Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Archive for the ‘Community Input’ Category

GO Train Now Runs on Weekends

Posted by auroracitizen on July 16, 2012

Spread the word! It hasn’t been well-advertised, but GO Transit has deployed a “pilot program” for Saturday, Sunday and Holiday trains travelling between Aurora and Union Station.

Finally, Aurorans can ride a weekend GO train into the city and back home again (up until September 3, that is). For an adult fare of $7.15 (or $14.30 round-trip), it’s a carefree, relaxing way to travel to see a baseball game, check out the museums or spend an afternoon wandering the streets of Toronto.

Weekend travellers can enjoy six southbound trips from Aurora to Union Station:

  •  11:06 (arriving at Union @ 11:58)
  •  13:29 (arriving at Union @ 14:21)
  •  16:21 (arriving at Union @ 17:13)
  •  17:46 (arriving at Union @ 18:38)
  •  20:09 (arriving at Union @ 21:01)
  •  23:04 (arriving at Union @ 23:56)

And six northbound trips from Union Station to Aurora:

  • 12:10 (arriving at Aurora @ 12:59)
  • 15:01 (arriving at Aurora @ 15:50)
  • 17:25 (arriving at Aurora @ 18:16)
  • 18:50 (arriving at Aurora @ 19:39)
  • 21:41 (arriving at Aurora @ 22:30)
  • 00:10 (arriving at Aurora @ 00:59)

For more information, check out and for the full schedule (showing all stops), check out

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Local Business, Traffic/Parking | Leave a Comment »

Gaertner Owes Apology to Bulk Barn and Aurorans

Posted by auroracitizen on June 2, 2012

Councillor Gaertner has embarrassed herself — and defamed Aurora’s reputation — with her recent comments about the inadequacy of Bulk Barn as a corporate citizen here in Aurora.

Her desire to wait for something better is also probably the reason she has had such poor success in her quest for a youth centre here in Aurora — her single issue that she has wrapped herself in since she ran all those years ago. Still nothing she can point to as done. Still just a pipe dream.

Gaertner has made a political career standing back and criticizing what others are trying to do — rather than actually working with others to get something accomplished.

Would another organization have brought more job to Aurora? Maybe. But Bulk Bran would be welcome in almost any community — except Geartnerville.

BTW, possibly one of their supporters could point out the names of the companies and number of jobs she and her cronies from the last four-year term got to re-locate in Aurora? None come to mind.

Below is the Era Banners Editorial comments on this issue. Seems like more than ourselves see the folly in her thinking.

Waiting for ‘better’ option makes no sense

ISSUE: Aurora Councillor Wendy Gaertner not impressed with Bulk Barn’s 400-job announcement.

There’s a lot of truth in the old saying, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

As Aurora council approved the site plan for a new corporate head office and distribution centre for Bulk Barn, most councillors applauded the notion of  400 new office and distribution jobs coming to town. But the sentiment wasn’t unanimous.

In fact, Councillor Wendy Gaertner wasn’t impressed at all. “Frankly, I didn’t think it was the best use for these lands,” she said. “We are trying to bring in many well-paying jobs to this community. I would have liked something more like State Farm that brought with it 800 high-paying jobs with benefits.”

It’s great to aim high, but downplaying the impact of the Bulk Barn relocation is ridiculous, especially considering the deal meets the provincial business land mandate of 50 jobs created per hectare of land sold.

“I am glad this fits in with the mandate, but I still don’t think it’s the best use of space,” she said. “If we look at GTA land value, for the most part, it keeps going up, so I would have rather waited.”

That amounts to a pie-in-the-sky attitude in this day and age. There’s not a person out there who wouldn’t rather have 800 jobs come to town, instead of 400, but there comes a point where waiting for a better deal that might never come is a bad idea. Aurora and area was hit particularly hard when the manufacturing sector dumped jobs in the late 2000s.

The 2009 closure of Magna’s Exterion plants in Aurora and Newmarket alone put 850 people on the unemployment line. That means we’ve already been waiting three years to replace those jobs. That’s long enough.

We know 400 doesn’t equal 800, but people want to work and jobs are jobs, right now. Food bank use continues to rise and queues for subsidized housing grow every day. The Bulk Barn jobs won’t end the need for subsidized housing and they might not even make any difference at the food bank, but they provide hope, which is desperately needed.

BOTTOM LINE: Bulk Barn’s relocation guarantees 400 new jobs during time of need.

Posted in Community Input, Leadership, Local Business, Politics, Town Council | 12 Comments »

Councillor Throws Wet Blanket Over the Barn

Posted by auroracitizen on May 29, 2012

A Reader writes … I read, with delight, in the Banner that Council moved us a step closer to welcoming a major corporation to Aurora.  I would like to offer a warm welcome to Bulk Barn Foods Limited.

This company will add 400 new jobs to Aurora.  It also puts much needed cash into the Town’s hands by purchasing 25 acres of land directly from the Town and by paying commercial property taxes for land that was not generating any revenue as long as the Town owned it and sat on it.

Deputy Mayor Abel is quoted as saying “with all the jobs they bring, I am looking forward with great optimism that we will see several other corporations follow their lead.”  The Town’s Planning Director said the move is “significant”.  This development meets a standard for employment lands, established by the Province, of 50 jobs per hectare.

However, on the flip side, Councillor Gaertner once again shows her complete ignorance in terms of understanding business by making statements such as “Frankly, I didn’t think it was the best use of these lands” – “We are trying to bring in many well-paying jobs”.

This is a corporate head office that supports over 190 retail outlets.  Anyone with any business acumen at all knows that it takes lawyers, accountants, payroll management, professional sales people and marketing professionals, just to name a few positions, in order to successfully run a corporation like Bulk Barn.  They will employ over 300 people in the offices alone.  A quick review of Bulk Barn’s website indicates they are currently looking to hire an Executive Assistant to the CFO, an Accountant, and a Payroll Administrator, among other positions.

Councillor Gaertner, I have news for you – these are professional well-paid positions.   Additionally there will be over 100 positions in the distribution centre.

This is a win, win, win for our Town and the last thing we need is a bitter, out of touch Councillor throwing a wet blanket on it.

Posted in Community Input, Guest Post, Leadership, Local Business, Politics, Town Council | 23 Comments »

Farmers in it up to their ears

Posted by auroracitizen on May 13, 2012

This week saw the genesis of a most bewildering and ill-conceived concept, a Code of Conduct for the Aurora Farmers’ Market.

We in Aurora cannot forget a similarly titled document that was introduced by the former mayor, as part of her “Gold Standard” of democracy and governance. It applied to members of Council and came replete with an Integrity Commissioner.

That gentleman did not last long in his position as he was fired without ceremony when his first decision did not agree with the former’s opinion.

The Aurora Farmers’ Market was created by a municipal By-law passed on April 8, 2003. A copy is attached below for those who wish to read the entire document.

In the By-Law the Town appointed a Market Clerk who effectively administered the market. Lease agreements originally were between the Town on the one hand and the Lessee on the other for operation by the Lessee of a market stall.

At some point the location of the market moved from Temperance Street to its present location in the Town Park.

The Farmers’ Market seems to have acquired a Constitution, exactly when is a matter of some speculation. There was a rumour that former Councillor Granger had drafted one. We don’t know that the copy of the document attached below was his work.

The jam lady, in her capacity as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Aurora Farmers’ Market, has produced a risible bunch of words that purport to be a Code of Conduct for Vendors of the market. Attached below is the only copy we were able to find, and it is with thanks and hopefully the permission of Evelyn Buck.

We will refrain from commenting, other than to say that these words seem to simply demonstrate someone’s heightened sense of ego run berserk.

We would love to have your comments on this latest test of our town’s sanity.

AFM Enabling By-Law 135

AFM Constitution 136

AFM Code of Conduct 137

Posted in Code of Ethics, Community, Community Corner, Community Input, Guest Post, Leadership, Local Business, Politics | 29 Comments »

Is She Really Serious?

Posted by auroracitizen on May 9, 2012

A reader writes … Once again I am baffled by Ms. Gaertner (I refuse to call her Councillor because of the manner in which she treated Mayor Dawe when he first took office – I am sure we all remember it took her a few weeks to stop calling him Mr. Dawe  – and quite frankly I do not believe she deserves that seat she sits in).

Case in point, last night’s council meeting. Now I think  most will agree that they watch those meetings solely for the comedic behaviour that Gaertner, Ballard and Gallo provide but I specifically think  Gaertner  takes the top prize of “class clown” (for many reasons actually).

However, I am not clear on the job descriptions, or the manner in which our councillors get paid so I am looking for someone to provide me clarification, and others opinions on the following point.

Last night there was a discussion regarding a meeting for council that some thought should be open to the public and some thought it should not be. Councillor Gaertner provided her input as to why she thought it should be open to the public but then stated if it were to be a closed session she would NOT be attending (good god this woman is ridiculous)!

Can someone please tell me why if she in employed by the town, to represent our community and its best interests, that she is “allowed” to not attend a work session?  Do the taxpayers not pay her salary?

I know I am not well versed in how our councillors are compensated, but if I told my boss that I was not going to attend a work meeting because I was being a pissy little brat and wasn’t getting my way, I would have my walking papers immediately!!!!  How does she, and where does she get the nerve to not participate in something that is part of her job???

Confusing…… but I am not surprised… Can someone please help me understand this?

Posted in Community Input, Guest Post, Integrity, Leadership, Special Meetings, Town Council | 7 Comments »

Local Blogs Provide Opportunity To Share Thoughts and Ideas With Our Neighbours

Posted by auroracitizen on May 1, 2012

Aurora Citizen and Our Town and its Business are two active and entertaining blog sites. They can also be very educational and affect the way we feel and think about things.

Over the past couple of days conversations that have started with an invitation to join the local lawn bowling club on Aurora Citizen and a discussion about a tree removal By-Law on Our Town and its Business have taken off into areas not remotely related. We have visited full-contact lawn bowling (Australian Rules) and its equivalent in crocheting, pet burial grounds both local and in Uxbridge, the game of golf all the way back to the venerable St. Andrews and the nasty Scots weather that can suddenly appear without warning on “a municipal course on a moor in the west where, about four in the afternoon, a thick mist rose out of the ground.”

It is wonderful to have these opportunities, to read about what our neighbours say and to have a chance to express our own feelings, anonymously if we choose.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We should take a moment to say thank you for this.

It has given to us, and guaranteed, freedom of expression. We have seen over the past 18 months how valuable this is.

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Guest Post, Media | 1 Comment »

Flower Boxes

Posted by auroracitizen on April 27, 2012

Some time ago a reader asked a question about the large deposits of earth dirt along Wellington — between Bayview and Leslie.

We asked the question of Mayor Dawe and received the following response.

With respect to large deposits of earth on Wellington, between Bayview & Leslie: this is a project that goes back about 10 years with respect to the “2B” development. The 2B is the (mostly) housing development that is between Wellington & St. John’s Sideroad, on the East side of Bayview.

It is a streetscaping project, and those are flower boxes. The project was approved in principle many years ago, but never received budget approval until last year. It was started in the fall, suspended for the winter and restarting with the good weather.

This is joint project by the Town and the Region, and when it is done will certainly enhance the eastern entrance to Town.

Thanks for the question — and thanks for the answer.

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Geoff Dawe | 1 Comment »

Our Town: 4/26 Guest Bruce Cuthbert

Posted by auroracitizen on April 26, 2012

Our Town has a very special guest on tonight’s show – Mr. Bruce Cuthbert. As this week is Organ and Tissue Donor Week (April 22nd through 29th), we felt it was important to showcase this very important cause.

An organ recipient and tireless advocate on behalf of the cause of organ and tissue donation, Mr. Cuthbert will talk about his experience with and journey through the transplant process – it’s impact not only on himself but on his family, friends and loved ones.  Mr. Cuthbert will also talk about his work with the York Region Gift of Life Association and the Be a Donor campaign ( – and the very real need to increase donor registrations in York Region.

One person dies every three days in Canada as they wait on the transplant list.  Increased donor registrations then is absolutely crucial.  Tune in to Our Town tonight and learn about this issue and the work and experience of one of Aurora’s tireless volunteers – Mr. Bruce Cuthbert.

Our Town airs on Aurora TV – at 7pm, Thursdays. Stay Informed, Stay Involved, because this is Our Town!!

by Alison Collins-Mrakas

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Our Town | 1 Comment »

The Aurora Lawn Bowling Club Invites you ….

Posted by auroracitizen on April 23, 2012

The Aurora Lawn Bowling Season is about to begin!

We are hosting two Open House evenings for people throughout York Region to come out and try the sport, or just to come out and watch!

Monday May 14th and Thursday May 17th at 7PM with a rain date of Sunday May 20th at 2PM.

As well this year we are trying something different. If anyone is interested in hosting a private event at the club we are now accepting inquiries. We will provide the equipment and coaching, as well as make our clubhouse available to you and your party. Pricing will vary depending on what you are looking for.

If anyone is interested please contact Kelli Collins, VP ALBC at 416-706-4552.

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input | 30 Comments »

Are our communications capabilities really improving?

Posted by auroracitizen on April 9, 2012

It is with a certain amount of regret that I read that Aurora Citizen is connecting through both Facebook and Twitter – this will allow you to “receive and comment on the platform of your choice.”

What has been becoming increasingly clear to me is that it is the content that is important, not the manner in which it is transmitted or received.

When man’s ability to communicate with his fellows was restricted to visual gestures or grunts, this communication required physical immediacy. Over tens of thousands of years these grunts became what we can today identify as primitive words, and pictures were used to embellish these. Hieroglyphs evolved, a form of pictorial writing, symbols of some complexity as in ancient China and Egypt several thousand years ago. There followed the creation of letters in one of the several existing alphabets and writing progressed from clay tablets to papyrus, animal skins and to paper, always by hand and always by only a few, those known as scribes. Smoke signals were still useful in communicating messages over a distance, much faster than a relay or runners either on foot or on horseback, but these latter could provide details of events, thus news.

Books began their existence as a rarity, produced laboriously by monks in gloomy rooms with, at times, inks of splendid colour when illustration and emphasis were required. But these were time consuming, costly and only for the church or the very wealthiest of titled individuals, Lords or Counts. In time a revolution occurred that was the most significant in man’s communications history – the printing press. This instrument would see the written word literally flood the world, starting with books and then with newspapers and magazines, so that even the poorest could get their hands on something written, often by someone on the other side of the world.

Man’s capacity for technology and ingenuity resulted in a crescendo of discoveries that would speed and enhance the ability to transmit information. The telegraph, the telephone, underseas cables, wireless, short-wave signals and television revolutionized man’s ability to communicate, and also to make war. During the 20th century the technology of communication and indeed of the ability to access and transmit knowledge grew exponentially and devices for these purposes became more sophisticated and cheaper so that today they are in common usage globally.

When I first started communicating internationally I would call the operator at CN-CP Telecommunications at day’s end, and dictate messages that would be cabled overnight around the world. Then came the telex machine that permitted one to write a message onto a paper tape, like a ticker-tape. When the message was completed it was carefully rolled up, with the edge feeding into the gearing, then dial the country and city codes and then the actual telex number and when connected you fed the tape through the machine which transmitted the hieroglyphs to their destination.

The fax machine was the next technological advance and today we appear to have the ultimate in email.

But what concerns me is that the “evolution” of social networking is to a very great extent simply the ability to transmit junk and waste people’s time, especially that of young teenagers, whose lives are already filled with games until they come out their pores. Our bright teenaged granddaughter disdains Twitter as something rather silly; her actual words were considerably stronger.

Our “serious” media have become polluted with a lot of this “instant news” that is taken as factual simply because it might have appeared on one or another of the social networks, possibly as a wild speculation or a gross exaggeration. There no longer exists the need for two or three independent and verifiable sources for a story to be accepted as gospel. The major news television networks and respected newspapers are guilty of running with a rumour, turning it into fact, to be the first with “breaking news.”

I realize full well that there are useful and responsible roles for this latest technology, and no doubt there will be those who, reading this, will condemn some of my opinions. I expect that. If you didn’t I would be disappointed. But I hope that you have the ability to admit that not all that pours forth from this “brave new world” is necessarily good and that there is great room for improvement.

Somewhere, someone sits down with a fountain pen and a piece of fine cream-coloured paper and begins to compose and write a love-letter. Twitter does not seem like the right way to express that person’s feelings.

Posted in Community Input, Guest Post | 7 Comments »