Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

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 »

The Dirty Side of Politics

Posted by auroracitizen on April 21, 2012

Aurora saw the dirty side of Aurora politics poke its head out of its hole again recently. We had hoped that brand of politics had been run out-of-town last election — but alas it continues.

Recently Mayor Dawe made an intemperate remark during a confrontation initiated by Councillor Ballard. Councillor Ballard was making veiled allegations that Mayor Dawe had strong-armed the Aurora Cultural Centre into concessions that Councillor Ballard disagreed with — and Mayor Dawe responded “I have also stopped beating my wife”. Details can be seen in the April 17 issue of The Auroran – page 6.

No doubt — the comment was inappropriate and Mayor Dawe should apologize.

However, what was of equal concern was the additional fall-out of this remark.

In the April 12 issue of The Banner, a Letter to the Editor was published from Evelina MacEachern, former Councillor and recently defeated candidate and vocal supporter of defeated Mayor Phyllis Morris. It was published as an open letter to Mayor Dawe. In the letter, Ms MacEachern takes the Mayor to task for his comments. Was it genuine concern or political opportunism?

It is indeed a strange day when Ms MacEachern can take the high ground regarding language when knowledgeable Council watchers know she drop F-bombs in town hall on a regular basis during her terms as a Councillor. Her language and bullying behaviour was one of the contributing factors to the resignation by former Councillor Grace Marsh and is potentially part of the matters before the courts in the Councillor Buck abuse of power lawsuit against 6 members of last Council.

Knowledgeable Council watchers also know she was the real brains behind much of the political manoeuvring by defeated Mayor Phyllis Morris last term.

So it came as no surprise that her letter was followed up with an email blast — also on April 12 — by defeated Mayor Phyllis Morris which applauded Ms MacEachern for her letter and then tried to align herself with the yellow brick house and the white ribbon campaign. You can see it on Councillors Buck’s blog. Again, was it genuine concern or political opportunism?

Between these 2 people, they caused more pain and suffering by staff and people in our community than possibly any 2 politicians in the history of Aurora. Yet here they are trying to take the moral high ground on this issue.

Then to further demonstrate how dirty politics is in this town, former Councillor, Nigel Kean and also recently defeated mayoralty candidate jumped on their band wagon in the April 17 Auroran adding his own commentary. Surely if these 3 people are all commenting  — it must be genuine concern — not political opportunism?

You may remember the last time these 3 people worked together on anything. It was immediately after the election — where both Morris and Kean were handed stunning defeats — they joined together in Morris’s doomed 6 million dollar lawsuit against 3 Aurora families for comments made anonymously on this blog.

Ballard, MacEachern, Morris and Kean. What a team, selflessly giving to the Town of Aurora with no thought for themselves. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Genuine concern about an inappropriate comment by Mayor Dawe — we think not. If that was really the case, would not a simple email or phone call to express their disappointment have served the ultimate goal of informing Mayor Dawe. Others surely took that option.

No. Instead they choose to try to embarrass and humiliate Mayor Dawe publically. Their standard method of operation.

Political opportunism — you bet!

Jumping on a comment to try to take advantage for political gain and revenge? You simply need to look at the history of the people involved and how they have worked together in the past to accomplish their goals to form your opinion.

We are pretty clear what the intent is. We also believe that while folks in Aurora may have been fooled in 2006 — they weren’t fooled in 2010. And they aren’t fooled now.

Should Mayor Dawe apologize. Absolutely. But he should do it because it is the right thing to do — not because some political opportunists trying to resurrected their failed careers say so. They have no moral basis or credibility to make the case.

Posted in Code of Ethics, Community, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership | 9 Comments »

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 | 48 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 »

Guest Post: If hockey is our national game then Canada is in serious trouble.

Posted by auroracitizen on March 15, 2011

I was about 10 years old when I sat in Maple Leaf Gardens for the first time, beside my father, in the reds. The Detroit Red Wings were in town that wintery Saturday night, and even though blue was, and still is, my favourite colour, for some reason I became attached to the team from the motor city. I can still close my eyes and here the dull rumble of the crowd, and then an occasional roof-splitting roar when a Toronto goal was scored and the sighs when the Wings put one in the net. My father once threw me out of the living room when the two teams were in the Final and I was cheering for Detroit.

What impressed me most that first night was the speed at which the players moved, their stick handling and passing skills, and the accurate shots that bounced near or into the net.

So far as I know the size of the ice surface that was used in those far away days of hockey’s greatest years has not changed materially. What has, and dramatically, are both the number of NHL teams, from the original six to a figure I don’t even know, and the size of the players.

Back in the 1950’s the majority of players might have ranged between 5’8” and 5’10” in height and 160 – 175 pounds. In today’s league these then super athletes, many among the greatest in all sporting accomplishment, would be looked upon as midgets and would be rejected. It’s hard to believe that Henri Richard, who won 11 Stanley Cup rings, was 5’7” and160 pounds soaking wet and played for 20 years.

What has changed in hockey is that for the most part skill is no longer the prerequisite that it once was. When you have 10 men on the same relatively small ice surface, many of whom weigh over 225 pounds and stand 6’ 5” in their skates, you must by necessity sacrifice the passing and stick handling and instead get physical – there isn’t enough room on the ice for anything else. I know – this might be a bit extreme, but where I am going requires extreme.

I no longer watch hockey unless it is international play on the larger surface. That provides the opportunity for players to demonstrate that they can still use the old skills.

The point of all of this is the destruction that is being wrought on far too many hockey players, with no apparent response from the NHL hierarchy, which I suppose is not surprising when one considers who comprises this and the general lameness of their approach to the entire game.

The man who brought Canada a moment of great golden glory is presently gone – out to concussion; will he return? None of us knows. The most recent revelations about a former player suffering from a degenerative brain condition following repeated concussions should not just be alarming, but also should serve as scientific proof about the possible long-term consequences of head shots.

Consider the Lindros brothers, two physical giants, both with careers cut unnecessarily and prematurely short, both victims of concussion. Consider that millions of Canadian girls and boys play hockey, from coast to coast. Consider that our young men and young women have brought home World and Olympic gold medals in our national sport. Consider that all of us who are parents with children who play hockey can make known the way we feel about needless physical aggression, to our children, to their coaches, to the leagues in which they play and to the governing bodies of the sport. In The Globe and Mail sports section dated March 10, 2011, the front-page article headline reads: “Shock Waves reach Parliament Hill.” Aggressor receives “10-minute game misconduct, no further penalty.” This for what in civilian life would have been a criminal act, probably assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Hockey is a very physical game, but I suggest that being able to take a one or two minute shift and skate up and down the ice, passing, stick handling and taking the occasional shot on goal is far more physically demanding then jumping out onto the ice and 15 seconds later crushing an opponent head first into the boards.

It is time that real hockey fans start to express themselves in order to preserve the game, and our children, from the carnage that is happening weekly before our eyes.

Posted in Community, Discussion Topic, Health & Fitness | 3 Comments »

What is the Appropriate Role of a Citizen Committee?

Posted by auroracitizen on March 11, 2011

There has been some discussion about the appropriate role of a citizen committee in a number of blog comments, so we thought we would ask the question directly.

Currently there are legislated committees such as the Library Board or Cemetery Board which are not the focus of this post– but could provide some ideas about roles.

This discussion is intended to focus around discretionary committees that are set up by Council to solicit and encourage community input — such a Leisure Service or Economic Development or Financial.

Here are some questions to get the conversation started. We are sure you will have more.

  1. Should a committee have a budget? If so, who would be accountable for the budget?
  2. Should Council members sit on advisory committees or should it be only citizens? Will citizens defer to Council members if they are part of the committee?
  3. Who should the committee report to — Council directly or should they go through staff?
  4. What role should staff play on the committee?
  5. Should staff be asked to comment on all committee recommendations prior to coming to Council?
  6. Should committee recommendations be vetted by staff before presentation to Council?
  7. Is Council under any obligation to follow recommendations from an advisory committee?
  8. Who is the committee accountable to? Are they accountable to anyone or are they independent?

Also, what committees do you think Aurora should have? Is there an area that is missed?


FOOTNOTE: What started as an intelligent discussion quickly degenerated into name-calling and insults. The moderators have removed all such comments. Sorry folks, but our attempts to let everything through continues to backfire.

Posted in Community, Community Input, Town Committees | 34 Comments »

The Elephant in the Budget

Posted by auroracitizen on March 8, 2011

Recently on several blogs in the Town of Aurora, there have been controversial posts about the recent history of the Church Street School, which currently houses the Aurora Cultural Centre.  The ACC is now governed by a board that operates at arm’s length from the Town, but receives Town funding through an agreement that ends next year.

The Church Street School used to be the home of a museum operated by the Aurora Historical Society.  When the building was renovated, it appeared that there would be a Town of Aurora commitment to include a new museum.  Now there is lots of storage of artifacts, but no real museum.

Lots of folks love the Aurora Cultural Centre and want it to continue to be funded.  Lots of other folks want to fund a museum dedicated to Aurora’s history.  Some folks want both.  A few want neither.

Would you prefer to have this new cultural centre supported by your taxes, or would you prefer to respect the heritage of the past?

Would you prefer to have an unelected committee tell you what’s worth watching and doing, or have the funding oversight remain with Council?

Would you like to spend your hard-earned tax dollars housing bits and pieces of antiquity or focus on the future cultural opportunities within our community.

Or are you somewhere in between?  If you are, what does that mean for the Town budget?

Have your say here on this blog.  What should happen in the future?

Posted in Budget, Community, Community Input | 60 Comments »