If elected Mayor, this is what the Town of Aurora can expect from my administration:
- First, we will establish a $15 million Revolving Investment Fund. This financial vehicle is a well-proven method of gap financing primarily used for development and expansion of small businesses. It is a self-replenishing pool of money, utilizing interest and principal payments on old loans to issue new ones.
- With this fund, the Town will provide loans for the procurement of properties, partner in the development of those properties, and sell them at a profit to create local businesses and jobs. The loan would be at a favourable interest rate for a short term. The payments from the loans would then be deposited back to the revolving investment fund with interest while the profits would go to our reserves. This strategy has already achieved great success with the Town’s Leslie Street employment lands and the LED Lighting Conversion Project. The Revolving Investment Fund would be administered by the Economic Development Board.
- Edmonton and many other municipalities have successfully employed this economic strategy. Each year more and more municipalities are adopting a Revolving Investment Fund. It’s innovative and financially sound. There’s no reason why we can’t do it here again…and again! In fact, Aurora is in a better position to establish a Revolving Investment Fund than most other municipalities. In short, we will invest in Aurora and we will get the most mileage out of the dollars we spend.
- As an immediate example, we will purchase the Sports Dome with the Revolving Investment Fund and pay back the loan with the favourable permit fees. Once paid, we will own this asset and we will be better able to support our local soccer clubs. If we provide arenas for hockey, then we can certainly provide a dome for our soccer community.
- We will enhance the GO-Transit shuttle service. Gone are the days of large empty buses wandering about the Town. Right size the fleet with smaller buses, utilize GPS / uber technology to provide efficient public transit for Aurora GO Train Commuters. It’s time for a voice at the regional Council.
- We will provide additional facility space for the burgeoning senior programs, provide an addition to the Aurora Seniors Centre for storage, and better transit for those with mobility issues.
- We will make sure that the windrows left by snow ploughs are removed so people don’t get trapped in their driveways. This will be a paid-for service for those who wish to use it, and for those who can’t afford it, the service will be subsidized. There will be no cost to the taxpayers
- We will improve our children’s ability to thrive in global technology – we will do this by partnering with schoolboards for after school programs and cultural hubs.
- We will continue to support the BIA, the Aurora Chamber and revitalize downtown as a tourist destination. This will include redeveloping the Howard Johnsons building, which is an eyesore and the signature of Geoff Dawe’s inability to address obvious critical issues.
- We will get out of the contract with Niagara College, which will cost us only a fraction of the countless of millions of dollars we will save.
- We will build a Civic Square at Library Square for $5 million. Like Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, this will be a great gathering space for special events, and we will double the current parking plan capacity recently approved by Council.
- We will renovate the Armoury at the original cost of $2.3 million and turn it into a great Cultural Community Hub that will attract tourists and generate ongoing revenues via concerts, theatrical productions, weddings, permits, et. cetera.
- We will develop the Hallmark Lands into a medical campus or high tech centre that will generate 100s of good-paying jobs and tax revenue for Aurora. This is exactly what the Economic Development Strategic Action Plan calls for.
- We will develop a multi-purpose, barrier free, accessible recreational centre on the Bloomington lands. Soccer and baseball tournaments can be held in the downtown core by re-purposing the under-utilized fields at Fleury and Machel Parks.
- We will hold a series of cultural and ethnic celebrations and more festivals to draw tourism.
- We will employ an affordable housing strategy to increase rental availability in Aurora so that we are able to find housing for our children and mitigate the migration of our children to the city in search of housing and job opportunities. We can create jobs for them, but we must provide them with an affordable place to live as they embark on their careers.
If I am elected Mayor of Aurora, the days of secret negotiations and backroom deals will be over. Openness and transparency will return to Council. We will do our due diligence, evaluate each business case and consider all reasonable options. We will restore fiscal responsibility and trust in our local government. And we will always be guided by one overriding principle: to improve the lives of the people of Aurora.