August 13th marks 7 years since I embarked on this blog.
With 1,375 posts covering a wide range of affairs now behind me I can safely say I’m no stranger to Aurora’s machinations both the ones behind the scenes and the ones carefully crafted and shared with the unsuspecting public.
I know enough to separate the real policy makers from the posers which has led me to address the inevitable collapse of organizations like infoaurora, habachat, AuroraClicks and H.E.A.T. (Heritage East Aurora Taxpayers) that thought they were such hot shit but were in fact just shit.
There was no shortage of mediocre non-events from the town’s Aurora 150 celebrations, to Aurora’s 150 guitars, the Aurora Live festival which never ran, Taste of Aurora and the epic do-you-remember-where-you-were when Dan Hill played Aurora concert.
While these were all one-off events sometimes it takes a longer time to study the decline of organizations who refuse to change, in this list I have addressed the implosion of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, the Aurora Historical Society and Aurora Farmer’s Market.
In short the role of our municipal government is to draft policy, much of which is feebly crafted, unenforceable and/or has no follow through. For example we’ve seen policy to combat graffiti that is ineffective, the acquisition of a Smart Car for bylaw services that was unsuitable and potentially a safety risk for staff, the complete disregard for the Architectural Salvage Program with no artifacts salvaged for over a decade, nonsensical sidewalk gapping, the relocation and restoration of Petch House without identified re-use
and over 9 years of woeful communications efforts by the town.
One notable change in the town’s economic climate is the migration of larger business out of town to neighboring municipalities. Much noise has been made on the need to support small businesses yet there has been little evidence that any effort towards that end has been successful with the exception of the national news story covering the discovery of a Meth pill pressing lab here in town during Ontario’s largest drug bust.
The economy isn’t the only area in which the town has chosen inaction, other stalemates include the town’s historic downtown core, library square and lack of parking in both areas. It’s not as if the town doesn’t already possess the real-estate and resources to make change happen it’s just we keep electing ass-hats who collectively don’t want to make a decision.
Through engaging in the process Aurora has thankfully avoided significant debacles foisted upon us by special interest groups and entertained by our elected officials that included the refusal of a $200,000 radio station and recording studio at the Family Leisure Complex not identified in any strategic plan, the kicked to the curb clear GLAD garbage bag proposal, the unsustainable Heritage Disneyland concept, the silencing of the 5 people wanting the train’s safety whistle to be silenced and the shooting down of the unnecessary South East Heritage Conservation district that provides a case study in how not to do public consultation.
We have also seen the overturning of questionable decisions during the most dysfunctional term of council (2006-2010) including the termination of Bullfrog power contract, removal of traffic calming chicanes at a cost of over $200,000, the renegotiation of the Cultural Services agreement, and the reinstatement of displaced The Aurora Museum & Archives.
In addition to the permanent vacation of now 2 editors at the straight-to-bluebin Era Banner we’ve also seen the purging of ineffective politicians too numerous to name here.
On paper the town claims to support an “exceptional quality of life” while in reality mediocrity has been allowed to run amok in a leadership vacuum (Dawe, Morris, Jones, West, Timpson) for decades.
Change starts with raising the question W.T.F?
It ends when we fail to demand answers from those accountable to us.
Just because a few of us settle for less doesn’t mean we all have to.