(As published in the November 2015 edition of snapd Aurora)

With the winter weather approaching, we look forward to the most festive time of year! Don’t miss Aurora’s Santa Under the Stars parade on Saturday, November 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The evening parade is the largest holiday parade in York Region and one of the most entertaining! Participants will get a chance to see decorative floats, live entertainment and professional marching bands. For up-to-date event information, please visit www.aurora.ca/santaparade

Thank you to the residents and visitors who participated in this year’s Haunted Forest adventure at Sheppard’s Bush! This is one of our most popular events, ranked as one of Ontario’s top 100 events by Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO). This event would not be possible without our dedicated community groups and students who volunteered over 700 hours to make this event possible. It is great to see what spectacular things we can do working together!

Also, thank you to the residents who provided input on their preferences for the Town’s 2016 Budget through our Citizen Budget survey contest. The Citizen Budget initiative is an online survey designed for residents to provide feedback on service levels as part of the annual budget process. The survey launched in the beginning of September and ran until the end of October. I am pleased that we were able to incorporate the needs and wants of our residents in this budget analysis. Feedback from our residents is important and an effective way to facilitate positive change.

I would also like to give you an update on the Mayor’s Task Force on Physical Activity and my goal of making Aurora, Canada’s most active community! The purpose of this task force is to implement lifestyle changes that will have a positive and lasting impact on our community. With an increase in the use of electronic devices and a decrease in physical activity, I would like to ensure that our community is committed to reversing this trend and maintaining healthy, active lifestyles.

The task force held its first meeting in early September and we discussed a key project called CS4L (Canadian Sport for Life). This project is overseen by a working group of key community stakeholders under the initiative Activate Aurora. The group is committed to making Aurora the most active community by 2020. The Parks & Recreation department is also well underway with revisions to the Sports Plan and Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The input received from key stakeholders will be assessed and included within the plans to ensure future recreation services and facilities are used optimally.

For more details about events and activities to stay busy this winter, please visit our Special Events Calendar at www.aurora.ca/specialevents or the Community Events Calendar at www.aurora.ca/events. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and get involved in our community!  The next event to look forward in December is Family First Night on Thursday, December 31. Ring in the New Year and celebrate with family, friends and neighbours!