Town of Aurora is inviting you to experience nature – or not? Definitely our town is going through a major urban sprawl and I am confident that this will be noted as an important moment in the history of the Town of Aurora. Some welcome the development but I find it sad though, and somewhat hard to understand the short-sighted motives behind it. Why are we so ignorant of the future, the future of our community? Developmental growth may bring some benefits to the town but also carries with it certain consequences that we blindly ignore to speak of today. Nature is self sustainable, low maintenance and eco-friendly. The unfortunate economic truth is that nature (farmland, forest, green space) does not bring the town the same tax revenues as development. But when considering long-term sustainability the real truth is that all development brings with it recurring operating and infrastructure costs that can place a significant burden on future generations.
Last summer I took numerous trips around the Town of Aurora wandering mainly around St. John’s Sideroad East of Bayview Avenue and Leslie Street just South of St. John’s Sideroad. I walked, I drove by and I stopped to snap views of acres and acres of green space land disappearing and being converted to residential developments. Plenty of diverse trees were removed or shredded on location. No doubt that animals once living there had to face a forced self-relocation program. Perfectly good structures were demolished. I always thought that The Southdown Institute was standing there as a land protector – I was wrong. The building is being demolished as I write this since the institute moved to Newmarket last year in December.“I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.” ~ George Carlin“
Traveling this path is so different now – nothing like it was before. Tomorrow will be different as well. As mentioned before, irreversible urban development is definitely on the rise in the Town of Aurora. I don’t understand how Town of Aurora corporation, community leaders and politicians are not concerned. I am concerned especially with the substantially increased population sprawl, increased traffic flow, increased property taxes and water bills, loss of bio-diversity, and the potential for air quality and watershed issues. At the end of the day it is hard to win a fight for something I don’t own. Point of no return decisions between land owners, developers and town were made a while back.
On the north side of St. John’s Sideroad, at the border line between Town of Aurora and Newmarket, there used to be a beautiful open space with rolling hills and with a few trees in the middle. A great view of spectacular all season sunsets. The blue farm house built only in 1998 was removed from the property. The views are now only engraved in my mind and silently echo back at me – all gone, all gone. That made me think of existing open field views along Bathrust Street on the west side that belong to King Township. It is not Aurora’s but will it be gone too?
The times are different now. Today, our Town of Aurora community is definitely a fast growing community. We will not be a small town community again. Once both St. John’s Sideroad and Leslie Street are developed our population will increase by thousands of people. These people will be invited to believe that they will be surrounded by nature yet pictures clearly demonstrate that there will be very little nature left behind.“If I were a tree, I would have no reason to love a human.” ~ Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys
Developers are hauling away trees to make space for new residential dwellings to accommodate the thousands of people. One summer morning I stood there on the side of Leslie Street looking at the sign – Experience Nature. How ironic it was to see a truck coming out from the site hauling trees away. That day the site looked nothing like a place to discover nor experience nature, nor looked like trails or forests.
Changes already under development are hard to fight when realistically it is too late to address them. All that is left for us to do is be aware of what is happening in our Town of Aurora community. The current St. John’s Sideroad and Leslie Street development is a sad reminder that we will not be a small community again. As the outward appearance of our community is changing drastically, one of the challenges we are faced with is deciding how we are going to continue to look inward and preserve the essence of the small community we once were.
Anna Lozyk Romeo, Editor’s Notes