COUNCIL UPDATE – OCTOBER 11, 2016

Last night at Council my Notice of Motion to create a “Vacant and Derelict Building Bylaw” was discussed. As I mentioned at the table, I brought this motion forward as I believe that Council and the Municipality need to take action when it comes to vacant buildings in and around Town – especially within the Downtown Core. This type of Bylaw has been utilized by many municipalities in Ontario, the main purpose of which is to, “…clean up empty and poorly maintained buildings so that they will not be a blight to the community.”

It is hoped that by introducing this bylaw, it will help – as it has been noted in other municipalities – “…to reduce the risk of fire and the attendant safety hazards for firefighters and emergency personnel, reduce urban blight, reduce illegal activities and will facilitate neighbourhood renewal and revival.”

In my opinion, this bylaw is long overdue in Aurora. There are a number of vacant buildings in Town that are slowly becoming derelict. The Bylaw will set out the expected standard of maintenance and repair required by any vacant building as well as consequences for owners who fail to keep their property in good standing as defined by the bylaw.

Council passed my motion to create a Vacant and Derelict Building Bylaw unanimously. Staff will bring said bylaw back to Council for consideration and approval at a future meeting. I am looking forward to moving forward with the adoption of this Bylaw as it will allow us as a municipality, as it has in so many other municipalities, to take action on the issue of Vacant and derelict buildings in our Town.

During New business I brought up a issue I had with regards to the minutes of the recent AMO board meetings. I have to say I was very puzzled when reading the summary notes of the board meeting as, while it listed many subjects that were discussed, there was one glaring omission – that of OMB Reform. Not one mention of OMB reform. The reason I found this quite puzzling is because while at the AMO conference in August and listening to the speeches of the candidates to stand for election for the board, each and every one spoke to the importance of OMB reform. Each indicated that, if elected to the Board, they would make sure that as a Board member of AMO that this important issue would be at the forefront.

To address my concern, I asked Council that we ask for a written response from the Executive Director of AMO as to how it is that such an important issue to the municipalities in this province was not one of the “important” agenda items before the Board; especially in light of the fact that the Government has started the review of the OMB and has put out the consultation paper with comments due by December. It represents a missed opportunity to provide valuable input on and shaping of OMB reform on behalf of the municipalities for which they ostensibly advocate.

To me the question is, given that literally over 120 municipalities have endorsed Aurora’s motion advocating OMB reform, how is it that AMO – whose main purpose is to advocate on behalf of municipalities – did not even mention OMB reform, in the September Board meetings? I look forward to receiving a response from the Executive Director.

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