Among his top priorities for re-election in last fall’s election Deputy Mayor Abel listed “taking the Hillary-McIntyre Park to the next level”: http://www.newspapers-online.com/auroran/?p=4982
He certainly didn’t waste any time advancing his ludicrous motion for the town to buy 3 properties, including the same ones from the failed Heritage Disneyland Concept as well as an empty lot south of Irwin:
The Auroran covered Abel’s motion in a December 10th piece here:
There are so many flimsy rationalizations as to why the town should outlay Millions of dollars it is hard to find a place to start.
What I would like to know is how Clr. Abel has arrived at the conclusion that town ownership is the only way possible to “maximize the development opportunities for the purposes of revitalization”.
The town’s ownership of multiple properties in library square has failed to maximize development opportunities for the purposes of revitalization there.
After a decade there is still no direction for these properties, and now I hear a consultant has been hired to advise council as to their use because apparently all the engagement the town has done to date means nothing.
There is also no direction as to the use for the Petch Shit Shack. A project that was bankrolled, and location secured before a purpose was identified. Now reconstructed council seems incapable of maximizing the development opportunities for this building.
And then their’s the contaminated Armory building that the previous term of council bought in the dying weeks of last term. Staff believes they have identified a use, but has yet to communicate it with the rest of the town. I don’t see the $500,000+ price-tag the town willingly ate for a building they should have been able to secure for $1 as suddenly opening yo development opportunities that were otherwise closed off.
With all these loose ends who in their right mind could even remotely conceive of acquiring more land with no specific purpose?
Then there’s the former Aurora Hydro building that the town owns, but instead of maximize the development opportunities it decided to lease it out to the DND in a very questionable lease when the building would have been a suitable location for its own Joint Ops Centre.
It’s laughable to read the Councilor’s words as quoted:
“What I want to do is let developers know the Town is willing to work with them in moving applications forward with a common goal to enhance the community,”
And the only way the town can achieve this is by purchasing properties that have been on the market for some time with Zero interest?
As is any claims this motion does anything to advance “Downtown Revitalization” as was the focus of this December 23rd Auroran piece here:
Did it occur to Clr. Abel to check and see if the properties his motion refers to are even in Aurora’s “Historic Downtown”?
When consulting the almighty “Promenade Study” it shows the properties in question as Village Streets (Old Town) not Historic Downtown.
An image of the vacant lot is featured as an example of “transition zone” from Village Street to Main Street.
The Town’s Official Plan lists the properties as “Downtown Shoulder” not the Downtown Core.
There are serious problems with the real downtown core that require council’s attention before it starts going off half-cocked about fantastical notions of getting into bed with developers on shoulder properties.
I’m taken aback by Clr. Abel’s pomposity to proceed with tying up Millions of $ from the town’s land reserve without any commitment to the role the town will play as to their development and the timetable for doing so.
There’s a reason municipalities don’t purchase property for purpose of real-estate speculation, and it is why I don’t buy Clr. Abel’s belief that there is “no cost to municipality”.
Owning properties places multiple liabilities on the town.
Given that Clr. Abel’s motion has targeted multiple heritage properties that are protected under a myriad of designations the town would immediately find itself responsible for maintenance and upkeep that the current owners have neglected.
One only has to read the town’s $20,000 cost/benefit report to understand the money-pit scenario. I commented recently with respect to one of the targeted properties here:
Another instance of false reasoning is Clr Abel claiming that purchasing land is not high risk.
I wonder if the residents who back onto the soon to be developed Highland Golf Course share Clr. Abel’s point of view.
Canada’s housing market is poised for a a correction. CBC News reported a downward trend in this February piece here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/home-prices-head-downwards-in-many-canadian-cities-1.2955215
Don’t care for the CBC’s take, okay fine, how about Deutsche Bank’s chief international economist Torsten Sløk’s take then:
What possible incentive would there be to negotiate with owners to purchase properties that have failed to sell on the open market?
So much for the concept of “revolving investment”.
The final nail in this motion’s coffin is the cost recovery model:
“We would rent the properties out so we would cover a tax that would be coming from the two properties.”
Where is Clr. Abel arriving at projections that these properties could net $5,000 each?
Remember the lot on Irwin is vacant.
My understanding is the Redman House is gutted, it has no services and is likely infested by animals.
Zoning for Horton Place is currently designated as Special Mixed Density Residential (R5) Zone. Permitted uses include one residential dwelling unit per lot (detached, semi-detached, duplex, triplex/double duplex, or converted dwelling) or private home day care.
So where is this rent coming from?
The taxes the town receive for Horton Place alone are $6,000 making the projection to only recoup $5,000 a losing proposition in more than one way.
A wealthy and privileged, even aristocratic, bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as the haute bohème.
What is proposed in Clr. Abel’s motion has more in common with the hit from Queen’s studio album: A Night at the Opera, which at the time was the most expensive single ever made.
Is this the real price?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught up in land buys
No escape from controversy…….
(Let me go.) Will not let you go.
(Let me go.) Will not let you go. (Let me go.) Ah.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.