Comments »

Aurora Workers on Verge of Strike

Posted by auroracitizen on May 20, 2010

Lying in bed this morning, listening to 680 News for the weather, was stunned to hear an ad indicating that Aurora outside workers were on the verge of striking. As they say “when you hear it — it’s news”. Well this was news.

Came across an old Press Release from CUPE on this issue from May 2004. They summarized their position as follows;

The key issue is wages. “We found out at the bargaining table that the town has a discriminatory policy against outside workers,” says Charlie Goodwin, a municipal worker and chairperson of the Aurora Unit of CUPE Local 905. “It really offends us that Aurora seems to have no problem giving hefty increases to city managers and inside workers and councilors, but seems determined to pay unfair wages for hard physical labour. Aurora is practicing clear discrimination with this policy.”

It appears the issues haven’t changed. We understand that during this last bargaining process there was a commitment made to work towards wage equity with similar work in other municipalities. The current contention by CUPE is that Aurora has not lived up to these commitments.

Clearly, we are not privy to all the facts, and equally importantly are not taking sides on this labour issue.

But what is obviously true is that Aurora is on the verge of a strike AGAIN and the community will be caught completely unaware. That we do have an issue with.

These are the outside workers that maintain the parks, pools, and arenas, repair infrastructure such as roads, water mains and sewers. Kind of a critical service at this time of year.

Where has our much-lauded new Communication team been hiding this little gem. We are looking down the barrel of strike action here in Aurora and no one knew. Nothing in the Banner, nothing in The Auroran. No communication from our Council in the paid advertising. Just an ad on 680 News by CUPE 905.

For our faithful readers at Town office — please fill in the details.

And  Councillor MacEachern — you have indicated you read these blogs and criticized our unbalanced reporting — so in the interest of providing a balanced report, we invite you (again) to provide the “other side”.

How about it? Post in your name and provide some information? We’d all love to hear your position.

Posted in Budget, Leadership, Recreation, Town Council | 11 Comments »

Why is Aurora Council Wasting Our Money on Experts & Consultants?

Posted by auroracitizen on February 28, 2010

Question: When is a Recreation Plan Not a Recreation Plan? Answer: When Councillor MacEachern says so.

Question: When is an expert on Integrity not an expert? Answer: When Phyllis Morris and Eveline MacEachern say so.

It seems we have again wasted over 50,000 taxpayers dollars to hire experts, only to have Morris and MacEachern and the “faithful four” dismiss their findings. At least Monteith Brown Planning Consultants (the consulting firm for the Recreation Plan) didn’t get publically fired. They just had their plan ignored and re-written to suit.

 Aurora Council already ignores the advice of staff who don’t parrot the party line, bit if Council isn’t going to accept the advice of consultants –why do they bother wasting our money under the pretense of seeking expert advice. Why not just “woman-up” and be honest and just do what they want. They end up doing it anyway.

After 3 years of discussion and “consultation” a new plan was written by Councillor MacEachern and her hand-picked committee that ignores recommendations made by the experts. Then they have the audacity to require another $100,000 for 2 more studies. Why bother? They do as they please anyway.

What expertise has Councillor MacEachern got in this area. Possibly she earned her planning accreditation at the same institute that Mayor Phyllis Morris earned her HR accreditation.

Oh wait. Phyllis doesn’t have any accreditation either. Just implied expertise based on exaggerated experience working for her husband.

And what’s the point of recommending  a new youth centre and multi-use gymnasium when you have no land set aside and no timelines. That, Councillor MacEachern says, is “an old way of thinking”.

Instead, they put aside more money to pay for the escalating land cost while discussing selling the land purchased years ago by the 404 .

It’s time that this Council started to listen to people other than their friends and behaved in the best interest off the community as a whole. Community input was solicited and received. And then ignored in favour of Councillor MacEachern and her personal agenda.

Posted in Recreation | 6 Comments »

Is Another Petch House Debate Brewing?

Posted by auroracitizen on February 20, 2010

Council is faced with a decision about what to do with the seats in the aging Aurora Community Centre arena. The catalyst for this decision appears to be the funding available from Recreational Infrasructure Canada (RinC) — to the tune of $80,000. The Town portion would be $40,000 based on staff reports.

So what’s the issue? Well it seems some Councillors are concerned about the historic significance of the seating. Really!

Is this setting up to become another Petch House debacle?

Surely this Council isn’t planning to dithering around for a number of years until 1) the seats die a natural death, 2) they spend money on studies, and 3) the grant dollars are no longer available, before we are required to replace the seat for the full $120,000 — or more!

What’s the deal about wooden seats. Who decided everything older than 40 years was historically significant and should be saved? Is that why the smell in the hockey change rooms is so potent — they don’t want to get rid of the smell for historical significance.

Council should demonstrate some of the same care and concern for an elder Councillor they seem to have for old rotting homes and wooden seats. :)

Posted in Budget, Community Corner, Recreation | 17 Comments »

 
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