Monday, December 9, 2019
Politics Town of Aurora Council Items - Aurora Downtown Revitalization

Town of Aurora Council Items – Aurora Downtown Revitalization

It has become apparent the downtown core of Aurora, specifically the Yonge Wellington Corridor has for years suffered neglect, decline and abandonment and needs downtown revitalization.

The Yonge Wellington corridor during the 1970’s experienced retailers abruptly decamping to the suburban malls. It was amazing how quickly this phenomenon took place not just here in Aurora, but in just about every downtown core throughout North America.

There is an unmistakable sign that the economic and commercial center of gravity is shifting away from the suburbs and back to the urban core.

There is a great reversal beginning in cities as high end shopping districts return to their downtowns. There is potential spillover into abandoned urban retail sectors, such as our very own Aurora Downtown Corridor.

We have the infrastructure and the character. It is extremely important to seize the opportunity and puts plans in place towards downtown revitalization.

We must start by acquiring property and seeking lead developers. Introduce a Two Tier Property Tax System in Yonge Wellington Corridor that will deter speculation and encourage abandoned properties to be developed.

Council just approved up to $75,000 for a study to evaluate and make recommendations to downtown revitalization the downtown core.

The key for future development is directly related to public transportation, which has Rapid Transit moving up Yonge Street. With improved transportation volume capabilities, residential and commercial intensification follows.

We must encourage development of the abandoned neglected properties on Yonge Street corridor. These properties have been a sitting eyesore for years. The properties are owned by speculators. If Aurora were to introduce along this corridor a Two Tier Property Tax System, and tax the empty, undeveloped properties at a higher rate, then it would cost more for these owners to speculate. This has proven very successful in cities throughout North America.

The accumulation of empty lots blight the Yonge Wellington Corridor. This blight delays recovery and undermines government efforts at revitalization.

John Abel
Councillor, Town of Aurora

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