Monday, April 30, 2012

New Broom Just Scatters The Dust About

And in the interest of full disclosure, I would move that any organization that receives a substantial amount of funding or subsidy from the town be required to post audited statements and KPIs online. This would include the seniors’ centre, library, AHS, sports clubs, swimming clubs, Theatre Aurora, etc.

The public has a right to know about all of these expenditures, don’t you agree?
Last week , I requested 2011 Financial statement from the Church Street School operation be published on the Town's web site.

Councillor Ballard immediately responded  as copied above.

Council  has not long  completed the 2012 budget  The second  adopted by the current council.

It may not be easily understood by the average taxpayer but it is a public document and I believe posted on the town's web site.

Councilor Ballard's comment allows  me to focus on a couple of items.

The Library Board  budget is a public document. Presented to Council at a public meeting. Several times. The service  has certainly  been long enough established to be assured of public support  Council has authority to reduce the budget if they so desire. Any move in that direction would be publicly debated.

The Seniors do not enjoy heavy subsidization from the town. All users pay a membership fee. Last I heard it was $24. or thereabouts. Almost all of the fee  is transferred to the town as revenue.

The Seniors Association enjoy exclusive use of parts of the facility

The greater part can be and is permitted to other users. when not in use by the Seniors. Cost of operating the facility is proportionately charged to the Seniors.

Unlike culture  users  Seniors do not receive free space, free maintenance, a $356,000 grant  increasing by 3% each year plus a matching grant for all funds raised  from  fund-raising activities.

I am not aware of any grants or heavy subsidization provided to sports clubs or swimming clubs .Swimming clubs, by constant  use, contribute to  the bottom line of operating  swimming facilities.

 Free family swims are sometimes  sponsored. Swimming is not  inexpensive. It's out of reach for many families .

Theatre Aurora receives no subsidization or grants.

Fifty years ago, a derelict building was transferred to the town for forgiveness of a minimal tax bill and  for the purpose of a theatre.

With hard work and commitment  the group have created a small bijoux theatre within the community which provides entertainment
for drama enthusiasts, and opportunity to thespians among us, that costs the town nothing.

The exterior  of the building  is maintained at public expense when   need arises .

Volunteer hours in the millions  have been contributed to appreciative Aurora  audiences for more than fifty years.

Oddly enough,  last time they were a target of  "new broom"Councillors, was the 2000/2003 .. Former Councillors  Kean,  McEachern and  Vrancic  were  concerned they should  "pay their way." 

Another Unsolicited E-Mail

To Aurora Councillors

I last wrote to you in early 2010 concerning the about-to-be-formed
Energy from Waste Advisory Committee (EFWAC) and how Durham Region had
eunuched this provincially mandated advisory committee by unilaterally
appointing uninformed bureaucrats from all the municipalities instead of
asking the councils to appoint people who might have been better qualified.

Well, that committee has now met 4 times and the Durham Region waste
bureaucracy is in full control because the municipal representatives
participate very little and the 3 community group representatives from
Durham, of which I am one, have provided at least 98% of the input - but
to little affect.

DurhamCLEAR and others have been fighting this facility for more than
five years. Last summer, when all the normal political channels had
failed, DurhamCLEAR took Durham Region and Covanta to court.

This action is on-going, albeit at a glacial pace. Our next court date
is July 17, but even then, we are still months away from any discussion
on our main motion. For more information, visit our 2 websites - and

This incinerator is an environmental and fiscal disaster.

In comparison to the $272 million (2009 figure - there has been no
comprehensive update) that Durham and York are spending on a 140,000
tonne incinerator (York's share will be about $60 million), Waste
Management (private company) is building a recycling plant in Cambridge
Ontario that will process 550,000 tonnes at a cost of only $30 million.
It will be operational in under a year and will have none of the
environmental concerns surrounding the incinerator. While this is not
strictly an apples to apples comparison, the dramatic difference should
make you question the $60 million York Region is investing in the Durham
incinerator to dispose of only 20-30,000 tonnes of your garbage.

For obvious reasons the residents of York Region do not share the
environmental and health concerns of Durham residents, but the financial
boondoogle is a shared one. Waste quantities are gradually dropping as
people increasingly exercise the 1st 2 of the 3Rs - reduce and reuse.

In Durham's business case in 2008 they projected 60% diversion in 2012
and a total residual of 107,000 tonnes. However last year diversion was
only 53% and the quantity was 108,000 tonnes. Durham is actually
stalling diversion efforts in order to maintain residual waste levels in
the 100-110,000 tonne range it is committed to provide to the burners.

This facility is being built on shaky and exaggerated projections and
should be stopped. Both Durham & York can achieve their waste management
goals easier, cheaper and faster through aggressive diversion.

I would be happy to meet with any of you to discuss these matters
further. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Doug Anderson
President, DurhamCLEAR

Unsolicited E-Mail

Hello Mayor and Council of Aurora,

My name is Meribeth Deen and I work as a producer at Force Four Entertainment, a television production company based out of Vancouver, BC. I am emailing to connect with you about getting the word out about our show, "Million Dollar Neighbourhood"  searching for a town in Ontario to be featured in Season 2 on Oprah's OWN Network.

A little bit about the show:

"Million Dollar Neighbourhood" is not a real estate show (I thought it was before I watched the first episode). It is a show which focuses on one select community rallying together to increase their collective net worth by $1,000,000 over 10 weeks. The 100 families and individuals who choose to take part will be guided through a series of challenges with the support of financial experts, life coaches and a whole slough of incredible advisors to increase their net worth.

The transformations and growth the families experienced in Season 1 were dramatic to say the least. After doing quite a bit of research on the Southern Ontario area it feels like might be the perfect fit for our show and our show a prefect fit for the area. On the table is an opportunity for participants to get out of debt, save money, build an even stronger community than already appears to exist, while focusing a spotlight on the area.

If you'd like to get a little bit of a better sense of the show you can check us out here: 

I look forward to hearing from you and the residents of Aurora via email, phone or people can "like" us on Facebook!

I look forward to hearing from Aurora, and, for the record, we do not ask for financial contributions of any kind from the communities we work with.

Thank you,

Meribeth Deen
STORY PRODUCER - Million Dollar Neighbourhood

Sunday, April 29, 2012

This Is Interesting

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The McKenzie Rebellion":

Our Rebellion is still a bit raw, but you could run your idea by Council. It would be nice if they could agree on something colourful and not a crack at the treasury.


As part of  Canada's Centennial project,  the town invited names for several  parks. Banner Editor and publisher, Bob Buchanan suggested  William Lyon Mackenzie

He said it slyly. As if he knew it wouldn't fly.

I didn't understand that. I thought Aurora would be proud of its historical association with the Rebellion.  Everything about it appealed to me.

Just because they didn't win, didn't make it less valid.Some York residents  paid with their lives for having the courage to fight for
what they believed..

They went up against  an army with little in the way of weaponry . They were fighting for better representation. Why wouldn't they? Times were difficult .

That was 1837. Twenty-five years after "our little crossroads" first appeared. Sixteen years before the Village of Machell's Corners
was established . Twenty six years before postmaster Charles Doane named the newly incorporated town Aurora. Twenty nine years before the nation, Canada was created.

It didn't happen easily. It didn't happen just with talk. The Rebellion was part of the  shaping  and as a newbie ,it seems time to me  should have given  it a different perspective.

But it hasn't. It hadn't  by 1967. And even now in 2012, it hasn't happened.

I find  that extremely interesting. I would like to understand. 

I do understand  that  memories of cruelty and injustice are handed down through generations.The pain goes away but  memory stays.

We are only a few generations removed from settlement  in Canada and even less from our  Rebellion of 1837.

I accept  "our Rebellion is still a bit raw" .But I would like to hear more about why.

It  always struck me that  written  history reflects  bias of the author.

The  Magna Carta did little to change the lives of ordinary people.
Yet it's stil cited i law.

I think blogs  and Google will   change that. Maybe they can still change what we understand of this young  nation's history. If  current generations of families who were here at the beginning were to share their  family's memories.  


Furthermore, while they didn't win , things did change after  the Rebellion.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The McKenzie Rebellion

William Lyon Mackenzie

Politics was his passion and Mackenzie, who fervently believed in an "unfettered press," used the Colonial Advocate to denounce the leading denizens of society and to urge his readers to press for a more representative form of government. As early as 1824 he advocated the confederation of the British North American colonies. Always a crusader for democracy over autocracy, Mackenzie championed the cause of the common man and woman and the struggle of the many against the few. He raged against land speculators, hypocritical clergy of the Church of England and dishonest officials. In order to be closer to the political action, he moved across the lake to Toronto in 1825.
At a time when moderation in speech and writing was rare, his paper became the mouth-piece of a man determined on stirring up society. Mackenzie pointed out the injustice and absurdity of the existing state of things, where the people were beguiled with a mockery of representation in Parliament, without having any voice in the nomination of the persons forming the government of the day. Those exercising the power made no attempt to disguise their control nor distort the real facts of the case. They flagrantly avowed their independence of public opinion and sneered at arguments founded on the doctrine of ministerial responsibility.
Mackenzie wasted neither time nor his considerable talents and targeted any cause that came into his 'ken' with his long-winded, meandering style. He blasted broadsides at the Family Compact, a select group of men linked by political, social and religious ties. This close-knit clique exercised control over government that was completely independent of the people


The Rebellion is part of our local history. I think it should be a proud part. A stalwart member of the rebellion carrying a pike on his shoulder  might be a suitable motif for a banner on town lamp standards this summer. 

What do you think?

This is the thirtieth anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The Charter  could be the motif of summer banners in the Town of Aurora. 

What say you?

We have the hardware. It's  inexpensive and  a normal program.

I love sailing ships but we don't have a connection.

A Councillor's Responsibility

Last week a post on the Aurora Citizen from the lawn bowling club  was inviting new members.

A few years ago, when the club asked the town to take over maintenance of the  green, membership was  twenty-nine. The request was made by reason of advancing age of  members.

It was then I was informed no fees are  paid to the town because the town had heretofore, incurred no costs.

Last week, the  post in the  Citizen offered the facilities for 'private events" with a "price to be arranged"

I am familiar with the agreement with the men's soccer league for the field at the south  end of  town.

They pay one  dollar a year.They cannot, in theory, sub-lease  town property to derive revenue. .

There's a story there too .

The bowling club invitation poster was offended by my reference to the post in a Council meeting.  While acknowledging words about "private events" and "prices to be  arranged" were misleading,  the club does pay an annual fee to the town .How much was not disclosed.

No matter, staff will report .The question will be  clarified.   

But a gleeful fury  erupted over at the Citizen Post  of how  frequently I am wrong and have trouble grasping things, It is not subtle. 

This post  makes a different point .

Mine is a different perspective than others of a Councillor's responsibility.  

 I do not speak for myself alone. However many people marked a cross against my name in the last election, delegated their authority to me to mind their interest in the town's business affairs.

The town's business is  financial,  use of public resources, care and maintenance of  assets, impact on the taxes people pay.

Bottom line; my job is to do my part to ensure  business is conducted on a fair and equitable basis. Primarily, fairly and equitably to the people who pay the bills and who use town facilities.

I make no apology. I do not seek permission. I am subject to no   authority in  pursuit of  my obligation and accountability.

I accord the same to other Councillors. 

Yet, we do not all have the same perception. 

Councillor Gaertner, for example,  frequently states it is Council's role to  give  people what they want.  In practice, it means, whatever unreasonable demands made are to be accommodated.

Councillor Gaertner  practices what she preaches.

Other  members  have different ideas. 

 I would not presume to change an understanding of why each was successful in the last election.

I can only be true  to the commitment I made. Whether  people   are watching me or when they are not.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Help Desk Hangouts: Getting to know Chromebooks

Editor’s note: Each week on the Google+ Your Business page, we’re putting you in touch with Googlers and users who can help you as a business owner get the most out of our products and features.

In our latest Help Desk Hangout On Air, we introduced you to Chromebooks — a fast, secure, netbook (did we mention fast?). During the hour-long Hangout, Google product specialists Adam Naor and Will Paulus walk us through the basics, and Chromebook user Eric Hunter shares his firsthand experience using it at his business. Miss the event? You can watch the whole thing on the Google Business YouTube channel. And, if you’re interested in learning more about Chromebooks, fill out this form to stay up to date on all the latest news and product announcements.

Check out the video description on the YouTube page for a minute-by-minute breakdown.

Some of the questions we answered during the Hangout:

I'm a big Word/Office suite user. How do I make the switch to a Chromebook? Can a Chromebook work with these files? 
They can be viewed in Google Docs, or even converted to the Docs native format. Or, if you’d like to run Office on a Chromebook, you can do so through our Citrix Receiver App (and a Citrix server), or try on of the Chrome webstore Apps like InstallFree Nexus.

What's does Google’s support for Chromebooks look like? 
If you are a business user, you have access to 24/7 email and phone support. If you’re a consumer user, you can contact a Chromebook ninja M - F between 5:30am - 7pm PST. Here’s some additional information.

What happens with a Chromebook when internet access is limited, slow, or spotty?
The moments when you’re offline are increasingly rare. But with Chromebooks, we wanted to ensure that you're constantly connected with WiFi or 3G. Chrome also supports HTML5 offline functionality that allows applications or websites that support these features to run offline. Hundreds of apps in the Chrome Web Store today work offline like Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, NY Times, Kindle, NPR, Angry Birds and more.

Where can I get a Chromebook?
If you represent a Business, School, or Non-profit organization, please fill out the form here, and a member of our team will get in contact shortly. If you are a consumer, you can obtain one here.

How does a Chromebook work with Google Drive?
Google Drive is going to be a core part of the Chromebook experience. We're building it to work seamlessly with your file manager and it will be coming very soon.

Would you recommend ChromeBooks as a software development platform?
Definitely as they have a terminal shell built in.

Be sure to join us for next week’s Hangout at 11 a.m. PDT Wednesday May 2, when we discuss AdWords. We’ll be collecting your AdWords questions early next week on the Google+ Your Business page.

Posted by Toby Stein, Google+ community manager

The Game Of Golf

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "From The Sublime To The Ridiculous":

While I agree that Walmer (et al) is a nut, your condescending tone towards those that golf in this post is something that I must take offence.

Technically, the Highgate Gate course (formally Aurora Highlands) has 18 holes. Westview is 27. St Andrews Valley, Magna and Beacon Hall each have 18. That is only 5 courses!

We are lucky to live in an area with so much golf to choose from. These courses employ local people (during the summer most are students). They encourage non-locals to travel to the area to play them. Outside of Aurora proper, there are many more courses (King's Riding, Bloomington Downs, Emerald Hills, St Andrews East, Diamondback, etc). It was sad to see Glenway in Newmarket close up shop but the power of the almighty dollar made that decision.

Like it or not, this is a big industry and in our area a big deal. The owners of these courses are not interested in making the courses devoid of trees. Courses must change. Trees are removed, trees are planted, things happen.

Just be lucky that there are no owners that would like to make their course look like the stark St Andrews in Scotland. There would be no trees.

You don't have to like the sport, but please don't put down those that do. We are all different.


Oh My...Is that how you read it? I have always thought of golf as a sport  that teaches humility, perseverance and fatalism above all else.

On Wednesday night, I  referred to Sudbury and the problems they have  getting  trees to flourish let alone keep  them in check.

 I thought of tomato plants never seen growing outdoors until I traveled to England but I didn't mention that.

 I have not had the privilege of playing St. Andrews which is subject to gale force winds, sweeping in off the North sea.

 In the west,  winds blow rivers back up into the hills. It's hard to lean into the winds  and make  headway. With the wind at your back, oilskin pockets fill up with rain.  In a high wind, streets are littered with umbrellas blown out of the hands of the foolish or maybe visitors.

Why should anyone expect trees to get to  a  point of  strength to survive with winds like that. Dune grass has a blade as sharp as a razor.

For a' that, it can be said  St Andrews course is fairly weel
regarded. There's nae shortage of folk willing to pay a high price  to hit the wee white ba' hither and thither.

I 've played  a municipal course on a moor in the west where, about four in the  afternoon, a thick mist rose out of the ground.  At first  golfers couldn't be seen to have feet and eventually only torsos from the waist up were  seen floating  eerily about on a pillow of  dense white fog.

The road that divided the course was clear.

But my post wasn't really about golf. It was about the golf  industry and its needs.

It could probably be argued, on the basis of numbers, golf is the town's main industry. If I didn't have a hunch assessment revenue isn't up there on a par with other business, I would argue that.

But there is no question of environmental benefits.

The post was  about people making a conscious choice and paying a premium for  a home abutting a golf course and then demanding the town pass  rules and regulations  to interfere with best practices of maintaining a golf course.

We wouldn't do that to any other industry. 

I was going along with it as well until we had a public meeting and heard from the  Association of Green-keepers  along with  the self-proclaimed experts that follow in tow and dutifully cant the  Walmer Mantra.

The woman suggests Council should not make a decision until
the volunteers on the Environmental Advisory Committee have had an opportunity to advise.

Like the "rubes"  who get elected  and are accountable  are less  capable of  exercising  judgement than those who volunteer and are accountable to no-one.

From The Sublime To The Ridiculous

I made a mis-statement at a meeting on Wednesday.. I said, we have three golf courses in Aurora.

We actually have six .When Westhill is built on either side of Leslie  there  will be seven.

Aurora Highlands and Westview have eighteen holes plus nine.That represents, in area,  three golf courses.

St Andrews on St John's Side Road is  fourth , Magna is fifth and Beacon Hall sixth.

That's a large chunk of  geography out of a small urban node..

We have three woodlots in public ownership. Sheppard  Bush.  Jack Woods  bush  on Vandorf  Sideroad and  Case woodlot on HendersonDrive.

 We  acquired full ownership of Case woodlot last year with a purchase of $750,000. that takes us out to Bathurst Street .

Trilliums will soon be in bloom and visible from the road.

The  McLeod woodlot is in  ownership of the Oak Ridges Moraine Trust. In a couple of years it will be ours to use. Right now, we are only shelling out  for  maintenance.

High Tor Farm  on Bathurst Street is owned by  Heritage Ontario and for all intents and purposes sits idle and unmaintained for the benefit of immediate neighbours.

The  Ontario Hospital farm  is also  idle.Isn't farmed. Pays no taxes. We need the space bu we can't use it. .

For the purpose of  this post, golf courses are the subject.

A premium  is paid for a residential lot backing on to a golf course.  .
For six months of the year, a course is  simply a beautiful rolling vista of peace and quiet.

Undeveloped as they are, free of the combustible engine,   no negative contribution whatsoever emanates to our environment.

The production, care and maintenance of green manicured grass is the  important element. All effort is devoted to the task.

The tiny white ball,must have premium conditions  to complicate complete  mastery of the game

Otherwise, there would be no challenge. There would just be a parade of people from morning  until  night walking or in carts, hitting  the  little hard ball with sticks from hereto there and following it  to wherever it happens to fall.

Grass is  the essence of the industry. To accomplish the desired objective, certain works must be accomplished. Shade must be controlled. Grass does not do well in shade.

Shade bespeaks trees. Trees must be trimmed, sometimes removed completely and replaced by smaller trees and vegetation.It's a feature of the industry.

But Oh La!

 It cannot be allowed. Homeowners who bought homes abutting golf courses and paid a premium for the advantage are deeply offended by loss of trees in their vista.

A stronger Bylaw to prohibit the "injury and destruction" of trees is demanded and after much labour, discussion and contemplation,it has been  provided.

But it's not enough. Along comes our Aurora  Gladiator Marge Delahunte in the person of Susan  Walmer to rally all notable environmentalists, to lecture and harangue lowly "Rube" Councillors as to their duties and stewardship of the environment.

Not only should golf courses  not have liberty to attend to their industry, but no individual in the community should be permitted to remove a tree more than three inches in girth without obtaining a permit.

Not even a dead tree should be removed without first being examined by an expert, hired by the town,  to determine  the reason why leaves have disappeared , branches are bare and breaking off and bark is peeling and littering the ground around.

Town staff must be on hand with probes and calipers to determine the obvious. The tree is either less than three inches in girth  or    after fifteen years  of struggle to stay alive, and dying in full view inch by inch, has at last  given up the ghost,  is  but a  sad skeleton of its former glory  and must be cut down and summarily removed.

Providing of course, the owner can find the hundreds, if not thousands  of dollars necessary for the task, after paying the town as much  for the benefit of  a useless and redundant diagnosis.

Well know...  golf courses are well equipped to fight their own battles. No doubt, they have friends in high places in favorable positions to understand their needs and intervene if need be.

But I will be damned, if I  listen to some shell of a kernel who demands  that a dead as a door knob tree needs to be confirmed by an expert at my expense before it can be removed, also at my expense.

That Marge Delahunte character, without the wit, and nothing else but an abundance of  political calculation, can  take a hike as well.         

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I"m Fine Thankyou

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "":

Evelyn Your computer is acting like Councillor Gaertner. Are you OK?
It's partly  the computer's fault.

A new window has appeared unbidden, to accept my posts. It obscures the tool bar and offers none of the familiar prompts.

It is thoroughly exasperating but not stopping me from posting.

When my  grand-daughter next visits I will ask her to put it back
to the familiar page if possible.

Or of this is something,I simply have to put up with because Google provides the service free and they can make whatever changes they like whenever they wish

I am reluctant to believe it is some gremlin planted in my computer
by someone who is not my friend.

A person could really go awry with thoughts like that.

But I am fine. Thank you for asking. and please excuse the computer's eccentricities.  It will only be temporary.

You Were Saying

Actually, our little country crossroads has been here over two hundred years.


Thank you.

  Obviously,  Aurora   started  as little more than "a country crossroad"

Various names we see on streets derive from the original holders of land grants. Mosely who divided that area into lots and deeded the town park.

Charles Doane, who named Catherine Street for his wife.

Kennedy who farmed the land .

Centre Street was the intersection with Yonge  before the Sideroad opened.. Aurora Sideroad would have a number before it had a name.

Two hundred years ago it wasn't  a village. It  was  Machell's Corners with various hostelries to accommodate coach travellers from distant places on the journey  to Toronto..

 At other  intersections, people had  similar hopes and aspirations of becoming villages and towns but didn't .

They are to be found with nothing  to show but  a single store  with fine tall arched windows.

General Stores  where small village settlements  grew around them...or not.  

Or a small church with  a cemetery, showing  birthplaces, dates and in some cases,causes of death  and the clear outline of the pine box that once held the remains of those  who lived  and died on farms  in  four directions from the crossroads.

 Or a pioneer cemetery without  a church, little more than the corner of  field  by the roadside.

New and not so new residents of Aurora  with an interest might  enjoy  discovering small  hamlets and villages, little changed in two hundred years, hidden away throughout the Region with similar  names to Aurora  commemorating  original settlers

Black Creek Pioneer Village should be something more than a class trip.

I'm not trying to project myself as a local historian. I've barely skimmed the surface of all there is to know.

People who left all that was familiar and took a chance on something better for their children were not ordinary.They were not big and strong.  They may not have understood the enormity of the decision at the time they made it but once made there was no turning back .

They were  heroes. We owe them  a huge debt. The very least we can do is acknowledge they were here.

Here's What I Said.

"It  was  never  part of Aurora's  culture to steep themselves in the past. There was  little to speak of. We are a young country. A young town.  Our past and our  present is one and the same."

The first part of that paragraph is cited in an anonymous comment

It needs to be read in context of the whole.

A hundred and fifty years grow  less,the longer one lives. It's   a matter of perspective.

2012 is one hundred and ten years since my mother was born.
A  hundred and thirty six since my grandmother's birth.

Their influence and presence  in  my life is still fresh and current.
 My mother died in 1992. The twenty years between have passed in a flash.

It  provides a measurement for  time, a focus to history, I didn't have when I was younger.

It brings it closer. Makes it more meaningful.

My  great- grandfather's generation  founded  Aurora.

I know what they came from and what they came to. I know what they made of it,  how hard that was and how much we owe.      

Question And Answer

Tim the Enchanter has left a new comment on your post "A Step Forward":

Also agree that a small positive step was made at council on Tuesday.
A little clarification please.
What exactly are the two buildings in question?
There appears to be a 1960's vintage library building at 56 Victoria - next to the Church St School but I can't imagine that would hold any historical value or am I looking in the wrong place?

The first building is the former three bay firehall. It  became a parks yard  in the late seventies when a new firehall was built on a site intended for new prestige  industry..

Then  $250,000 was spent on it to create  a senior's centre in the eighties.  It has   been used for the last six or seven years  as a facility for severely disabled children for whom there is no place in the regular school system.

The group had lost its space  elsewhere and were so desperate to find a new home, they gladly accepted  a monthly lease until the decision would be made to demolish the building.

Under it's frontispiece it is still a cinder block structure with a tarred roof sitting on a cement pad. The building  owes the town nothing. It could vanish  without a trace in a day.

The old library is a different kettle of fish. It's not so old. A third of it was  built in 1963  as the town;s centennial project.It wasn't the town's first library.

I believe that was on the second floor of  a long -gone building  on the corner of Yonge and Mosely. It  was also the  town hall a firehall  and a jail cell and I think, a market.

When we arrived in Aurora the library was in  Victoria Hall a dank and dreary spot. Shelves lined the  walls but the books were also on  long trestle tables. My children did not like the place. It was spooky.

The new library was  attractive, and much appreciated .

Librarian Marjorie Anderson was extremely fondly  regarded. She kept particular books  she didn't think kids should have access to,  under  the counter. Adults had to ask for them. They knew they were there.  The collection was kept current.

In the seventies, The library board decided to add twice as much space to the original.  The town  authorised $250,000 for an addition.  That should have trimmed the size of the addition.

 The board had already retained an architect without approval of funds for an addition. It was  decided on  advice from  the architect, to build the shell of the addition until more funds would be available.

The  comparison was made to  how well we managed in Victoria Hall.

The shell was built, with neither heating nor lighting. It could not be used.

The town stood firm. We could not afford  more funds.The board would have to fund-raise.

The new librarian was not amused. But needs must.

A Friends of the Library Association was formed and my name was Mayor Mud

Former Councillor Betty Pederson and the late Dick Illingworth became co-chairs of a fund raising campaign and the goal was successfully achieved.

The front entrance of the addition was at the back of the building
because of the  Official Plan designation of the  location as a Civic Square. 

The library would face Yonge Street and have pride of place in the square.

The Browning house on Yonge Street came on the market. The town  bought it  with the long-term goal in mind.

Time passed, Council membership changed.. Dreams get  lost. The new library was built on the corner of Yonge and Church. The town now owns ,I would say, seventy-five per cent of the block.

The seniors were lobbying Council to let them have the old  library.

 The old firehall was severely limited in its scope for programs. The seniors never ever thought of asking the town to build something new to suit their needs.

Yhey were of a generation who well knew the connection between taxes and amenities. Making do for them is a way of life.

 The idea of having all that space in the old  library was exciting..

So the decision to demolish the building was not made when it should have been. 

We surprised  the seniors. . We  built them a new facility. On the site of the town hall. Last night the parking lot was full of cars
of people attending a Water for Tomorrow.presentation.

The large all purpose room in thecentre lends itself well to other gatherings when not used by  the seniors.

Some  thought  a teen centre should have been built instead. It was in former Mayor  Jones last term.

So now we have two.buildings without a purpose, sitting on under-utilised land,  several times more valuable than the structures  taking up space.

A third part of one was the library built in 1963 to mark the town's centennial. It has happy ,positive memories .Built in the last term  of Former and late Mayor Keith Nisbett. .

The late Councillor Jean Moffat was chair of the library committee.

At the 1963  Inaugural, the  town's first Chain of Office was presented , It was  fashioned by  an award winning designer  named Rod Smythe.

At the same gathering , Councillor Moffatt told the audience she had pushed for a basement in the new library but couldn't get support from Council.

So that part of  the building , a third of the old library, sits on a concrete slab. Much like the  former three bay fire hall.

It was a very pretty little building. An old fire hall bell sat in a little courtyard designed for the purpose.

The new facility was  much appreciated. A new building   is always a happy event . Like a new baby.

But it is not yet  historical.

 Aurora has a progressive history.

It  was  never  part of Aurora's  culture to steep themselves  in the past. There was little to speak of. We are a young country. A young town.  Our past and our present is one and the same.

Our culture is to look forward without forgetting the past.

There is of course.respect for the past.  We have a  principle of building on our past. There have  been  glitches in the drive  forward.

We are  roaring out of one now.

The time is right.

Google Apps keeps music companies humming

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Enterprise blog.)

Music is a huge part of our culture at Google, and I’m really excited that the music festival season is just getting started. If you were at Coachella (which we livestreamed on YouTube this year) or have plans to go to go to another festival, you're probably just as excited.

Musicians, record labels, and music companies are using technology to do some amazing things, like producing on-stage holograms or experimenting with new online distribution models. It’s common for artists to launch their careers on YouTube, broadcast a performance on Google+ Hangouts, or connect with their fans using social media. But beyond the tech-coolness we hear a lot about, the music community is also taking advantage of technology behind the scenes - or rather, in the cloud - to develop their businesses.

I’m proud to say that some of today’s musical entrepreneurs are using Google Apps for Business. Whether it’s having the freedom to run a new indie record label, the flexibility to manage up-and-coming music artists on tour, or the ability to collaborate across the globe, Google Apps helps these teams focus on what they love the most - the music. We want to share three stories about awesome music companies using Google Apps to grow and evolve:

Music Clout is a startup formed by a group of guys with a die-hard passion for music. The idea is simple: create an online community that connects independent artists with music industry contacts and opportunities. They launched their company with Google Apps to make it easier to work together internally and with their team of contractors. Since their web development team works from Turkey, the combination of chat in Gmail and Hangouts allows them to instantly discuss website programming and other technicalities, while saving the team from high phone bills.

GHouse, a Boston-based record label, works with musicians from various genres, including electronic, reggae, rock, and country. Beginning as a side project by a college music student, it’s evolved into a full-time business. Initially, the team relied on a remote server and legacy software that were always stalling or crashing on them. They switched to Google Apps so that they could easily work together anytime, anywhere online, and on any device with Internet connectivity. With Google Docs, the team can easily share music tour dates and track all of their profits from the shows.

Founded in 2007, Fly South Music Group is an artist management firm out of Orlando, FL with satellite offices in Nashville and Los Angeles. The company set up Google Apps because it wanted a common platform for company email, calendars and documents that could be shared between all their clients, families, labels, tour managers and promotion coordinators. Today, it’s become essential to their workflow from scheduling to budget management with access to information from anywhere. This accessibility provides a whole new layer of transparency that keeps everyone in sync, especially while traveling around the world.

Google Apps has given these companies the built-in collaboration they need to communicate better, work smarter, and stay focused on bringing new talent and fresh ideas to the music industry.

Posted by Barbara Yang, Google Apps Team

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Step Forward

 Once again towards a decision on the town-owned surplus buildings on Victoria Street . Council took it last night.

It's not a giant leap forward. It's not one fell swoop. We did not smote the mountain. And it's not Joshua bringing  the Walls of Jericho tumbling down.

But it is a foot on the path to  decision. It is a positive move.

Both motions were approved .One significant word was changed   The word "demolition"  was changed to "disposition".

Councillor Gallo objected to "demolition". He was right. It pre-supposed the decision Council will make.

Next step is a general committee discussion of all the documentation compiled over the years.

The material  will be on the general committee agenda and accessible on the web site; at this point, we anticipate at the next
general committee meeting.

The second resolution, directs staff to prepare a plan to obtain maximum  public input to a use for the $33 million hydro asset

It will likely be polls and open houses and  consultants and such.

 I think the community could  take things  into their own hands.

Applications are regularly made for  streets to be closed for neighbourhood parties. People could have neighbourhood meetings and  compile neighbourhood petitions without even having to close the street.

It's done all the time for opposition, no reason it can't be done to support  a project.

There might even be opposition.  Councillor Gaertner feels  the idea smacks of total disrespect to the town's history.

There's a lot to talk about. In terms of a structure I don't know what $33 million dollars will buy.

We  probably own two-thirds of the block . How much control that could that give us over  a design for the whole square  is not yet

What options are there for  parking ?  Is it time for layers.

The province spent  $70 million for the massive structure at the station.

Could the venue become so popular, people might  be encouraged to walk a few yards from their cars.

Could  the heart of the community become such a happening place more people would be encouraged to sell houses and moveto apartments in the  heart of town.

 It might be like old times, with so many  gathered on  sidewalks  catching up on a week's gossip, people had to step onto the road to make headway.

There might be shops again with  window displays and lights sparkling on wet pavement.  Isn't that a heady thought.

Last night, we kindled a fire. Now we  all need to blow on it to make sure it takes.hold. Council needs to feel  warmth and  encouragement.   

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In Point Of Fact

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "My Sentiments Exactly":

It's all in the semantics. We are not talking about a Youth Centre, but about a building where youth can find their place with the rest of Aurora. Need a new working name for the building as it progresses to correct this discrepancy.


Actually the building and  gathering place within  for teens, is just an idea.

Two separate motions to demolish the buildings and build something new are before Council to-night. Without a  seconder or sufficient support, they go nowhere.

If they are approved, there are next steps.  I am hopeful.

The first motion is for demolition of existing buildings.  The second  is to contemplate using the  hydro sale asset  to provide a facility we would  never contemplate as  a tax burden .

The second is to give  notice to the community and opportunity for input on  use of the hydro reserve fund. It's ours to spend as we see fit.

Paving Wellington Street  is not an option. . 

Also before Council tonight is the consultant's report on  various options  and locations for a youth facility. The  need is identified in the Master Recreation Plan adopted during  the last term.

It has also been identified in the calculation of development charges . When a specific purpose is identified, the funds must be used for that purpose and no other. 

That fund is currently dry . The charges are paid when building permits are issued. 

Almost $14 million  are in the cash-in-lieu of parks reserve  fund. It does nothing but grow. It's the money taken from business development.  Because they do not create a need for parks, we take  money from them instead. .

It can also be used for  recreation purposes. Or it can be borrowed from  for the youth facility until the development charge fund is replenished. 

If the youth facility is approved  ten per cent of the capital cost must come from taxes.

I am not sure how to vote on the  recommendation.  I'm torn.

The facility will be a dedicated youth space. But it will be designed to be shared. If  youth don't use it, it will be used.

My concern has been reflected among  comments received. I am encouraged.

The staff proposed facility is first and foremost, practical and best use of resources. It's how public funds should be used.. It's good stewardship. 

 But   I don't think it will fill the gap I see in youth services. 

We have arenas and gyms and organized sports. We have high  schools and extra-curricular programs. We have affluent families who  provide cars and cash  for bus fares and private recreation. 

What we don't have is a gathering place where teens can just be. Safe and in touch with each other, during a time in their lives when they are trying to find their way.

Times change. That's for sure. But teens don't.

 Growing up is hard to do. Hard on them and hard on  parents.

I think we could make it  safer and easier.

I'm willing to spend  hydro asset funds to include the possibility in a new building on Victoria Street

If we build it and they don't come,we'll think of something to lure them. We are their friends ,are we not?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and...Re-think

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Enterprise blog.)

There are about 9,000 community curbside recycling programs and 3,000 community composting programs in the United States. I’ve been recycling since I moved to California in the 90's, and in the U.S. we’re lucky that many communities have recycling and composting services. But there’s still more to be done – we only recycle or compost 33% of the 243 million tons of trash generated each year.

I’m encouraged to hear about some of the cool ways that people and organizations are coming together to re-think how we can recycle, reduce, and reuse. In honor of Earth Day, we’d like to share the stories of three organizations that take recycling to the next level, using Google products to help.

Andrew Sell started out as a personal hunter/gatherer of “upcycled” products. There are a lot of companies that manufacture recycled products by recovering difficult-to-recycle materials from landfills and turning them into useful items, and the market continues to grow. Recognizing a need to connect the growing number of manufacturers with consumers, Andrew created an e-commerce website, HipCycle, almost a year ago in Ocean Township, New Jersey with the budget of a typical startup. 

Andrew, or Chief Hipcycler, chose to manage his new company with Google Apps due to low costs, ease of set up, and the ability to provide custom email addresses @hipcycle.comto employees, contractors and bloggers. HipCycle also uses Google Docs to track order statistics and share them with manufacturers, Google Calendar to keep the social media team aligned on topics and timing, and Google+ Hangouts to communicate directly with customers. Google Analytics provides data on site traffic and activity.

Not far away in Brooklyn, New York, Eva Radke identified another opportunity to eliminate needless waste. Having spent 15 years working in film, Eva saw two trends: a growing amount of waste and a general desire for environmental responsibility in the industry. After film shoots, large, awkward items like furniture are brought to landfills and Eva became passionate about finding a better way to use the waste.

In 2008 Eva’s passion became a full-time non-profit organization that collects waste from the film industry and sells or donates the goods to students and partner charities. For example, a women’s shelter receives bedsheets and towels from Film Biz, allowing them to free up their non-profit dollars to spend on education and therapy for its residents. Eva says she doesn’t know where she’d be without Google Apps. Since day one, she’s been using Gmail to stay up-to-date while traveling and Calendar to schedule everything from set clean-outs to school trips to donation drop-offs. Google Docs allows her team to edit documents together and they rarely need to use paper, which helps them stay even more green.

As the name would indicate, Cell Again buys and sells used mobile phones. With the rapid proliferation of mobile devices - and trend of consumers purchasing new phones every couple of years - there’s a seemingly endless quantity of second-hand cell phones. Tucker Nielson wanted to keep these phones out of landfills so he started CellAgain with just a few employees in Salt Lake City. The company has been so successful that there are now eight stores and 87 employees, which he expects to double this year.

With rapid company expansion plus growing franchise and wholesale operations, Tucker says that Google Apps has been his savior in terms of staying organized. Tucker set up Google Apps for on his own and uses Gmail to stay connected to his management team from his own cell phone. He also hosts nearly everything in Google Docs, including company manuals, shift schedules, timesheets, job descriptions and more. And Google AdWords helps CellAgain make sure that consumers looking for a refurbished cell phone can find their local franchise or kiosk.

Each of these companies help keep environmental impact low and Google is working to do its part as well. We’re a carbon neutral company, and Google Apps (and all the products in our cloud) have a "net zero" impact on the environment.

Happy Earth Day.

Posted by: Chris Farinacci, Senior Director, Google Enterprise

My Sentiments Exactly

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Writer is right":

Attendance did not drop off because of the venue change. It dropped off because the activity was a lame attempt at keeping the kids occupied.

We really need to wake up and understand the needs and demands of the youth of today before we spend any money on a facility.

They do not want to sit around a room and eat a cold slice of pizza and watch a movie that is over a year old. They can watch whatever they want on their computer, phone, game system and eat whatever they want at the same time.

For the kids that are out and about at night, the activities suggested would not be attractive to them either.

I think we need to get a better handle on the demand before we throw our hats into this ring.


These are my sentiments exactly.  The trouble is for all the reasons given, the youth providing input into the need are not the kids who are out and about at night.

I think  determining the needs for these kids  is not something for consultants  to discover.

We need to cast our minds back  and be honest about  what it's like to be between thirteen and eighteen.

You're neither a kid nor  an adult. Hormones are raging and you don't know yourself what you might  do from one minute to the next. The  compulsion  is to be with  peers. To be doing anything except what you were doing when you were a kid.

But you don't know what . Because,you've never been there before.

You may have made mistakes already, need a chance to re-coup. and a reason not to repeat.

But you feel like nobody gives a damn. In some cases unfortunately that may be true.

But there are people who care.  If we can provide the place where they and  teens can come together, we might be able to  help them get through the twilight zone of nowhere land safely.

Then they'll be able to help each other.

It's the gap I see that needs to be filled.

Silly Stuff

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Heritage...Culture":

"Church Street School is nowhere near adequate for a cultural centre."

Doesn't that contention actually require attendance at some time. Since you've vowed to boycott the place, you can't really make that statement.


This contention requires a response not because  it makes any sense but because it doesn't and it is  being repeated.

When a lie is repeated ofetn enough without challenge it frequently becomes accepted as the truth.

This  building has always been publicly owned. I have lived in the town  for fifty years plus.

What makes you  think I am not thoroughly familiar with the  building's interior. 

As it was and as it is.

Why do  you believe  I did  not attend the official opening of a newly renovated facility, undertaken on the basis of a resolution put forward by myself.

Why would you not expect me to oppose a use that was not endorsed by the community and represents a serious drain on town finances.

Who are you? Where do you come from?  When did you come?

Why do you think you are an authority on my efforts  to serve the
community's interest?

Why do you make a statement on my blog that is patently false and totally absurd ?

Stop slavishly repeating what you hear and think about  how much sense it makes?

Have a Smile

Forget Rednecks...     
If your local Dairy Queen is closed from
September through May,
You may live in Canada .

If someone in a Home Depot store
Offers you assistance and they don't work there,
You may live in Canada .

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time,
You may live in Canada .

If you've had a lengthy  telephone conversation
With someone who dialed a wrong number,
You may live in Canada .

If 'Vacation' means going anywhere
South of Detroit for the weekend,
You may live in Canada .

If you measure distance in hours,
You may live in Canada .

If you know several people
Who have hit a deer mo re than once,
You may live in Canada .

If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C'
In the same day and back again,
You may live in Canada .

If you can drive 90 km/hr through 2 feet of snow
During a raging blizzard without flinching,
You may live in Canada .

If you install security lights on your
house and garage,
But leave both unlocked,
You may live in   Canada .

If you carry jumper cables in your car
And your wife knows how to use them,
You may live in Canada .

If you design your kid's Halloween costume
To fit over a snowsuit,
You may live in Canada .

If the speed limit on the highway is 80 km --
You're going 95 and everybody is passing you,
You may live in Canada .

If driving is better in the winter
Because the potholes are filled with snow,
You may live in Canada .

If you know all 4  seasons:
Al mo st winter, winter, still winter,
and road construction,
You may live in Canada .  

(this is my favourite, because how true)

If you have mo re  miles
On your snow blower than your car,
You may live in Canada .

If you  find -2 degrees 'a little chilly',
You may live in Canada .

If you  actually understand these jokes,
and forward them to all
your friends,

You definitely are Canadian and Proud To Be.

Trail Event

Next Sunday, special events are being organised along the Nokiida Trail System.

Newmarket and East Gwillimbury and Aurora are doing it together.

The gathering spot is  at the parking lot in Sheppard's Bush and the wood lots are part of the adventure.

The trail goes all the way now to the Mount Albert Sideroad. We had a formal opening on a week-day. It attracted mostly officials.

This event is  for the community and a celebration of  completion of a work in long time progress.

The trail  is intended eventually to reach Lake Simcoe. Things worth having are worth waiting for.

Ernie Crossland ,a citizen of King, then Newmarket is the man who must receive the credit.

Public rights of way are thousands of years old in Europe but  relatively new in Canada . It's a new freedom. A new way of enjoying the beauty of  unspoiled  nature.

It's an all-day event.  A journey of discovery.

A Question of Timing

The discussion is great and I think it's very useful'

There is one comment I'm not publishin . I wish I could explain to the writer why.

That's one of the disadvantages of not knowing my correspondents.

Be assured, I have a reason.

The Writer is right

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Discussion Continues":

I think someone is tinkering with history. Correct me but I think the Hot Spot died when the funding from Bingo ceased and Wendy was unable to find any sponsors to replace them There was also an election coming up and she wanted to shed the thing. Much as Granger had a hissy fit and quit badgering the Farmers' Market. The Market did just fine without him and a replacement for the Hot Spot could do equally well.


Councillor Gaertner was originally using space in Regency Acres public school. The Lions Club Hall on the corner of Mosely and Victoria Street  was their second home.

Revenue from  Bingo funds made that possible. There was also a membership charge , I understand.

Costs of operation were high not just because of rent . I believe the
little darlings were fairly hard on the premises.They were pre-teens. 

Requests for sponsorships for the operation was not forthcoming and the enterprise moved to the auditorium at the Community Centre.

Attendance  there dropped off  almost completely. A $1000 grant from the town failed to remedy the situation and the enterprise came to an end.

That experience supports the premise, a facility needs to be in the
heart of the community.

Teens will find a way to be with teens. It's their  nature. They need to be where things are happening ...or have the potential for happening.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Discussion Continues":

"We have a golden opportunity to add something to our repertoire that may prove to be an investment that pays dividends in business development."

The ancillary benefits of the cultural centre to the downtown core are dismissed by some, yet you cite them in support of your proposal.

 Church Street School was never intended to be a cultural facility.

 Town money invested in the last  renovations came from the Hydro reserve .

The intention  was  to restore the museum to its rightful place.

The  Historical Society's investment came from a bequest made for the same purpose; the museum. .

 $770,000 grant  from Heritage Canada  was for the same purpose;
the museum. .

The community accepted the plan without demur and endorsed it with an election in between.

Church Street School is the completely logical place to house artifacts  of the town's heritage.It's  the reason  we have been investing in the structure for the last forty-three years.

Church Street School is nowhere near adequate for a cultural centre.

World renowned artists are brought to perform in  a space that accommodates with a tight squeeze, a hundred people or less.

The soiree intimacy of knees and elbows touching and  tea and petit- fours  and conversation with the artiste, no doubt has appeal.

For potential  revenue to make the place's a bummer.

The town has a policy. We provide facilities, users pay costs of operation. A policy is something one strives to achieve but allows flexibility to play favorites which is a particular favorite of the politicians.

Church Street School has accomplished one thing. It has established  a pent-up demand for  facilities for activities other than sports and recreation. That  was never in doubt. But now we don't need to pay a consultant to tell us what we already know.

I notice no-one is accusing me of stealing some-one else's idea.

They didn't otter.  They hadn't better.

The Discussion Continues

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Valhalla":

Yes we have all sorts kids that want to do Shakespeare or Chess or Bridge.... Is this 1912 or 2012?

I have a child at Williams SS. Those things exist there already, why do we need to duplicate it.

Why did The Hotspot close? It had nothing to do with the venue (or lack of). Kids today don't want to participate in those activities.

We need to strike a committee that can find the true needs of the youth in Aurora. I would suggest that those on the committee should not be over 40. We are dealing with people that have no concept of black and white TV,no internet, no cell phones, etc.


Thanks for  the input.  .

Likely it was  students who  provided  the consultant with  ideas for a dedicated youth facility.

I agree  high schools are providing  most  of these programs.

And  students may already have plenty to occupy them with homework, after- school curriculum and part-time jobs.
But  a space for teens is only one of the uses,I'm thinking about in this building. I visualize an internet cafe.

None of  that other stuff I mentioned  is  specifically for students.

It's intended for  people  making a living at mundane jobs while hiding a  light under a bushel . Or retired people able for the first time in their lives to indulge in a passion  heretofore denied.

Or young people  with hopes of making a living  in the arts.

Or for practitioners always looking for way to improve.
Or   people who do it just  because it's the love of their lives.. 

Nobody questions the need for hockey rinks,soccer fields, baseball diamonds or swimming pools. Schools have many of these facilities too.  Nobody challenges the value to the community of providing these facilities.

A huge part of the municipal budget is used to provide leisure  opportunities of all kinds including the arts.

It's the only department  that produces  revenues sufficient
to pay for the programs.

The same spending could never be justified for a dedicated facility to provide for the arts.

I would not be the one to propose  taxing people to provide it. .

But we have $33 million dollars to spend for a purpose we would
not  otherwise place as  a burden on the taxpayers.

We have a site that we own.

We have a golden opportunity to add something to our repertoire that may  prove to be an investment that  pays dividends in business development.    

We would be remiss if we did not avail ourselves of this  delightful  and productive opportunity.   

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If you have a video you want to promote, get started with AdWords for video. And, join our YouTube for Marketers page on Google+ to stay up-to-date on our latest video marketing innovations. Posted by Baljeet Singh, Group Product Manager, YouTube