(As published in the Aurora Banner, January 26, 2017)

Happy New Year Aurora! I wish you and your families a wonderful 2017.
 
Thanks to the generosity of our community, the 2016 Salvation Army Kettle Drive in Aurora was a tremendous success with approximately $67,500 raised in support of the Salvation Army’s community programs and services. It’s great to see the positive difference we can make in our community when we work together.
 
With the start of a new year, The Town has reaffirmed its commitment to becoming Canada’s Most Active Community. Activate Aurora is an Ontario Trillium Foundation funded program designed to help move the Town’s goal forward. This group, created by Sport Aurora with guidance from the Canadian Sport for Life Society and endorsed by my task force on physical activity, involves local school boards, the Town, York Region Public Health, Seneca College, Sport Aurora, Southlake Hospital and the Aurora Seniors Association. Resident participation is the key to making this program a success. Visit the Activate Aurora website and sign-up to track your fitness activity. Aurora’s activity numbers will be added to the overall contributions for the community.
 
The Healthy Kids Community Challenge (HKCC) is boosting its health education efforts starting in April! This province-wide initiative is implemented in 45 communities within Ontario. The challenge helps develop healthy policies and programs in the local community. HKCC is run out of the Windfall Ecology Centre with support from the Town. Currently, planning is underway for the next theme. The theme is called Choose to Boost Veggies and Fruit. It will include wellness events, nature play pop-ups, healthy cooking programs and fun competitions. Visit windfallcentre.ca/healthykids for updates.
 
I hope that members of our business community and local residents will join me at the Annual Mayor’s Luncheon on Wednesday, February 15 at 12 p.m. at Oakview Terrace. At this annual event, I will be discussing topics that affect our local business community. To purchase tickets, please visit aurorachamber.on.ca.
 
I’m pleased to announce that Aurora, together with The Regional Municipality of York and Textile Waste Diversion (TWD), will continue its innovative project to divert textiles from landfill by expanding door-to-door textile collection to all single-family households in Aurora. Effective Monday, February 6, Aurora residents can place gently worn or used clothing, textiles or household goods at the curb. Please ensure a ‘T’ is clearly marked on the bag. For textile collection information, please visit aurora.ca/clothingrecycling.
 
Don’t miss the Town’s upcoming local events. Visit Aurora’s Borealis at Town Park everyday until Family Day on February 20 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Enjoy beautifully lit trees and a festive atmosphere. Join family and friends at Aurora’s Arctic Adventure on February 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Aurora Town Park. There will be family activities including outdoor winter games, live entertainment and outdoor skating.
 
Stay connected with us for updates via the Town’s social media feeds, website, Notice Board or the Aurora Matters newsletter. For more information on Aurora, please visit aurora.ca.