Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

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 »

When Will We Get A Cultural Centre Update?

Posted by auroracitizen on April 27, 2012

At a Special Council meeting on April 5, 2012, Section 5.1, among others, of the Terms of Reference, was amended to replace two members of Council with two members of Town staff, plus one alternate.

The apparent reason for this amendment is that insofar as the Negotiating Working Group will be meeting in secret, members of Council could not participate. A secret, or closed session that involves elected representatives is only permitted under the Municipal Act in very limited circumstances; the Negotiating Working Group does not qualify.

The above having been said, we are now almost three weeks after the above referenced Special Council meeting. Has there been any public announcement from the Town advising which two members of staff, plus one alternate, have been named to the Group?

Is the composition of the Group just as secret as its deliberations? This does not appear to be typical of our democracy at work.

The Group is only dealing with approximately $500,000 per year of taxpayer money. Is this not a large enough sum to warrant some limited public disclosure?

Has anyone heard any updates?

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Town Council | 24 Comments »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

How Do You Want To Receive Your Updates

Posted by auroracitizen on April 6, 2012

In keeping with our observations about the lack of communication capabilities at the Town of Aurora, we have evaluated our own. Therefore we are connecting this blog through both Twitter and Facebook, so you can receive and comment on the platform of your choice.

It may take a bit to get all the bugsworked out — so bear with us and let us know how we are doing or what we can do better.

We have set a up a Twitter page!/Aurora_Citizen or @Aurora_Citizen Please note the underscore between the words. Someone had already set up a Twitter page @AuroraCitizen. If they would like to have it linked to the blog, please send us an email at to discuss switching this over.

We have also set up a Facebook Fan at

Happy Easter to you and your loved ones.

Posted in Community Input, Growth | Leave a Comment »

Silly Is As Silly Does

Posted by auroracitizen on April 5, 2012

Tonight Councillor Gaertner again demonstrated just how silly she has become.

First, she voiced her opinion that Council was discussing an illegal motion because she felt that the motion of March 28 was contrary to the approved motion from Feb 27. Then, when the Clerk stated that his opinion was that Council was discussing a legal motion — she indicated that she couldn’t vote. She even made a point of stating twice that she hoped the press had heard her.

Yet she continued to stay in the chambers and participated fully in the debate. Then when the vote was called — she leapt from her chair and took 2 steps away — then returned to her chair to vote on the confirming by-law and adjournment. What’s was that supposed to mean?

For someone who seems to be so concerned about following the letter of the rules — surely she also knows that you can’t declare a conflict on a matter unless it is a pecuniary conflict. And furthermore, when you declare a conflict you are required to leave the room.

So what happened to her interpretation of the rules here. The was no conflict and she participated fully in the discussion and was in the chambers during the vote

Since a non vote is considered a “nay”, the Council minutes must show that Councillor Gaertner voted “nay” on the motion.

It will be interesting to see what the record shows.

Hopefully the press saw that as well.

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Special Meetings, Town Council | 10 Comments »