Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Welcome To Your Town Park

Posted by auroracitizen on August 2, 2010

A reader sent in a note that as of midnight Thursday night, a perimeter fence had been erected around our Town Park. 

Another reader sent in a quick snap of the fence and indeed, yep, there it is (picture is slightly blurry, sorry folks).  An approximately 6 foot tall fence completely surrounds the Town Park.

Just as an aside, another concern emerges when looking at the picture.  Clearly visible in the picture is Town of Aurora staff, unloading picnic benches from a Town owned vehicle.  It begs the question, in addition to the $2000 the Town has fronted this event, are we as taxpayers’ also on the hook for staff and municipal town resources? Are we paying for set up, clean up and take down of this event?  It would be nice to know just what this event actually cost us.

Last year, the “Aurora” Jazz Festival was not encased in steel fencing. The park was open to anyone.  You could shop at the Farmer’s Market and then sit a picnic bench and listen to music.  It was, supposedly, a “special event” associated with the Farmer’s Market.  To spark “awareness” of the Market and/or “grow” the market.  Last year, Music and Farmer’s market vendors mingled together in an open park.  This year, we have farmer’s market vendors turfed from the park and replaced with “other” vendors, perimeter fencing erected around the park and a fee to even enter it!

Speaking of the $5 fee, in the recent Era Banner article (July 28th) the issue of the entry fee to the park was raised.  The article states,   “Another new addition is the $5 admission fee. Patrons will receive a bracelet that allows access to Town Park. The fee is to help the festival grow, Mrs. St. Kitts said.”

So, if we understand the quote correctly, you, the tax payer are to pay $5, to enter YOUR park, so that a private business, St.Kitts Music, producers of the Festival, can “grow” their venture??

In the same article, Ms. St. Kitts says, “The August long weekend belongs to the Aurora community.”  Really?

Tell that to the Farmer’s Market vendors, tell that to the residents who live around the park who weren’t consulted about a 48 hour music festival in their neighbourhood, tell that to the tax payers of Aurora who fronted $2000 (that we know of) to this commercial venture. 

Then explain how this is a “community” event.

22 Responses to “Welcome To Your Town Park”

  1. KB said

    What a shame, Aurora used to be a great place to live! Now “Morris-St. Kittsville” is a sad sad copy. What a difference 4 yrs has made, to all of us.

    Please folks, get out there on October 25th and get rid of these people! I shudder to think what devastation they’ll do if they have another 4 years to wrack havoc on us.

    Moving to Newmarket is sounding better everyday – and I NEVER thought I would say those words

    • David Heard said

      Please do not feel bad about your statement.

      As many Aurora citizens know I do indeed think we have a great Town with huge potential to lead the region in the coming years.

      Lead with positive energy and inititives.

      I too have been considering life after October 25 and Newmarket has come to mind.

      Change will be a terrific start to a new future of team work.

    • Brickbat returns said

      It was quiet at the Mayors BBQ at the Town Park today.

      Even though it was for Charity there was little activity in the area.

      Her two heavies(Wilson and Grainger)were on duty.

      I think one of them was scouting for evil youth selling ice cream in the park.

    • Anonymous Indeed said

      Get a grip, people. Even if Phyllis gets re-elected, Aurora is what YOU make it. Challenge the candidates, and work to get better people elected.

  2. Anonymous said

    • No thank you said

      I see St. Kitts, Sue Walmer, and the lady with the flying-saucer hair. Oh, and a man playing a piano. How’d he get in the video?

  3. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    So, I did a bit of looking around at other music festivals that I’ve attended. They seem to have two ways of doing things.

    The first is to offer free admission until the thing is so darned big that it makes everyone in the town feel like it is really worthwhile to put up with the hassle of having some public places blocked off for paid-admission events. The payback to the community is that tourists spend money at local businesses and the businesses give money to the municipality. The Hillside Festival near Guelph and the Mariposa Festival in Orillia are two examples of music festivals that follow that formula.

    The second is to offer free admission for the major festival and then to use that festival as a way of promoting local fundraising concerts (which in turn promote the major festival.) Sunfest in London, ON, uses that approach.

    Vendors seem to be part of the program for both types of events. I can’t see how upsetting the local business people and farmers’ market vendors would be advantageous to either formula, though.

    Both approaches definitely mean engaging the community, getting a buy-in from the municipality for using the space for one activity, ensuring the program runs well and making sure the clean up is done efficiently.

    So, maybe the Aurora Jazz Festival needs to take a different approach.

  4. Brick Bat returns said

    Residents should be asking about the Farmers Market money from the Town last year that the Town delegated to “Special Events Only”.

    This money was used for a “joint venture” between the Farmers Market and ST Kitts Music.(Shers words)

    Then Sher resigns and we have this Fiasco.

    Please take a look at past issues of The Auroran Newspaper.

    You will notice when Sher is promoting the Farmers Market she does not direct people to the Town web-site that has a link to the Farmers Market.

    No indeed she directs people to the St Kitts web site.

    Does not promote the Town when given the chance.

    I remember David Herd said he resigned from the Out-reach position on the executive of the Market and the setting up position a full season ago.

    Now I think I know why.

    He also has decided that getting involved with special events this year I have heard because it would be too much of a political task battling the click.

    I think Mr.Heard would have an interesting take on this and does not work for the Town so to fear for his job.

    He might fear getting sued though.

    Tell us the goods David.

    We will listen.

  5. Marie said

    When I first started reading this blog, I couldn’t help but wonder if it weren’t simply a venue for venting about Ms. Morris, but the more I read — not only here, but in our local papers as well — and the more I talk to other residents, it’s pretty clear that there’s good reason Ms. Morris and her companion(s) are written about so much here.

    I mean, seriously, can ANY resident have a town-owned park fenced off for a private function? Can ANY resident have town employees deliver and move picnic tables for an event? I have a family reunion I’d like to host in a town park — can I do the same as Ms. St. Kitts and declare it a “town event” while charging an admission fee? It sure looks like friends of Ms. Morris DO get special treatment! I didn’t attend the festival but it looks like I paid for it.

    Maybe next time Ms. St. Kitts should simply go door to door, tell residents she’s Ms. Morris’ friend and request the cash directly. That would leave the park free for the residents who have paid for it and save us all the time and hassle.

  6. PHIL GRIFFIN said

    I thought the jazz Festival was a great event for the community

    The $5 was cheap especially when these events are funded by corporate sponsorship. Refreshing to not have to see CIBC and Rogers banners everywhere

    The music was first rate and the food was great as well


    Stacey Kaniuk on Saturday
    The Sounds of Motown on friday night
    Cold Corona Lights both days from the Rotary
    Margherita Pizza from Forno Rustico
    Corn Soup from Melo

    The Town Park is a perfect venue for this type of event and maybe not at the caliber of the Beaches jazz Festival (with a $1M plus budget)but with whatever the event organizers had to work with was done in with style and class.

    Politics aside …i am sure everyone enjoyed themselves and the local talent was amazing

    It was not surprising to hear that people from outside of Aurora came to spend a day in our great town

    The fencing was probably needed for security and it was a licensed event and this type of logistics is always present at these things. All Sher and the volunteers hard work paid off for such a great time

    I look forward to next years event that will be now be 3 days

    • fed up said

      There will be NO event next year. St. Kitts friend will NOT be mayor and she will have nobody to turn to for favours, fencing or money.

  7. Matt Maddocks said

    Last Saturday morning at the Aurora Farmer’s Market was an interesting one. While navigating through the maze of displaced vendors, and taking in the sight of all the chain-link fencing that now closed off our town park, there was a strange event occurring in and around the one section of fencing left open allowing limited access to the park while the market was in operation. Several folks stood and watched as Sher St. Kitts made her way around inside the park, going from one picnic table to the next, telling folks they had to leave her park (oops, I meant “town park”). One by one, the folks had to scoop up their breakfasts, and head for the exit. After making her rounds, Sher and her security guards placed barricades at the exit, denying access to anyone else who dared enter. Over the next ten minutes or so, several Aurora taxpayers were turned away from entering their town park, and instead were directed by Sher to start walking south, past the baseball diamond, down to Metcalfe St., east along the south end of the park, and then back north along Larmont St., if they needed access to the washrooms or just the other side of the park. I noticed at one point, Sher had left, and the security guard, after speaking to a young woman with a baby at gate, moved the barricade and allowed her access to the park, I’m guessing to use the washrooms, or to get to the splash pad area. Well, Sher caught sight of this infraction, and marched over to speak to the security guard, in a hands waving, huffin’-and puffin’ manner, pointing several times to the south end of the park. It didn’t take a mind reader to figure out what was going on.

    I left the market that morning questioning the direction this town has taken, when this kind of behavior is not only allowed, but condoned by our Mayor. We all know what good buddies Sher St. Kitts and Phyllis Morris are, so is this why this bossy sad little woman is given free reign to use Aurora as her own personal money-maker, and the rights of the Aurora taxpayer be damned? For chrissakes Sher, it was a woman and a baby at the gate. What possible reason would you have had to turn her away? Lack of a $5 wristband? There were maybe a dozen or so folks enjoying a quiet breakfast in the park until you came along and gave them the heave-ho, so what’s that, another $60 in potential lost revenue?

    Petty, disgusting, and sad all around. That pretty much sums up the last 4 years under Phyllis Morris’ stint as Mayor too. There’s a vote coming up – let’s not let this happen again in our town.

    • David Heard said

      I must say that this account is very disturbing.

      I did have a few complaints at our “Step in time” booth at the Market.

      Two seniors also came to detail how upset they were at being told to leave the park.

      They had been eating some breakfast at around 10 am when they were spoken to.

      As for the earlier comment about myself having some information, I would like to say my name is spelled wrong.

      It is HEARD.

      We can make mistakes in spelling and that happens.

      Other serious things must have the truth told.

      If you are telling the truth it should be with a threat of consequence.

      As for the happenings I may have knowledge of; I will only direct them when the time is right.

      I will only tell the truth and would testify under oath as to factual accounts.


      I must say I am really excited to know I can make a statement with my vote on October 25.

      X marks the spot.

      Some spots need a little rubbing and scrubbing to erase.

      I will be working my fingers to the bone and praying.

    • fed up said

      Too bad that “The Auroran” is on holidays for the next 2 weeks. This should be published in the local paper for all taxpayers to read.

    • Knowledgeable in Aurora said

      David – I hear you have a story tell about a run in with Al Wilson…….do tell, please.

    • fed up said

      Perhaps one could ask Mr. Wilson why his was the only house on Delayne Drive that had the tree on their front lawn trimmed by town staff last week.

  8. “The August long weekend belongs to the Aurora community”

    That was the case right up until St. Kitts appeared here in Aurora, not so much after.

    Now we can add “as long as Aurorans’ money belongs to St Kitts.”

    Notice how St. Kitts is now affiliated with two summer holiday weekends in Aurora. The Canada Parade cost the town $17,000, and now we’re finding out that the Jazz festival is costing the town $2,000 + in sponsorships, fees waived and services.

    It’s obvious why money and services are being thrown to St. Kitts and her Music company, why fees are being waived, why the town is all to happy to disrupt local small businesses with permits to hand everything over to Sher, the mayor’s loyal friend.

    I don’t think anyone is overly surprised, even at the overt manner in which this is all playing out. What I am most curious about is wondering if Aurora could have any Music events in this town separate from St. Kitts Music?

    I question how a proposed “Aurora Arts & Music Festival” was turned down by LSAC, but the Aurora Jazz festival was embraced.

    I commented about it here on my blog:

    We used to have a rich community focused culture. One of inclusion.
    Even the massively hyped “Cultural Center” has been co-opted for a pay-for-entrance event by Sher.

    It’s one thing to be in something for profit, it’s quite another to boast something as a “community event” or oneself as a “do gooder volunteer” when it’s obvious that is far from the case.

    In Aurora, before Phyllis was elected Mayor and Sher showed up, we used to have a Nationally recognized horse show, yet somehow we have replaced this with an expensive parade, and a mediocre Jazz festival headlined by a 2 time Juno nominated (not awarded) wedding singer and his karaoke DJ family.

    If this is what the town thinks passes for culture, and is a good use of our tax dollars and a $500,000 funded cultural center (that is supposed to be a museum) then “culture” has been reduced to nothing but bacteria laden scum.

    At least Sher has nothing to do with RibFest, because it blows away her so called “events” out of the water. It is truly special and I hope the community embraces it like they have the last 5 years.

    It must be the only town event I haven’t heard St. Kitts Music being piped from, but no doubts she is trying for this too.

    • Brickbat returns said

      It is very interesting that the person you spoke of is (Michael Moran) who
      proposed a music festival to be held at the Town Park.

      When Mr.Moran attended an LSAC meeting guess who attended that was not on the committee.

      You guessed it …..Sher herself.

      So who tipped her off that there was already an idea of a festival in the works.

      There was not a word on the street about a Jazz Festival at that time.

      However there was word of a Farmers Market Music Festival.

      Not a private gig like what came about.

      Quacks like a Duck…..stinks like duck ….you know.

  9. Anti-Kitts said

    I wonder if they applied for an exemption under the Noise By-law…hmmmm

  10. Their're from SNOWBALL! said

    I am really getting tired of Sher St. Kitts; the St Kitts Music company and how they come into Aurora and tell the people of Aurora what we need and what we are. She is all about self promotion and promotion of her hack-talented husband. Let’s put an end to the St. Kitts in Aurora and reclaim this town for it’s residents, not Snowball’s.

  11. Anon Ymous said

    A fence around a public park like this sickens me… It’s a wonder that Sher and her cronies didn’t try to make the residents pay since they got to hear the concert for free from their front porches.

    This blatant misuse of OUR park should NEVER happen again

    • evelyn.buck said

      Somewhere I saw a reference to the town’ staff and truck delivering and unloading picnic tables at the town the week-end. The query was who would be paying.

      The “park” user fee is a misnomer. There is no fee to use a park. The fee actually covers the cost of tidying up befora and after a booked event

      And providing picnic tables and garbage containers to the location.

      The Jazz Fesival organizer paid the fee and the items were provided.

      Of course the question arises who really paid the fee when the Town provided $2,000 in a so-called sponsorship.

      Apparently St Kitts was advised not to apply for fee waiver for the band shell after she received the sponsorship.

      She requested delegation status and stated the intent anyway. .

      She d appeared but did not follow through with the request.

      $2,000 was more than enough to pay the user fees for the bandsehll and the park services.

      By my reckoning,she got both free and still put money in her pocket.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: