Welcome to our report from Town Hill for the Town of Aurora Council meeting held on January 22, 2013. This was the first council meeting in 2013, the Sesquicentennial year for the Town of Aurora. We wish everyone a Happy New Year and Happy 150th Birthday Aurora. Unfortunately due to illness Cllr Buck was absent. We are wishing her a fast recovery. We encourage everyone to take care of themselves because the flu season is not over yet.
Happy New Year and Happy 150th Birthday Aurora
And now down to town business. Although not full coverage of the Town of Aurora Council meeting, this is our interpretation of the highlights of the meeting.
At the open forum David Heard was the first speaker of the year at the Town of Aurora Council meeting. He expressed his appreciation and was very thankful for all the support he received from our community and outside communities for his Spirit Walk 2012. Mr. Heard donated proceeds from the Walk to the York Region Abuse Program. Klaus Wehrenberg, citizen member of the Trails and Active Transportation Committee, provided an information handout to council.
The list of public announcements was overwhelming during the Town of Aurora Council meeting. Cllr Abel congratulated seniors who participated in the York Region 55+ Games, and noted the Central York Girls Hockey Association is celebrating their 20th anniversary today, January 22, 2013. Cllr Humfryes announced CHAT’s Walk which will happen on January 26, 2013, and invited everyone to attend Casino Night on February 2nd, 2013 and Mardi Gras 2013 on February 9th, 2013. Both events are raising funds for Southlake Hospital Children’s Paediatrics Oncology Unit. Cllr Gaertner noted that all members of Council are invited to York Region Abuse Fundraiser. Cllr Pirri noted that the Queen’s York Rangers will be holding a breakfast, the first of three events, on March 6, 2013. Mayor Dawe had a long list himself, thanking Cllr Abel and Cllr Humfryes for participating in Operation Red Nose last year; and for Cllr Abel helping out with the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Drive. Mayor Dawe noted that Flo Murray (Florance Edith Murray), an active long-time resident and ‘Aurora’s energizer bunny’, suddenly passed away at the age of 94 on Monday January 21st, 2013 and she will be missed. The Mayor’s Levee will kick off the Sesquicentennial celebrations on February 3rd, 2013 at the Town Park, this will be the same day when in 1863 the Town of Aurora was incorporated.
After all the past negative news revolving around the August long weekend music festival, we finally have activity on the table again. Probably not equivalent to the Aurora Jazz+ Festival, however a new proposal sounds quite sophisticated, strategic and youth engaging. Lucid Community Development Group with Farley Flex (Canadian Idol Judge) and Miles Faber (So You Think You Can Dance Canada) presented to Town of Aurora Council an encouraging idea for a performing arts festival to be held August 3rd, 4th, 2013 or the weekend before. As presented, it is a community inclusive model and encourages our youth to get involved and participate in different areas of the festival production. Interesting items that came up during the discussion – fencing continues to be uncertain and the Town will not be asked to pay a penny, at least not in this first year.
Tyler Barker, resident of the Town of Aurora, presented an intriguing low cost and no cost to businesses community portable ramp project to improve accessibility to local businesses. The One Step ramp system is a design by Luke Anderson (StopGap), a structural engineer and paraplegic from Stouffville, Ontario. The ramp will be manufactured by local hardware stores in the Town of Aurora under guidance and support from Tyler Barker. The project encourages community involvement and will provide great educational volunteer opportunities especially for our youth. It was also noted that the portable ramp is easy to store (recommended suggestion due to theft) and can be available upon request to those who endure physical challenges accessing local businesses. Tyler Barker asked for the Town of Aurora Council support on the motion moved by Cllr Abel encouraging partnerships and grants to support the project.
Another long discussion around the table was the Cultural Services Agreement, this time a positive one. The New Agreement for the Provision of Cultural Services at the Aurora Cultural Centre was unanimously supported. The current Aurora Cultural Centre Board of Directors President Frank Pulumbarit stated that this time they are requesting less grant money and he read a letter of support from the Aurora Cultural Centre Board of Directors. Every Councillor around the table had comments – many good comments. A rather intriguing perspective was delivered by Cllr Abel (to follow). Cllr Pirri challenged Cllr Gaertner to elaborate more on her comment that this Council originally handled the issue with a level of disrespect. Mayor Dawe emphasized that the issue was always with the agreement and not the people and members of Aurora Cultural Centre. He further noted that the Town’s responsibility was to ensure that the agreement provided a proper level of accountability. After all, this agreement was the most controversial and dynamic activity in Aurora’s arts and culture community in 2011-2012. It sounds hopeful that 2013 will be a turning point for Aurora Cultural Centre.
Cllr Gaertner expressed a few comments regarding the Aurora Heritage Authority (an intiative by Aurora resident Christopher Watts), she continues to be disappointed that we lost a wonderful Aurora Jazz+ Festival, and was curious to know where are the worms that apparently are part of the vermicomposting bin implementation at the Town Hall. The Mayor and all Councillors decided to be a good neighbour and support King Township who asked to amend the existing Aeronautics Act and the Regulation of the Construction of new or expanded aerodromes.
Furthermore, at the Town of Aurora Council meeting, two new motions by Mayor Dawe were tabled. The first being an initiative to study if the Town of Aurora is providing the right level of service to Aurora residents. The second being development of a Town Policy that addresses the Management of 3rd Party Events.
An update was provided on the proposed new tennis facility at Fleury Park. Unfortunately the project would not qualify for a Legacy Grant since it was not considered to be specific to the Sesquicentennial celebrations and would not likely meet the timeline requirements of being submitted by February 3rd, 2013 and completed by December 31st, 2013.
Although this meeting was a couple of hours shorter than most meetings last year, we feel that it was quite productive – excellent start for 2013 Town of Aurora Council.
As we say, it is impossible for us at the community FOCUS to cover every detail of each Town of Aurora Council meeting. Everyone has their own interpretation and we have ours. Reading Town of Aurora Council meeting agendas, minutes, attending or watching the Town of Aurora council meetings, and following local newspapers are all ways for you to stay informed and engaged in our community.
Anna Lozyk Romeo
REFERENCES & CREDITS
 Town of Aurora Council Meeting, Council Character Illustrations by Jessica Georgiou, Aurora, Ontario, October, 2012.