Aurora Chamber Mayoral Debate, Municipal Elections 2018


On October 3rd, 2018 Aurora Chambers of Commerce hosted an event for residents to learn more about Mayoral, Council and Trustee candidates. The following is a set of videos of Mayoral Debate, separated by question. CANDIDATE QUESTIONS – 2 minute response with 1 minute rebuttal from each other candidate.

PLEASE READ THIS IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION FROM CLLR HAROLD KIM FIRST BEFORE WATCHING: To your [LivingInAurora.com Blog] readers, I would like to offer a bit of clarity with regards to a “quote” attributed to me. During the Chamber debate, mayoral candidates were asked to comment on the following question, “Councillor Harold Kim (from his interview in the Aurora July 26, 2018) believes that the Aurora “Main Street” should be located in the Bayview Corridor (aka Bayview Avenue) as opposed to the Yonge St corridor. What is your opinion on this?”

With greatest respect, as you can see by the actual quote from the Auroran, that was not my position at all. I was referencing the exciting possibilities that the proposed “Main Street“-like development that Mr. Frank Stronach has planned for the Magna Lands. In no way was it a suggestion that we move our downtown to Bayview Avenue.

Aurora has a downtown – historic Yonge street. The very heart of our community and I am a firm believer in the energizing of Yonge Street and the Promenade area. We need a strong business and social presence on Yonge Street which is why I have worked hard with my Council colleagues this term to build on the work of previous Councils and residents and businesses to re-develop Library Square to spur on the redevelopment of our downtown core.

A strong central core is vital to a healthy community and I look forward to continuing to revitalize and re-energize our Downtown core. Thank you.

Excerpt from the July 26 Auroran article. “During his first election campaign, one of the issues Mr. Kim cited was his desire to address the problem of Aurora’s “main street” – or, rather, the idea that Aurora’s main street is not a traditional one in the same way as communities ranging from Newmarket to Unionville. A “main street”, he says, is a place of significant foot traffic, a place where people gather and get to know each other. Library Square, he adds, addresses some of those needs, but a “main street” opportunity might be in the offing in the next term of Council as the Stronach family proposes a transformation of some its lands in the Bayview and Wellington corridor.”

CANDIDATE QUESTIONS – 2 minute response with 1 minute rebuttal from each other candidate.

Question No. 1 for John Abel: In a recent article from the Auroran dated July 26th, Councillor Kim made reference to plans for the Bayview/Wellington corridor stating, ‘From what Iíve seen, it looks like a future main street’. What are your views on what zoning and development should take place in this corridor? And, do you see this as the ‘future main street’?

Question No. 2 for Chris Ballard: In a recent interview you stated that you wanted ‘to put Aurora back on a more fiscally responsible course.’ How will you convince voters that you will be more fiscally responsible than the current council? And, what is your greatest concern about the current fiscal status of the Town?

Question No. 3 for Geoff Dawe: How did the cost of the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) escalate to nearly $30M? The independent investigation conducted by the Region determined it was in part due to a lack of oversight and control. What mechanisms and controls would you put in place to ensure that this does not reoccur with the Library Square development?

Question No. 4 for Tom Mrakas: With the creation of the new ‘Economic Development Board Corporation‘ how do you believe this board will contribute to Aurora’s economic success? And how will local business be engaged in the process? Do you believe that the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and business in general should be an active part of this Board?

Question No. 5 for John Abel: On your website you state; ‘I can tell you that there are some important issues that have not been addressed. These issues should have triggered alarm bells within Town Hall but the sad fact is that we are not getting things done.’ Can you elaborate on what ‘things’ are not getting done?

Question No. 6 for Chris Ballard: The current Council opened up the special hydro reserves to use $5M for the Armoury development. Do you believe that this spending offers significant value to the Town of Aurora and is the best use of these funds? What types of initiatives should these funds be used for in the future?

Question No. 7 for Geoff Dawe: Housing affordability is a major issue throughout the GTA, including Aurora. How would you help ensure that home ownership continues to be attainable for all?

Question No. 8 for Tom Mrakas: Various municipalities have called for additional revenue tools, including a municipal land transfer tax like the City of Toronto. Studies, including one conducted by the CD Howe Institute, have shown that land transfer taxes distort the market, hurt consumers and businesses, and will discourage people from moving, thereby reducing housing supply. If elected, would you support or oppose the introduction of a municipal land transfer tax?

Question No. 9 for John Abel: With regards to the Hallmark lands, would it be more fiscally responsible to re-purpose existing town ball diamonds and sports fields and sell the Hallmark lands to support the expansion of existing town facilities, thereby allowing the lands to be released as desperately needed employment lands?

Question No. 10 for Chris Ballard: Currently there are nearly 40 vacant business locations either for lease or sale along Yonge St. between Orchard Heights and Edward Streets. Why do you believe this is so and what can the Town do to improve the situation?

Question No. 11 for Geoff Dawe: Aurora council almost unanimously voted in favour of sending a clear message to the Region they would like to see the Head of Council become an elected position. You ultimately voted against that at Regional Council as the Town’s representative. When given direction from council do you feel compelled or committed to follow that direction when at regional council?

Question No. 12 for Tom Mrakas: Are you in favour of protecting neighbourhoods from incompatible development, such as monster homes? If yes, what concrete steps would you take to protect neighbourhoods from incompatible development? If no, how do you see our neighbourhoods developing?

Thank you for watching!

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