Monday, December 11, 2023

Youth Centre at Aurora Family Leisure Complex, Importance & Urgency

The Youth Centre project that involved renovating Aurora Family Leisure Complex on Industrial Parkway was clearly an important decision at the same time it became an urgent matter. Last term, creating the Youth Centre definitely became an urgent matter just because there were plans for youth for over 10 years but no real action was taken. Placing too much focus on urgency can potentially affect project planning and create a snowball effect down the road. Unfortunately, the renovation of the Aurora Family Leisure Complex is an example. I am not saying that urgency was a problem here, but the fact that urgency dominated the project seems to have caused some issues.

As Covey writes in First Things Firston page 39: “Clearly, we deal with both factors – urgency and importance – in our lives. But in our day-to-day decision making, one of the factors tends to dominate. The problem comes when we operate primarily from a paradigm of urgency rather than a paradigm of importance. When we operate out of the importance paradigm … as we spend more time in preparation, prevention, planning, and empowerment, we decrease the amount of time we spend putting out fires.

The Director of Parks and Recreation emphasized during the Special Council Meeting on April 14, 2015: “… the focus to the renovations to the Leisure Complex were to accommodate youth. They were not to upgrade or renovate facilities for fitness, squash or the pool. So many of the aspects that you see before you if there was an upgrade or if there was a change, it was done in order to accommodate changes of facilities that were needed in order to ensure that there was an adequate space provided for youth.

… the intent was not to create a bigger better fitness area, or bigger better squash area, or bigger better pool area. Focus of the redesign was to create youth space and address the needs of youth.

“Focus of the redesign was to create youth space and address the needs of youth.”

No doubt that it was important to address the needs of youth in our Town; however, it was just as important to address the impact on the existing fitness community at the Aurora Family Leisure Complex, where the youth space was approved. I cannot find any reference, that such an impact study on the current community was even considered before Council approved the facility, I apologize. Urgency or no urgency, make an impact study part of the checklist. Perhaps this will be a point well taken for the future Town project planners and contracted consultants, we cannot neglect something that already exists. The impact study (including public consultation) should have been recommended to the Council prior to the approval. Let’s make this a standard practice and in the future let’s focus on win-win situations.

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON

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