The decision to build the Town square is in the rear-view mirror and while maintaining building costs within budget remains, the concern going forward is the development of a solid business plan to support this important feature of the Ward and the Town.
The Town Square can become part of a Community Hub with the Town Park and our residents in that area can and should be integral to the process so that residents’ lives and property are preserved and enhanced.
ACTION: As the model for management of Town Square is being developed, I intend to be directly involved to ensure that Town Square addresses the realities of increased traffic and parking concerns already expressed. I also intend to support the fiscal interests of all residents of Aurora as the business plan of Town Square is developed.
The Aurora Armoury has been the subject of discussion now for four years. Concerns about community access and financial transparency remain and will be addressed. But like the new Town Square, it has the potential to be a vibrant Community feature. Marketing the Armoury as a community hub for the entire Town is important and Ward 1 should be there to lead that activity.
ACTION: In the first 3 months I will ask that the relationship with the Canadian Food and Wine Institute becomes transparent and public and that the community benefit of this relationship is explored fully to bring the programming expertise and services that benefit the Ward and the Town.
The Berczy Street Development has the potential of being the single most disruptive project to the Town Park area. And there are more developments planned south along the GO Tracks. The developer’s application (2601622 Ontario Inc.) has now been elevated to the Ontario Land Tribunal. This hearing will allow concerned resident input with Ward 1 residents. There are historical landmark issues present as well as significant traffic, construction, parking and zoning changes that will impact this important historic and cultural district.
Affordable Housing and the development of a plan to help with those who need places to live is a community concern.
And, to be perfectly clear, it is the responsibility of the Province and the Region. But, to suggest that the Town will simply do what it can is followership – not leadership.
It is well known that the Province responds to pressure from municipalities – and I look forward to pressing the issue on both of the MPPs that represent our area, both with whom I have a good personal relationship, both with whom I have a good personal relationship.
We can do more!
ACTION: I am an approved participant in the OTL hearings and have provided feedback and will follow-up with the next Case Management Conference scheduled in November to discuss the Heritage building under question. The actual Tribunal date for this is scheduled between Nov 30 and Dec 5th 2023. I will be following up with residents and the Town’s legal representative on this matter and will report back.
The proposed grade separation and dual track construction at the Wellington crossing will have significant impact on the quality of life in Ward 1. It has been scheduled for 2025. Traffic measures and parking must be managed. It is important to advocate to ensure traffic and GO objectives are achieved in concert with one another.
ACTION: When elected, and within 3 months, I will meet with GO officials on behalf of residents of Ward 1 as well as Wards 3 and 5 through their Council representatives and bring residents’ concerns forward regarding noise abatement, traffic and construction safeguards, and parking to improve and preserve the neighbourhoods affected.
The Shining Hill development on St. John’s Sideroad is an example of the value of resident advocacy. The residents have provided a detailed response to the development deficiencies as of June 8, 2021, with 15 items of concern, which have been responded to in whole or part by the developer. One piece of the puzzle remains, and I will represent the local residents through collaboration.
Additionally, work is scheduled for Willow Farm Stream Rehabilitation that is necessary to preserve private property and protect environmental concerns. This will require construction in the area and diligence to minimize impact to the residents.
Action: A traffic study is required along St. John’s to ensure that flow and safety is uppermost as the intensification of this area proceeds and to preserve the neighbourhood quality of life. In addition, the approval of a traffic light at the entrance of St Ann’s School is a must. The Northwest corner of St. John’s and Bathurst have expressed interests in trails and linking that area to the rest of the Town to the south and that is in the works.
Monitoring the construction of the Willow Farm Stream rehabilitation will be a priority as this project is undertaken in the next term.
This school is designated as being surplus during the term of this next Council coinciding with the opening of the new Bayview high-school. The loss of this historic landmark educational institution in my opinion is regrettable. This Ward now has no high-school and one iconic elementary school has also been lost on Wells Street. The Ward has not been well-served with these educational decisions. The principles that were used in approving the removal of a high-school that was once the centre of the secondary educational universe in this Town can be questioned, however the disposition of the facility is of local concern now and resident advocacy and collaboration with the Board is essential.
ACTION: Staying in touch with the YRDSB has begun as they deliberate on what will become of the facility. Within 100 days of being elected, direct contact with the YRDSB will be made officially to keep lines of communication open and Town interests preserved. Residents in that area do not want the school building lost, nor intensification on the green-space jeopardized. It is my intention to advocate for the school building to be re-purposed for educational reasons and that the green-space is re-developed into a hub for community access.
Conforming to existing by-laws is critical for us all to live in this civilized society. Violations of these by-laws must be enforced in a ward-sensitive manner and with greater expediency than has been accomplished.
In addition, property standards must be enforced during construction and with all properties to preserve these assets and maintain the character of each neighbourhood.
ACTION: I have been made aware of by-law infractions throughout the Ward and regrettably some remain a concern far too long. Within 100 days of taking office, I will investigate the outstanding infractions and seek a resolution in a timely manner. I will advocate for building permits that have a ‘sunset’ to them so building permits are completed in a timely manner or face consequences. I also will make a motion for a review of property standards by-laws to ensure that neighbourhoods reflect the standards of the residents. The ‘More Homes Built Faster’ Act just released on October 24th, while being a solution proposed by the province to add much needed housing, it threatens to undermine the existing Official Plan and the Stable Neighbourhoods Plan with ‘as-of-right’ processes. Reducing development charges that theorteically should lower house prices and encourage more home building however has dire taxe consequences as this revenue may be lost. There are unknown details here that have the potential for significant consequences to both our neighbourhoods and resident taxes that we will have to monitor.
In the 2018 election only 30% of residents voted. I believe that municipal government is the vote that really counts. It is where YOU LIVE. The decision you make will impact your taxes, your services and your lives like no other. William Gairdner in his book “The Trouble With Canada” posed that municipal government is the most important of government sectors and that citizens ought to ensure their voices are heard in those voting booths. I agree. Get out and vote because it matters! (Even if it isn’t for me.)
Action: While campaigning, I have been struck by the number of voters on the voters list who are no longer residents. Typically, these are children who have moved away, yet stay on the list. I will investigate how accurate Voter Lists can be maintained, so evaluation of voter turn-out reflects the current landscape of residents.
Ward interests are sometimes different from Town priorities. I have begun discussions about a Ward Committee with responsibilities to engage and inform. Join me using the communication options here to get (and stay) involved. An e-newsletter is published monthly for timely information sharing. It all starts by clicking the top right of this page (CONNECT WITH RON) to get and stay informed.
ACTION: A priority in the first 3 months will be to form a collaboration of the interests in the Ward with residents of this diverse geographical area. ‘Ambassadors’ from each area will form a Residents’ Committee to ensure that Ward 1 feedback is accurate, specific and timely. Advocacy for Ward 1 is essential. Building a foundation of collaboration in the Ward is critical as Ward system is adopted.
I look forward to seeing you at your doorway to identify, discuss and advocate for your own issues. Click the ‘Connect with Ron’ tab at the top and let’s talk!