Aurora’s Next Town Councillor

Over on Clr. Buck’s blog much discussion has arisen over the upcoming selection process to fill a vacant council seat. You can follow along here:

Council has decided to hold auditions as part of next week’s council meeting to help them with their selection.

The list of candidates has lengthened but from what I’m hearing in the community 2 strikes seem to remove all but a select few.

The first strike is against those with no past council experience. Advisory Committee meetings do not count.

Given how late it is in the term it is obvious that candidates that have already occupied the role would bump those that don’t to the bottom of the list. Those without
experience genuinely interested in joining council can wait a handful of months and register as candidates in the upcoming election.

This brings us to strike #2 being candidates registered, or are contemplating registering in the upcoming election.

Given how close we are to the October election candidates seeking this appointment that also intend to run for election could use this to gain a perceived advantage over others.

Clr. Buck herself seems to be favoring former Dept. Mayor Bob McRoberts.

Although I believe Mr. McRoberts deserves higher consideration than others on the list for the reasons listed above I am not rushing to acclaim him as one commentor on Clr. Buck’s blog is.

Especially after former Clr. Grace Marsh announced filing her papers last week.

Grace Marsh was unable to complete her 2006-2010 term on council due to a toxic environment that saw a plunge in town staff morale with several turnovers not to mention the ludicrous integrity commissioner and a SLAPP lawsuit.

This opportunity seems like a fitting way for her to re-enter a role she was once elected to do and find closure where she was otherwise denied.

Both candidates sit on advisory committees and have kept a close eye on town affairs this term, but there are some slight advantages in Mrs. Marsh’s column:

1.) I understand that Grace Marsh has no intention of running in the 2014 election whereas Bob McRoberts has not declared one way or the other.

2.) Mrs. Marsh has municipal experience both as staff and a member of council making her integration into the team more seamless.

3.) Mr. McRoberts’ contributions this term haven’t sat well with me. To cite a couple examples his push to maintain the controversial one-way traffic calming measures on his own street while ignoring the input of the town as a whole:

This seems to be a trend for Mr. McRoberts as he was a big proponent of the S.E. Heritage conservation district. Even in the face of 2:1 opposition he was trying to find numbers to support justification to continue the planning into the next phase. Even by new math standards the numbers failed to add up.

Nor did they add up for the failed Heritage Disneyland concept that the town had to foot the $25,000 bill to a consultant only to find out there was zero private interest and it was as unsustainable today as it was the day that brain-fart was conceived.

4.) Mr. McRoberts currently sits as a board member of the Aurora Historical Society. An organization that has hemorrhaged money for the past 4 years straight erasing well over $100,000 in assets. Even relying upon a hefty $70,000 annual grant from the town they have let at least 2 irreplaceable members of staff go in the past year.

Currently operating without a strategic plan the AHS has had to hand over to the town the Aurora collection as it has been brought to light the maintenance of said collection was beyond their capabilities.

If that wasn’t bad enough the National Historic site they are responsible is in disrepair. It was found operating without an up to date fire safety plan or a change of use permit yet booking film/television gigs as well as private bookings and wedding receptions complete with kitchen rental. Two weeks ago a portion of the fence came free. It appears another section is also week but this matter is somehow not their responsibility.

A study of the structure’s foundation outlined in the 2010-2013 strategic plan was never completed. The building has several accessibility challenges and the AHS couldn’t even be bothered to shovel the snow from the front steps to aid the elderly members attending their last AGM.

Don’t get me wrong. I very much admire Mr. McRoberts, but if he feels he has the time to commit to council I’m left wondering why it wouldn’t be directed to shore up the operations of the AHS. Or applying efforts to learn from the multiple errors in engagement that plagued the entire South East Conservation District Study so that it doesn’t happen again?

Before clamoring for more responsibility and oversight perhaps one should look to finish what they’ve started.

Aurora has a lot of baggage.

If there’s one thing it could use right now it’s a little Grace.

You go girl!


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