"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Too Late They Learn

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It's not all bad":

The problem with the perception of retailers that have come and gone is
looking at them in an isolated way.

Evelyn lists Aurora Home Hardware, True Value, Canadian Tire as examples
of "local" businesses that have learned to survive. But, what she fails to
see or acknowledge, all of those examples are franchises of much
larger "corporate" operations. The local retailer is able to leverage the
buying power of the corporate entity. As a tradeoff, they sacrifice their
ability to set prices and policies. At some point, a corporate manager
reviews the viability of an outlet and if it is not profitable, they will
cut it loose in a heartbeat.

Looking at the Aurora downtown there are very few independant retail
operations. They tend to come and go with regularity as the owners try new
opportunities.

As far as the suggestion that councillors should have retail experience,
that is not a realistic expectation. If a councillor has common sense and
is willing to listen to the electorate (including the small business 

operation), they can be much more effective. But, when you have councillors 
that claim that they know better than anyone else, you have a recipe for
disaster.



Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 21 August 2014 08:46


********************

Home Hardware   IGA,IDA are all Associations  of independent  business operators.

An  advantage of being a  Councillor is the opportunity to learn something about the lives of  people 
And business in the community. 

The late Mayor John West was partner with the  Aurora group that established Home  Hardware  in Oak Ridges.  John was generous in sharing his experience

The owners of Aurora Home Hardware and customers of many years would be surprised to learn that they are not thought of as owners and responsible for the success of their business  with the same
friendly faces to greet customers looking for advice.

The same can be said I'm sure of Mac Fleming's which became much more than a paint and wallpaper store over the years and took over the store abutting.  Caruso's.continuing business over a hundred years is a testament to commitment.

No, I have not spoken to any of the owners. I think it can be assumed if a store opens it's doors every  day, it is still in business  Along with  all the other signs of course.

I do not pretend to know all it takes to  operate a retail store,or publish a newspaper, manage a police department ,operate a hospital, provide recreation programs ,operating a theatre or any of the myriad
activities that contribute to people's lives in a community like ours.

But I can tell you this .......a Mayor or Councillor who doesn't learn something of  lives of people they serve , after four years in office, is a person who  hasn't much interest in  anyone but himself.

Elected office is nothing  else but privilege and status to that person.

Like Michael Ignatieff  ....until the night before the election....when he knew he had lost and understood why.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

It's not all bad

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Business does not thrive by chance":

Realistically, you can't expect small downtown stores to thrive when the town is encouraging big box stores on the outskirts. I don't fault anyone, this is called progress. The big box stores have the inventory, the displays and sometimes the price. Service at some is good and others poor. Parking in the huge paved lots is generally always available at no cost.

The once personal barber shop and hair dresser are in the franchise and mall mode too. This is also apparently progress.

Down towns all across the province see ups and downs as new retailers give it a try. The failure rate is unfortunately quite high.

I think it is all about small retailers looking for that special niche. The town cannot offer much other than clean safe streets and of course parking. 


Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 20 August 2014 14:58

**********************

Our town is a perfect study. Malls were built north and south Each within a fifteen minutes drive. 

One business moved to  the mall. It lasted a few years. Other business owners retired after a bit. 
Department stores  in malls stopped selling  some products ;yarn shops,fabric stores, hats.

Simpsons and Eaton's disappeared  and a numbers of others.

Life time careers  and occupations disappeared with the free trade deal. Severance packages were invested in small business and franchises. Franchises disappeared.  Some were scams in the first place set up to cheat people with severance packages.

Some businesses survived the onslaught. They got better at meeting the competition.

Aurora Home Hardware. Mike Evans True Value Hardware. Canadian Tire. Mac Fleming Paint and Wallpaper and Beautiful  Home Accessories obviously  learned  how to survive. The Hardware store in Oak Ridges started up by an Aurora group in the worst. If times and survived until the best of times.

Caruso's, the oldest of them all, still open their doors every day. Phyllis still does beautiful flower arrangements.I received one recently

A town can support business  without corporate welfare.

 Exorbitant fees for small changes are not helpful. SIgn Bylaws that  require  massive application fees and politicians to approve.

Clubs that pay no taxes  competing for  available trade and politicians who turn a blind eye .

Certainly a town and business can  and should work together.

At the very least business should ,like residents , feel the town is more than a bunch of bafflegab.

Business does not thrive by chance

Someone commmented my  reference to North Bay was from thirty years.ago. You will notice as you grow older how fast the years run into each other. North Bay may have changed.

It's been some years since indoor malls have stopped being built. Many towns never had a mall.

I drive to Collingaood  a few weeks ago. Passed through  many towns on, the way. Main Streets are as they always were with chains  and privately operated business side by side.

Picton  for one. I  always look for the local bakery. In my seaside home town,there were more bakeries, sweetie shops , Italian ice cream parlours and fish and chip shops than anything else.

But the story I remember from North Bay was , how a privately operated  dress shop differed
from  a mall chain store.

First the store owner-operator knew. her customers personally. When she went to the seasonal and annual wholesale shows, she shopped for her customers. And when the shipment arrived  customers would receive a call from the dress shop telling them ; "I have something that is you"

I don't know if that was true of every store. But it certinly sounds plausible and N extraordinary level of service. No mall chain store buyer could compete with that.

But indoor malls  haven't been the norm for some years. Can't say I've noticed how many exactly.
Certainly Canada Mall had it's ups and downs , and many changes. It put the kibosh on many small
business in Aurora. Shopping in the mal was n expedition for the family. It also proved too expensive  for  store operators and the crowds in the heat if summer or depth of winter were not necessarily
shoppers.I have heard of business allowed to stay though they couldn't pay the rent because the mall couldn't afford to have empty stores.

That's plausible too.

But things change even in small towns as so many people younger than I are fond of telling me.

Gas and  car insurance costs are heavy. Condominiums outpace single family homes. Families
are smaller or non-existent.

For forty  years, the town has known, downtown would  recover unless  people returned to live in the centre of things.

It has been happening for the past fifteen years. North and south of the centre block.Dozens of new business  thriving in new buildings  built to blend .And done so well it's my hard to tell.

Some  have not succeeded . Maybe because they did not study the market. Or didn't have enough financialbacking to see them through.We also know operating a smal business has never been easy at any time. They need all the help the town can provide.

We spend enough.  But I am not convinced we spend it well. I  don't believe the strategic plan is helpful. The  Promenade Study ,while proposing  millions in spending proposes also propose controls
that  could only be conceived by politicians made mad by power.

A  town department's function is described  as "retention and expansion "

I tell you ,without a hint of a lie, I have never seen  any effort whatsoever in that direction.

Unless of course we are talking about spending millions on real estate for a crazy heritage theme park
Or millions more in a giveaway to establish  a university satellite within our midst.

Like all we need to do is throw money at these things and something is bound to happen.


The post for to-day

I may be at risk of spreading myself too thin. I commented on a post on Chris Watts Blog yesterday. I've done it before but not successfully.

This time I was successful. Having done it once I commented on a second post.

I have comments to my post that require me to rummage through the list  of time posted to find  the reference.

I just had one that required rummaging through a previous list to determine a second reference.

It's just  getting too complicated.

I can't spend  time doing that and writing a post each day . It has to be one or the other.

The  other is just writing a post.

And that's it for to-day.

If a lived by the sea  and could, I would go for a walk. And let the wind blow my mind clear.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

North Bay in the eighties... Aurora in 2014

I came down Yonge Street  again this afternoon, about 5 pm.  From Wellington.

It looked even better  to-day with a different view of the former hardware store. It's reverting back to two stores.

Aw Shucks blends in  better than ever.  The United Church parking lot has a couple of planters defining the edge. There' a friendly  banner on the site saying ..... Thank You  Aurora,

Can't help thinking if  the site  could be used. for public parking it would provide an opportunity
to discover if  off street  parking would make difference. Although the street certainly seemed busy without it. The planters and two cars in the parking lot make  it more visible.

I looked up at the dress shop window  as I passed and fervently hoped  the satire is doing well and survives until the condos are occupied.

The property that was to be a Montesori school is for sale.  Sale of the parcel immediately to the south fell through becasue iHeritage Designation made financing impossible.

The most spectacular site of all is the War Memorial Garden. At the south entrance to the business area it creates a great  gateway. Iyt speaks volumes about the town.

Macdonald'sl one side and a fish and chip restaurant on the other are set nd back so
neither detract from the green that dominates the space.

I've  always, meant to visit Gabriel's  Cafe. I hear he makes a very nice sandwich. But any time I stopped he was closed.

I might drive up from the south end to-morrow and check out the  east side. I  need to take a closer look at the construction  on Centre Street corner.

Councillor Abel made a motion directing staff to find a way to penalise owners who fail to develop
vacant sites.

There are two sites in the hollow,vacant more than fifty years. One is the old arena site. The arena burned down. The town sold the property.  I think the creek crosses Yonge Street  there and drainage pipes make. the site obviously  a difficult to build on. It would  be ironic if the town fined an owner for failing to build on a site originally sold by the town

Just north,  a long-time ago owner demolished a small old frame house  without. asking anyone.

 He was never able to re-build  because most of the site is in the flood  plain. I imagine that owner would welcome a building permit rather I than a fine.

I look forward to reading the staf report on  Councillor Abel's initiative.

I wonder if it will  refer to town owned property on the VictorIa Street side of library square

None So Blind. As Those Who Will Not See

Yesterday the comment was made about the flower planters on Yonge  Street. I drove down in the early evening.

Noticed posts for hoardings in place around the old IGA site. That's a large space. Condos are proposed. Lots of potential for pedestrian traffic. Acess and egress on Yonge  Street. Close to the
Yonge Wellington intersection. Something will have to give.

Gigantic  crane over the Yonge / Centre construction site. Still happening.

New facade obviously being prepared on the true value hardware site.I hear the shed behind has
New framing inside and my accommodate a couple of boutiques.

Condos are planned on the site next to the old town hall.

The hood will be transformed.

None of it at public expense.  No tapping into the Community Improvement Plan  adopted recently by Council. All of it contributing new revenues to town coffers.

Like the nice dress shop  down in the hollow. Reminds me of North  Bay.

Once ,between  SARB hearings, I had time to window shop on the Main Street. I noticed particularly four or five privately operated shoe stores just on one side of the street. The display windows were a delight with quality  Canadian brands of shoes I hadn't seen for years.

Men's and Ladies and  Children's  wear shops  abounded.

Council has referred hundreds of  thousands of dollars of spending to the next budget for the purpose of " revitalizing" the downtown. Replace sidewalks with patterned concrete. Build it and they will come is the obvious logic.

Talk of  "revitalizing" downtown has become a mantra that hasn't change in fifty years.

It's as if if they never really see the downtown. We know they don't live here. The town hall is off the beaten track. Maybe they  avoid it because of  congestion at the Yonge /Wellington intersection.

But Councillors live here? What's their excuse?


Don't hold your breath

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "About grants ,user fees, policies and waivers":

I like the " Forest " area being touted to purchasers without mentioning the wheeling & dealing going on to have the entire thing declared off-limits to those living there. 


Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 18 August 2014 14:


*******************
I have a story to tell  about the woodlot referred to above but first something else occurred to me about user fees.

They are set by bylaw. So...there can't be a waiver without. an  amendment to the
bylaw. We have  never ever processed an amendment to the use fee bylaw to provide a waiver to the fee.

Now....if  user  fees were adopted as a policy, that could  be ignored. In fact ,if  Councillors  are unaware of the policy, there is no requirement to inform them or follow the policy

In the last term, there was a policy prohibiting elected members from retaining  and instructing legal counsel  but it happened anyway.This Council adopted a new policy without mention of the fact the policy already existed.

A couple of months ago there was an e-mail to Councilors about cash being paid  in lieu of
vacation  not  taken. The vacation policy  allows vacation to be carried forward a year but not
payment of cash in lieu. It happened anyway.  The CAO  responded to Council that  he had approved it.

Now back to the woodlot.

There's the Oak Ridges  Moraine Act. It's provincial legislation. A  town planner received training about how to interpret the Act.


We have the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation and the  Oak  Ridges  Moraine Trust and I have never been sure why.  We no longer  have the specially trained planner . He has been re-assigned  as Special
Program Manager in the CAO's office.

The McLeod woodlot was legally transferred to the Oak  Ridges Moraine Trust. It's a process
whereby a land owner can obtain the value of a property from government in the form of tax relief.You have to be loaded to be in a tax bracket sufficient to be liable for that level of tax.

A  condition  of the transfer was no public access  allowed for  ten years. It's understood  all trees of value were sold and removed before the transfer.

As something or other in the Moraine Trust, Susan Walmer  became officially in charge of the property. Not sure of that's a paid position or volunteer.Ms Walmer was a  volunteer member of the Environmental Advisory Committee in the last term.

Also the former Mayor's campaign manager.

In the last term, at the request of the trust ,the  town signed a maintenance agreement for the property. We don't own it, have no access to it and no authority to use it. But somehow or others it was deemed appropriate that we should be  financial  responsibility for its maintenance.

In July, after a lengthy absence, Ms. Walmer delegated to Council to inform the town of a  problem. People are dumping litter in the area.

The property is fenced on three sides. Ms Walmer wants  the  fourth side fenced for complete security and  enclosure.

Oak Ridges Trust has not yet constructed access or paths in the forest that would encourage  public use when the ban expires.

The delegate gave no indication of when that might be.

The developer is not wrong about there being access to a forest. It just looks like Ms Walmer does not intend that to be any time soon.


Monday, 18 August 2014

ASK and Ye shall not receive



PostedAnonymous has left a new comment on your post "We all have our rights": 


When is the deadline to register as a  candidate?


**********************

O.K. I have a link to the Town's website on my blog. 

I thought of referring the commenter to the link.
I dislike  searching the town's web site.?

Last Tuesday Council  received a report about  the new website ,describing it in superlative terms. 

I said I wasn't comfortable with the self-congratulatory tone of the report. I preferred to let people tell us what they think of the service rather than tell them what to think of the service 

I daresay some would hear that  as negative. Positive,I suppose, would be vociferous  participation in the cheer-leading squad. 

I noted the Communications Department  has a budget of $600,000. And asked if the web site would 
produce any cost savings.

The reply was negative . 

The advantage of the new web site was better service .

I went into the web site. In the slot where it asked: what are you searching for.?
I typed in.... deadline for candidate registration for municipal election. 

Back came the  non answer:  No results found. 

I understand the deadline is September  12th. I wanted to confirm. Didn't
want to give out the wrong information. 

But from the town's website no such insight was forthcoming.p

About grants ,user fees, policies and waivers

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "We all have our rights":

Some groups get their fees waived . Others do not. I think you can expect every one of them to make the attempt to slip past. It is up to Council to make each decision and this Council lets most organizations slip by. I would like to see more consistency with reasons given about there maybe being a one-time need to help out.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 18 August 2014 08:43


****************************

But  every one of them don't.  They pay the fees .

Dozens of  groups in Aurora volunteer in numerous areas. They know the  policy. They are consulted  on user fees and  believe  it's applied equally.

But it's not.

There is a grant policy with approved eligibility.  Decisions are made at staff level.

 If  an application is not eligible, the applicant can bypass the process and delegate to  Council.

It's  a golden opportunity for political magnanimity. Dole out taxpayers dollars like a philanthropic organization.  Like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

As long as those  picking up the tab are paying little attention, it's a safe gambit . Applicants know a good  thing when they see it and  money fairly sails out of the town coffers.

This term has not been as bad as  last .  Groups and individuals came from all over for free facilities to raise a bundle at no cost.

Sometimes it almost seemed they had been invited or at least the word had gotten about.

During the futile debate on Church Street School ,Councillors received e-mails from  culture cravers from farther than. Orillia and Waterloo when it looked like the new Council  might retrieve the facility for its original intent.

Now ask yourself how the Culture Centre fits into the policy of grants and user fees.

Costs  of construction of facilities are paid with tax resources or development charges. New homeowners pay ninety per cent of the  latter by a tax hidden in the cost of their homes.

Facilities are not used by all.  The policy is  for people who use them  to pay costs of
operation.

The greater use,the more reasonable the fees.  More down time in a facility means higher user fees.

Commercial  or outside users  mean more reasfees for local groups.

Fee waivers increase the burden.

I don't understand  waiver  requests from fund-raisers. Hundreds of  residents participate in fund-raiser.   Thousands  are raised. The user fee represents barely a fraction of the whole.It might A donation  to a cause might be $42,000 rather than $44,000.

Revenue to keep  user fees reasonable is reduced by that amount. From thetown's lerspective, why is that sensible.

Take that $750,000  cheque given to the Mayor for the hospital by  2C developers in Aurora.

Were they asked  to pay it over and above millions of dollars of development charges ?

Did someone suggest it would be good public relations? Why do they need good public relations?

WHoever was responsible for the initiative, it was not Council.

Does the Region  include hospitals in development charges. Why would they? Health care is a provincial responsibility.


Why?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "We all have our rights":

9:03
Why are you so offensive ?


Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 18 August 2014 10:04

Sunday, 17 August 2014

We all have our rights

The Chamber of Commerce serves it's members. It is not a branch  of the municipal corporation.

Its affairs are private..  It  was the first successful organisation after many unsuccessful attempts.

It is self-sufficient and independent and adds vigour  to the community.

I know little of Chamber business but support the various events including the annual Home Show.

I bought a scooter to be able to attend the street sale. But  the crowds are so dense, the scooter
creates a problem.

I am a taxpayer.  I believe the Chamber should pay the fee to use the Stronach Centre for the Home show in 2015 and  every year thereafter.

lf I don't  want to pay for something, I claim the right to say so.

As a Councillor, I have the same right as every other taxpayer and also authority to speak for them.

Furthermore, since I have the means, it has been my practise, using whatever language I choose ,to alert taxpayers to  unreasonable  demands and excessive spending. So  that they too can let their Councillors know what they think about it.

That's the job.   I asked  for it. I like it. I think it's worth doing.

Public Business

Yesterday was a dreary day. Not much accomplished. Thank goodness for the blog and the chit chat.

I published the hostile comment to illustrate the form.  Angry reaction to a blunt and straightforward 
response is not uncommon and Lord knows, I've been doing it long enough to become accustomed. 

I sent an e-mail recently to the manager of the Chamber of Commerce after the request for a waiver if fees for facilities for the Annual Home Show. 

I asked if any thought had been given to  reaction of taxpayers. What might they think of being asked to provide free facilities to a money-making venture of a private operation. 

Ask them to provide free facilities. Then  ask them to pay admission to facilities provided at their expense. 

The Chamber if Commerce is about promoting local business. Good will towards potential customers should be an important consideration. 

Asking taxpayers to pay  the fee for facilities for a highly profitable private event might not be the best way to go about that.

I never received an answer to my e-mail. Maybe the manager was insulted. 

I don't understand that. My job is to represent taxpayers interest. It is not to be doling out funds paid for service,  to whoever makes outrageous demands for selfish interest.

I know an election  is pending.  It's  the norm  for candidates to be kind and generous.

A waiver of  the fees was suggested by a Councillor before the request was made.

For all I know, it may be where the idea originated.

I've never been inclined towards giving taxpayers money away. I would rather not collect it in the first place, than take it to dole out to whoever has the brass to demand it. 

Now we have social media it's easier to convey why I think the Chamber of Commerce ought to be  ashamed to request taxpayers provide free use of public facilities for a highly profitable venture. 

There would be no Home Show if  the town had not built facilities that could accommodate 
such events. User fees do not cover capital costs. 

Come to that , there would be no Chamber of Commerce  either, if the town had not made accommodation  possible. 

Taxpayers do not  owe the Chamber a free ride. 

I do not expect this post to be a comfort to  the Chamber of Commerce. 

 Anger or embarrassment ...perhaps. 

But .....if the unreasonable demand had never  been made,  a bare-knuckle response would  not be the response.

Insult. ..certainly not.

Cause and consequence .

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Is there a principle involved?

Tyler Barker has left a new comment on your post "As I Was Walking Down The Street":

I don't always agree with you but shouldn't Council be on equal footing with staff at the very least, why isn't the mayor inviting everyone isn't he the head of the town, so to speak

Posted by Tyler Barker to Our Town and Its Business at 16 August 2014 11:2


*************************

Tyler, before I answer yours,  I have a query for you to answer. It is a long outstanding puzzlement.

Why are you compelled to qualify your agreement with a point I make.

I do not require agreement. I simply state my position. But the compulsion to state non-agreement concurrently with  agreement has me non-plus.

Qualification  denigrates agreement. It is grudgingly extended. Shame or embarrassment is implied. Or fear of being judged by association. I experience it regularly and I would like to understand .You might be the one to think about it and  provide an honest answer.

You are partly correct in your reference.  Elections are the process whereby we govern ourselves.

We , being the community, elect a Council to represent us in our authority.

We are the stakeholders... the shareholders....we have invested our resources...we make our homes here and raise our families in this place

We are in charge. We are the collective who own this place.

Staff  are accountable to us through Council. They are our employees.

The principle has been frustrated during this term. The Mayor perceives accountability from staff as "micro-managing"

He does not permit the exercise of authority. Beingmore comfortable following than giving direction.

Like the last lot, with a Council group content to follow like sheep though he has but one vote like the rest of us.

The invitation from the CAO and Director  for a photo  on a vacant site with a contractor, and an
architect  is , in my opinion, to create the illusion the project is  fully endorsed by Council.If everyone attends ,all smiles, a photo tells a thousand words.

Councillors in opposition are disrespected by staff.

I believe the initiative is political and staged for the benefit of the supporters.

No doubt the Mayor will wear the  town's Regalia, the Chain of Office to provide meaning to the occasion which it does not otherwise have.

Your instincts are  partially right Tyler. Staff are not equal to Council in authority. They are accountable to Council.

It would be logical to conclude staff were directed to create the diversion.

In the circumstance, it would be difficult to discern staff accountability  as opposed to Council authority.

High Taxes...Spent Extravagantly...Are Universally Resented

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Missed Opportunity":

How does the hydro building lease "cater to the elite"?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 16 August 2014 08:07


********************************
 The  question  needs to be asked of those who did  the deed and those who have continued it.

The people who believe the needs of  Queen's York  Rangers are more important to the community than the needs of the town herself.

The ones  who believe a debt of  $27 million could be justified by providing the Rangers with a new home while the old one continues to occupy a key corner of our town park and is now being offered  for  sale to the financial benefit of the federal government.

Had we sold the Hydro property, we would have realized a substantial asset, gained annual assessment revenue, added jobs for residents and  had one less property to maintain.

All of which is forfeit with a forty year lease without a termination clause

Now tell me again,  the community's interest  was served. And I will tell you!you are out if your tree.

And let me tell you again...when it comes to taxes ...there is no  elite

There is a common understanding that government should not collect taxes except for services required,  endorsed by the community and provided at an efficient level.

The higher the taxes, the lower the value, the greater the  common resentment.

There is no society strata  that supports nin- com-poopery

There was a time, Queen's York Rangers  officers were part of our community,most of the cadets were  our own children and  the Mayor of Aurora was honorary colonel. The Rangers were part of  the town's volunteer sector.

The Mayor  no longer has that distinction. Cadets  are bussed from Keswick. The  Armories that cost  the town so dear, no longer even bears the  town's name.


A Missed Opportunity

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "As I Was Walking Down The Street":

Could the renting of the Hydro building been all a plan for the Parks and Public work dept. to get their brand new building?  Interesting  thought.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 16 August 2014 00:23


***********************

Every now and again,I almost come to the conclusion it's not reasonable to expect people to be interested in the nitty gritty that exist between the lines in politics. I wonder if I'm wasting mine 
and everybody else's time by repeating the  details every time the picture evolves further.

Then I get a comment like the one above and I know I'm not.

Leasing the hydro building had nothing to do with the works and parks department's need for new facilities. 

The building  and yard was perfect for the parks department?  They had the artisan skills to build park furniture better than any. And all the space they needed in the yard for storage of  heritage salvage. The property had the capacity for future growth.  The office was being used for storage of  town
archives.

With the parks department  accommodated in the Hydro property,the site on Scanlon Court was big
enough for the works department to be rebuilt  with space to spare for future needs.

We had retained a space needs consultant. He advised the hydro property was needed for exactly how we were using it. We paid for that advice with taxpayer's money and ignored it in the haste to accommodate the Queen's York Rangers.

There never was  a need to buy and remediate a new site . Never the need for $27 million of debt.

The plan to  kick the parks department out  and lease the  hydro building  to the Rangers was the same as the one to pirate Church Street School away from the museum and give it to the "culture crowd."  Both were done in the same secretive under-handed way.

Neither plan  ever more than puerile politics by a gang of no-minds who believed catering to the"elite" was the  yellow brick road.

They never understood the community they served.

Who would have thought  the  process would dredge up a second group similarly ill-equipped
But without the evil intent?

In four years no effort was made to correct  the problems created and less still  was accomplished  save for a ton load of flim-flammery.

The photo of the Mayor  last week receiving a cheque for $750,000 from land developers;It was for the hospital . Why was the Mayor receiving it? Whose feeble  notion of promotion was that? Was that   using Town resources for political purpose? I think so.

A  second photo planned of an empty site with the CAO , the Director of Infrastructure and.

Environment Services  a contractor ,an architect, a candlestick- maker and any other hangers-on who want to get into the picture;  is that not also using town resources for political purpose?

A couple of months ago the Director of  Legislative  Services recommended a Bylaw prohibiting the use of town  resources for political purpose. The idea was rejected. I could not see what town resources  there were to be abused.  I never would have thought of such blatancy.

Remember the radio interview I told you about with  Michael Ignatieff. He had written a book about losing the election . He acknowledged not understanding until the night before the election...that it wasn't about him. ...it was about the people who were looking to him to help them with their problems.

He  publicly admitted he never understood until he faced the reality he had lost the election.

He blew the opportunity that came his way.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Tender Tootsies

The previous post went up at 1.05 pm.

At  1.16 pm.  Incoming explosion of profanity declares no interest in the hydro building part of the post .

Methinks he/she doth protest too much.

As I Was Walking Down The Street

Yesterday I met a  young woman in Costco who grew up in Aurora and is now raising her family in East Gwillimbury.  I was in the line-up at the cash register. She spoke to my daughter Heather  and. asked  her to tell me how much she enjoyed watching Aurora Council on T.V.

 "You make good points" she said.

It was nice. Every politician  needs  re-assurance we still speak for the people who elected us and even some who don't live within our borders.

To be sure ,my family keeps me grounded  and the circle here, small as it is, keeps us in touch. You, know what I'm thinking and I hear back.

I also  receive  comments from  those who do not appreciate frankness but. take advantage of the opportunity I provide to let me know.

Here's a thing. .. just off the press .....An e-mail from  the Mayor's administrative assistant and two more  from the Mayor with the same message

An invitation for  a photo opportunity has been extended from Mr. Simanovskis, Director of Infrastructure and EnvironmentL Services and CAO Neil Garbe ...

Wait a  minute.....I have to go back and see how it's worded,

It is for a photo on the empty   site of the  future  Joint  Operations  Centre  with the Contractor, the Architects   The Director , the CAO and whoever else wants to attend.

That is verry verry interesting.

An invitation from staff  to celebrate a decision made by a bare majority of  Council to spend  $27 million of  your money on a garage and works yard.

An invitation from staff to Council.

Yesterday a question was posed  here about staff being accountable to Council.

I hadn't gotten around to answering it.

Maybe this juxtaposition does it for me.

In a matter of days,  registrations will close and all  will be candidates on An equal footing.

At least two candidates  are vying for the Mayor's office.

One supported the project. One didn't

Now staff  arrange a celebrity photo for themselves,the Contractor and the Architects and  invite others to attend. Maybe they will have bagpipes and dance a jig for the audience.

Is that political?  Or not?    If not what is the purpose?

What other reason  can there  possibly be for a photograph of an empty site and the main beneficiaries?

I've been in photos of a sod-turning. But this isn't that.

This is a photo of Director, Chief Administrative Officer,Contractor and Architects .
And whoever else may chance accep the invitation.

THE STAFF INVITATION.

The Mayor, wearing the Chain of Office will stand to one side as a guest of the Principals in the grand scheme of things .

As a coincidence , at this time in 2010 , the town was  informed of a lease signed with
the  Department of National  Defense for  Queen's York  Rangers  to take over the hydro building.

The  parks department had  previously been evicted despite a consultant study  of space needs indicating theMunicipality needed the building and the site.

The Chief  Administrator was commended on that occasion also for successful negotiation of the lease.

That  decision triggered the need for the new site for  the works department.

In  the election that followed ,weeks later, the incumbent Mayor and others were defeated.

After the defeat  an amendment was made to the lease  with the Mayor's signature but without Council approval.

Now here we are four years later almost  on the anniversary of that previous decision