(As published in the November 28, 2013 edition of the Banner)
I am very pleased to have the opportunity to engage readers of The Banner directly through my new monthly column Aurora Matters. I would like to thank General Manager John Willems and Editor-in-Chief Debra Kelly for extending the invitation to reach out to our residents through these pages.
The genesis of this column came from a discussion I had with John at a recent business breakfast. He mentioned that The Banner was looking to build on its community focus and that this column would help in that effort. As The Banner has been a fixture in Aurora for almost as long as we have been a town, I am very supportive of this move and hope it will be well-received by our residents.
Community engagement on municipal matters is critical to keeping our public informed about programs, services and issues that affect them on a daily basis. Engagement creates a well-versed electorate and provides the foundation necessary to develop tomorrow’s civic leaders. I hope Aurora Matters will serve to expose our residents to the work of the Town and our Council as well as provide insight into the decision-making that we do on behalf of our constituents.Read More»
The Aurora Sports Hall of Fame just announced the award of an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant!
This is a three-year grant which will go a long way to getting them up and running.
I am very pleased that my Mayor’s Charity Golf Classic was able to participate as a charter member of the Cornerstone Committee.
This is a great opportunity for our Town and my heartiest congratulations to the entire Sports Hall of Fame board.
(As published November 27, 2013 in the Auroran)
Mayor hopes for “amicable” agreement on Minto Property
I am pleased to inform our residents that following a decision by Town Council on November 12, the Town intends to pursue our right of first refusal for the option to purchase the Mavrinac property, known as Block 208, from Minto Communities Inc.
In 2002, as part of the initial subdivision development process, this 2.4 hectare (6 acre) property was identified by the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) as a possible location for an elementary school, subject to further determination and analysis by the YCDSB.
In 2007, Minto and the Town executed a subdivision agreement which confirmed that the property could be a potential school location for the YCDSB. Under the terms of the agreement, the Town also received the right to acquire the property for municipal purposes – under the same terms, conditions and asking price as the school board – if the YCDSB did not proceed with plans for a school.Read More»
(As published in the Auroran, November 27, 2013)
It seems that winter is trying to stage a November arrival, after a very mild October. Somehow, being removed – however modestly – from our climatic comfort zone seems rather fitting this time of year, when we reflect back on Remembrance Day to the men and women who sacrificed so much so we could live in a free society.
One cannot imagine the horrors that our countrymen endured in the trenches of the western front in WWI or braving machine gun fire on Juno Beach in WWII. Comprehending the constant threat of attack within a militarized Korean peninsula, in battle-scarred Sarajevo or on the deadly desert terrain of Kandahar, seems impossible. And while this may be difficult to envision, Canadians faced these dire circumstances again and again, to uphold our beliefs of liberty and freedom.
For not having to endure the horrors of war, I am eternally grateful. For the unimaginable toll that was paid for this privilege, I will always remember.Read More»
Today, I had the opoportunity to present a “Key to the City” to Mr. Frank Stronach.
Mr. Stronach was the keynote speaker at the York Region Small Business Enterprise Centre, N6 Conference Series. The theme was Leadership for Innovation
Mr. Stronach’s life story as self-made and tremendously successful entrepreneur is truly inspiring! And, I can scarcely think of a better candidate from whom we can all learn the lessons of innovation and leadership.
As Mayor, one of my great pleasures is to celebrate the successes of many of our residents, businesses and community groups.
Today, it was my honour and privilege to acknowledge the phenomenal contribution that Frank Stronach has made in The Town of Aurora.
He has left an indelible mark on our community, and it is apparent wherever you go.
The Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex, the Magna Centre in Newmarket and the Stronach Cancer Centre at Southlake Hospitals are only a few examples of Frank’s commitment to philanthropy and community enrichment.
We are very excited about The Stronach Group’s proposal for a multi-acre eco-park east of Leslie Street, which will be model of ecological and environmental preservation.
In an era where we have witnessed corporate malfeasance adversely affecting the global economy, Mr. Stonach’s model of equity and fairness in business stand as a shining example of how doing the right thing is not only proper, but profitable!
He truly exemplifies the Canadian success story; a glowing example of how hard work, creativity and commitment can combine into a lifetime of success.
In honour of his success in business and his commitment to sharing his success with the community, I was privileged to present a small token of appreciation for all your work.
And, to offer a most sincere thank you!
An area concern with respect to Lake Simcoe is the addition of PPCPs to the lake water.
PPCPs are Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products, and the concern is that due to regular daily personal use and / or improper disposal, pharmaceutical and personal care products are accumulating in the water supply, which can potentially lead to an increase in the consumption by residents drinking that water.
There has been concern about this for a number of years, and in 2008, newspapers across the United States ran Associated Press (AP) articles on pharmaceuticals in drinking water supplies. The stories prompted a congressional hearing, numerous pharmaceutical-collection events, and at least one state to test its waterways for PPCPs.
The articles also prompted the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD; Cleveland) to screen the Greater Cleveland area’s aquatic environment for PPCPs. NEORSD examined the prevalence of PPCPs in water and wastewater, and evaluated treatment plants’ removal efficiencies of these substances. While not a true risk assessment, NEORSD’s results can be used to put PPCPs into perspective.
The results are published in the May 2011 edition of Water Environment & Technology magazine.
(It should be pointed out that one of the reasons that this is becoming more of an public issue is that the quality of the instrumentation that can actually measure these products in our water supply has improved dramatically.)
But in summary, the article outlined the amount of Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) Effluent which would be required for one dose of the following substances:
- Caffeine: 74,000 L
- Codeine: 580,000 L
- Diazepam (aka Valium): 2,000,000 L
- Ibuprofen: 11,000,000 L
While we all need to be aware of what we “put down the sink”, we can also be confident that our water treatment systems are working effectively.
We should also take it as a personal goal to return any unused pharmaceuticals for proper disposal.
On October 24th, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its ruling on whether or not Councillors could serve on the Board of the Church Street School Cultural Centre, without contravening the provisions of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, RSO. 1990, c.M50 as amended [the “Act”].
(You can read the full text of the ruling here: MCIA Culture Centre Ruling)
This has been an ongoing issue not just in Aurora, but in many jurisdictions in Ontario.
This is a precedent setting case that provides clarification to the Act, so my thanks to my fellow Councillors who shared my vision to seek a pre-judgement on this issue and congratulations and sincere thanks to our Legal Department, specifically Mr. Warren Mar and Mr. Slawomir (Slav) Szlapczynski for their work in putting together and then presenting the argument.
The Court found in favour of the Town and confirmed that councillors may sit on the board of directors without running afoul of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Also of note is the concluding remarks (paragraph 48) by Justice O’Connell that “the hallmarks of good governance by Council are fully manifest in the objectives of the placement of two councillors on the board of directors of the CSSCC.”
In my opinion, this Council has taken another substantial step towards ensuring transparency and accountability for our residents.
In Good Company
(As published in the Aurora, October 23, 1013)
It’s fantastic to have warm weather this late in the season. I know that many of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends, and thoroughly enjoyed winter’s tardiness. Autumn offers time for reflection, and Thanksgiving – that quintessential North American family holiday – provides time to take perspective.
As Canadians and Aurorans, we are truly blessed. For all our foibles, follies and sometimes failings, we enjoy a lifestyle second-to-none. We have world-class universities, colleges and apprenticeship programs that have produced one of the most educated populations in the world. The life expectancy of Canadians is one of the longest, thanks to a health system that provides universal access to innovative, cutting-edge medical care.Read More»
Thursday September 26th turned out to be a perfect day for golf!
And, it wasn’t just the weather. It was the 12th annual Aurora Mayor’s Charity Golf Tournament. We had a full field of golfers, who enjoyed near perfect conditions, camaraderie and hospitality.
Through the generosity of all involved, we were able to donate a total of $37,500 to local organizations.Read More»
(As published in the September 25, 2013 edition of the Auroran)
It is hard to believe that my last column was back in July! Summer always seems to be fleeting and quickly we are back to business in September. With committees and Council back in full-swing, there has been some discussion lately on how our Council makes decisions. For those not familiar with the process, this is a great opportunity to discuss how things get done at Town Hall.
There is a hierarchy to the decision-making process: Consensus, Informed Agreement, Majority and Unilateral.Read More»