Are you prepared?

Halfway through 2015 the town of Aurora continues to operate from a decade-old crisis communication plan which I pointed out most recently in this post:

But back in the 60s Aurora was a centre for Emergency Preparedness in the GTA.

Included in this year’s sites for Doors Open was the Pargeter House, also referred to as the Aurora Readiness Centre but as that is too long it gets shortened to just “The Bunker”. I posted on this back in January here:

Over on the Community Focus Site Anna has a great post from her visit you can find here:

Our family also checked out the site and here’s a small gallery of photos I was able to snap off:

In December of last year the site was profiled in this CBC news piece:

In speaking with the owner I was impressed with the amount of effort he has put into maintaining the space. That said there’s only so much a single homeowner can do, and there is absolutely no assistance from the Town of Aurora to help preserve and maintain this site.

It’s of such great interest to include on the town’s Doors Open program yet the site is only on the registrar of cultural interest, not designated. Why not?

In the article the Mrs. Brodbeck wonders if it is because the building isn’t old enough “The ’60s might not sound that long ago, but it’s still a part of our makeup.”.

I agree.

If Aurora is serious about preserving its heritage, which is a big if, then how is it remotely acceptable to let this site crumble?

In the closing of the article it reads:

“For now, the Brodbecks are happy to keep up with the maintenance of the bunker for as long as they can.”

The owners have been extremely diligent in maintaining the site but recognize that when nearing retirement they may be forced to sell the property due to….wait for it….high property taxes.

So property taxes are high but the Town sees no value investing any of it back into the preservation of this site?

More than a little hypocritical when the town handed the Aurora Historical Society $70,000 this year, and $50,000+ a year over the last 10 yeara. The grant is not performance based but one would suspect that it is intended to pay for repairs to Hilarity House, a National Heritage Site that qualifies and receives both federal and provincial grant funding yet somehow they keep finding themselves in a state of emergency year after year.

The town needs to rethink its strategy of flushing money to a single site and use its resources to shore up projects like this one.


2 thoughts on “Are you prepared?

  1. I think it’s only memorable as an example of government bunker-down mentality. Every year York County Council had a budget for maintenance and staffing at that building..Peopple on high pay sat there doing absolutely nothing for all the years Metro owned it. I think they kept it going because they would have had to acknowledge there never was a sensible reason for doing it in the first place.
    In the event of a nuclear attack, Metro Council have a safe place to manage Metro if Metro was wiped out by a nuclear bomb.
    What would they have managed? Who would “they” be?
    Lack of judgement dominate decisions made by committees without sensible leadership.
    Whatever else that is , historical significance is not applicable.

    1. Thanks for your comment but I disagree.

      The site serves as a time capsule of local efforts to the very real threat due to the proliferation of nuclear weapons at the time.

      Not having lived through that period I was appreciative of the opportunity to visit the space itself. I was not alone, there was enough interest that 300 people visited the site between 10Am and 2PM.
      I’ll be interested to read the numbers that visited the Petch crapboard shack and see if there was the same level of interest.

      This period of history is of enough interest that in Ottawa the Diefenbunker was recognized as a National Historic Site in 1994.

      As for what would be managed? The horrific aftermath of a nuclear detonation. There would be much to manage and it would be no small task.

      Having a remote command post a safe distance from the city in no way demonstrates lack of judgement or sensible leadership. Could they have done more at the time? Was the alternative simply to do nothing?

      It’s interesting to see and feel what was done at the time in the place itself and not just read about it in a book only to learn the space was bulldozed over to build more townhomes.

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