Council Update – November 22, 2016

At our Council meeting this past Tuesday, I had 2 motions before Council for consideration, both of which were passed unanimously.  The first motion spoke to the need to create designated safe spaces for non-retail transactions to occur. In today’s age, more and more people are buying and selling online and as a consequence meet with complete strangers to make those transactions.  Other municipalities have taken the lead in addressing this public safety issue.  I felt that after seeing Peel region implement a safe-exchange zone for online transactions and the City of Toronto put forth a motion on the same matter last month, that we in Aurora and York Region should do the same; we should ask YRP to look at how safe spaces could be provided for residents to meet with strangers to buy/sell and feel safe about it.  To me, it’s a common-sense solution to a real problem.  I was glad to see that Council supported this initiative unanimously. And I am looking forward to YRP developing and implementing this, not only in Aurora but, right across the region.

My other motion was a joint motion, put forward with Councillor Humfryes. We have put forward a motion to develop a Cycling Master Plan.  Councillor Humfryes and I believe that we need to create interconnected cycling lanes throughout the Town that will allow for residents to cycle safely. As we look to create more pedestrian friendly areas, we also need to look at making areas more cycling friendly.   Many residents use their bike to commute to work – either part of the way, say to the GO station or all the way to workplaces around York Region.  They need a safer way to do that. Other municipalities in the region have Cycling plans to some degree or another; thus, our strategy, once developed, should look to integrating with existing cycling master plans to provide seamless cycling routes across the region.  We will need to co-ordinate our strategy with existing cycling plans so that any bike lanes created in Aurora don’t just stop at our Town borders. This motion also passed unanimously and the trails and active transportation committee will be working on developing a Cycling Master Plan as well as a broader strategy for how we can make Aurora more cycling-friendly.

And finally, I would like to update everyone on Council discussions to support a High School on Bayview Ave in the east side of Town. While it did take some time to get to a decision, I am pleased to say that, during our Council meeting, Council supported the motion for the development of a North-East Aurora High School and the specific clause of

“Now Therefore Let It Be Hereby Resolved That Council supports the Official Plan and the construction of the planned YRDSB Secondary School, on the property purchased by the YRDSB, to serve the needs of the catchment area

As I said at the Council table, I would like to move forward and advocate on behalf of our residents. With that said, Council will continue to work with the School Board and our trustee to see what can be done to make this a reality.

It has also been mentioned that we are working on finding a date that the school trustee can appear before Council and the residents, in a public forum, so that we can have a meaningful discussion about this issue. The Trustee Peter Adams has corresponded with the Town and indicated a willingness to meet in a public forum to discuss this. While it is unfortunate that the meeting could not occur within the 30 day limit that Council had set, we all understand that scheduling can be difficult and appreciate the efforts of the Trustee to find an alternate time in his schedule. I am looking forward to that meeting and I hope it will happen sooner rather then later.

There will be more to come on all 3 of these issues and as always I will keep you all informed. Till the next Council update, let’s keep getting things done!!

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