Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Guest Post: Is Technology Stifling Our Children?

Posted by auroracitizen on February 28, 2011

In honour of Family Day and in recognition of our responsibility to our children, let me turn your focus 180 degrees from Aurora’s political circus to a more serious topic.

Last month we got a thank-you note from our 15 year-old granddaughter on behalf of her brother and herself, expressing appreciation for the Christmas gifts they had received. This young lady is extremely bright, gifted and a really nice kid, for a teenager.

What was particularly striking about her note, and the envelope in which it arrived, was the fact that it was printed in her hand, and not very well at that.

On the next occasion that one of us spoke to her mother, my wife asked a simple question: “Does Mary (name changed) know how to write?”

The answer curled my wife’s ear. “You don’t have to know how to write anymore! Nowadays everyone has a laptop or a Blackberry – writing is history.” This from our elder daughter who had started her university career with a journalism career in mind.

Our younger daughter, who is an elementary school teacher in a town north of here, came down on her sister’s side. “We don’t bother with mechanics any more, rather teaching children to be well-rounded, something their parents no longer do.”

Kicking into the conversation a couple of days later was our son-in-law, above daughter’s husband, a swing elementary school teacher. Everyone that he came into contact with in his school not only wrote, but did so beautifully. It seemed to be a competitive thing and reflected a certain degree of pride in the accomplishment. Possibly because of a different mind-set in some cultures.

Into the mail this past Friday were a couple of books on cursive writing and a kit on calligraphy. We might get a blast for meddling. I really hope not.

Today’s young generation is swamped with technology, a lot of it very positive. But social networking on the Internet strikes me as an extremely dangerous alternative to getting out and playing with kids in your neighbourhood, seeing and talking face to face with real people.

Posted in Discussion Topic, Guest Post, Leadership, Uncategorized | 22 Comments »

Code of Conduct Up For Review

Posted by auroracitizen on February 5, 2011

Aurora Council have agreed to revisit the controversial Code of Conduct put in place last term. It was agreed at the same meeting where the removal of the complaint against Councillor Buck was finally removed — long past due.

However, one last attempt was made by Councillor Ballard to have it remain on the town website. He wanted to be clear there was no legal downside to removing the complaint.

Possibly, he should have considered the legal downside of having a complaint up months after it had been dealt with by 2 separate “Integrity Commissioners”. Based on the position of last Council, the complaint could have remained indefinitely unless Council decided to remove it.

Finally after Councillor Ballard was assured by the Town Solicitor that there were no legal ramifications it was passed unanimously.

Council now needs to decide whether they need a “made in Aurora” Code of conduct or whether their behaviour can be governed by their Oath of Office and guidelines under the Municipal Act. Time will tell what they decide.

What do you think?

  • Does Aurora need a Code of Conduct?
  • Did the previous Code have a positive or negative effect on Council behaviour?
  • Did the Code actually address the behaviour that so many voters in Aurora found offensive?
  • Will this Council become embroiled in the sort of personality clashes that derailed last Council’s term that prompted them to implement a Code in the first place as a hammer against certain Councillors?
  • What sorts of behaviour should be covered if a Code is put in place?

Let us know your thoughts.

Posted in Code of Ethics, Integrity, Leadership, Uncategorized | 18 Comments »

Double Standards?

Posted by auroracitizen on September 4, 2010

Earlier today Geoff Dawe was in attendance at the Aurora Farmers Market. He was with a couple of supporters who were wearing “Geoff Dawe for Mayor T-shirts” and offering campaign literature to patrons.

He was approached by one of the vendors and informed that campaigning was contrary to the Market guidelines/by-laws. In response, Geoff put away his brochures.

Which begs the questions. What has Phyllis being doing sitting at this same vendors booth for many weeks?

In fact, when I was at the market this morning (after Geoff had left) and heard the story — Phyllis was engaged in a conversation with a number of patrons directly in front of the complainants booth discussing issues in the town. Is that not campaigning?

Or what has Nigel been doing at the market? Has he not been promoting his candidacy?

So is Phyllis still trying to pretend her time at the market — standing in front of her supporters booth — talking about town issues — is not campaigning? How long does it take to buy groceries?

First we had to push her to stop using town resources to campaign while pretending it was town business.

Now that she has declared, must we also ask her to submit to the same rules that apply to other candidates.

Geoff stepped back after being informed of the rules. A leader follows the rules and behaves as they expect others to behave.

So now that the rules are clear, will Phyllis attend to her shopping and move on.  Anything else would be campaigning — and we expect her friendly vendor to remind her of the rules the same as she reminded Geoff.

In case Phyllis forgets — then maybe you could remind her of the rules everyone else is expected to abide by 🙂

Posted in Election 2010, Integrity, Leadership, Uncategorized | 24 Comments »

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 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?


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

Sorry for the Lack of Activity

Posted by auroracitizen on February 19, 2010

We have received a number of comments about the lack of site activity. We apologize. Sometimes life and work take over and something has to give. The last couple weeks — it was this blog that suffered. We’ll try to do better.

You should expect to see a new post this weekend. Your patience and understanding is appreciated.

However, we will use this opportunity to renew our invitation for additional writers. Hint, hint 🙂

We also have heard that some folks have had trouble accessing the site. If so, please try to connect directly from the url It is possible one of the older links is broken. If you are still unable to connect, please let us know.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

World Peace, or perhaps a more local version

Posted by elizabethbishenden on December 22, 2009

This is the Holiday Edition of the Aurora Citizen. 

What do you love about this town? 

Please, just comment on the things you love… for the things you hate, we have the other 51 weeks.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Greetings from your first Guest Moderator

Posted by elizabethbishenden on October 23, 2009

Hi Everyone,

My name is Elizabeth Bishenden.  Some of you know me through a few local activities, some of you don’t.  I’m the first guest moderator at the Aurora Citizen and I think I’ll be around until about mid-November.

For the last few days I’ve been moderating the blog.  I’ve consulted at times with the blog owner about different kinds of posts.  The person who owns the blog (yes, I do know who it is,  but until that person chooses to reveal her/his identity, I have no interest in providing revelations) has been helpful with information about the editorial policy of the blog and the kinds of items that have been accepted and rejected in the past.

When a new post comes in we look for reasons not to post it.  Those reasons are well documented on this blog already.  Unsubstantiated allegations are not going to be posted.  Information about such posts is available at but here’s a precis for you:

  • Allegations which are unsubstantiated and unproven will not be posted
  • Allegations are not opinions about known activities
  • Allegations are not questions about known activities but put forward as fact
  • The posts are usually filed anonymously, which leaves the accused with no recourse

This blog does not and will not investigate allegations to determine if they are based on fact. This is simply a communications channel to facilitate community dialogue. It is not an investigative facility — we leave that to the news media.

If these allegations were documented (i.e. viewed on video, previously reported by the paper, documents supplied, etc.) or filed by a person willing to accept responsibility for making the allegations we would publish the comments. Until such time, allegations will be rejected.

As a note, sometimes it is just one line in the post that causes problems.  Neither the blog owner nor I are interested in editing your posts.  That would open a can of worms for many people.  We will either post your entire response or reject your entire response.  If it’s rejected and you still think it is valid, read it again after 24 hours. (I’m a house league hockey convenor —  the 24 hour rule is huge with me.  Edit your response and try again.

 If you have an issue with a deleted post, you can send me an email via the connections at the AC for a private response about your post.  I might not answer promptly, but I will answer in a few days with some information.

Some people have accused the AC of being biased in the past.  I have to say that based on the posts I’ve moderated in the last few days, the AC needs alternative viewpoints about Town Council  and it especially needs discussion on topics other than Aurora Town Council.  Whatever you’re interested in, I’d love to see some support and reasoning for every point of view about your subject.  I will, however, remind everyone that support and reasoning are key to having your post approved.  Unsubstantiated allegations were never allowed on the AC and they won’t be approved while I am guest moderator, either.

Best regards to all,


Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

New Contributors

Posted by auroracitizen on October 7, 2009

You might notice that the Post “Is there a Doctor in The House” was submitted directly by CouncilCop. This is our first direct contribution and is one of the functions that are available on WordPress that was not so elegant in Blogger.

We have also extended this offer by direct email to Mayor Morris should she wish to post directly in response to some of your comments.

Phyllis Morris,

We are extending this offer to provide you with an opportunity to post directly to the blog so that you may be assured that your comments are published exactly as intended.

We are always interested in additional contributors, so please let us know if you are interested.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Welcome to the New Site

Posted by auroracitizen on September 28, 2009

Thanks for joining us on the new platform for Aurora Citizen. Please let us know if you experience any difficulties.

For those renewing your RSS, if it tells you you already have a feed at this address, simply add “2” to the end of the title so you have a second feed. We will be deleting the original feed at some time in the future.

When making comments, you will also need to input a user name by hand versus the default of anonymous — your email address is not required.

Please bookmark the site and tell your friends. Let’s keep the conversation going.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »