Town supports local rugby club, partners in development of new artificial turf field

Aurora Town Council endorsed recommendations from staff for the Town to support the Aurora Barbarians Rugby Football Club in the development of a new artificial turf sports field and club house at Sheppard’s Bush. The Barbarians will fund the full cost of their new clubhouse, which will include washrooms and dressing rooms that will be available to other permit holders. The Barbarians will also contribute $1 million to the cost of the new artificial turf field, with the remainder paid for by the Town. The total cost of the new artificial turf field is estimated to be between $2.5 and $2.8 million, and the Town’s contribution will be included as a capital project in the 2024 draft budget.

The Aurora Barbarians have offered grass roots and elite level rugby programming to the Aurora community for over 20 years and currently have about 540 members. The Barbarians currently conduct all their training in Aurora but have been playing games out of Fletcher’s Fields in Markham. With the sale of the of the Markham property in 2021, the Barbarians have been looking for a new home for their games and clubhouse.

Modernized Property Standards By-Law and Vital Services By-Law

Aurora Town Council endorsed the modernization of the Town’s Property Standards By-Law and the introduction of a new Vital Services By-Law, which will be enacted at a future Council meeting.

The proposed modernized Property Standards By-Law includes several new provisions, designed to maintain the health, safety and well-being of residents. These include:

  • New regulations to address light pollution which aim to reduce the impact of outdoor lighting on the environment and neighbouring properties.
  • New lighting and signage provisions for multi-residential properties relating to minimum lighting and signage in common area hallways, underground parking garages, and utility rooms.
  • Provisions relating to the maintenance of retaining walls that do not meet the definition of a designated structure under the Building Code.
  • New provisions addressing the placement and maintenance of clothing drop boxes, to mitigate illegal dumping concerns.

The proposed Vital Services By-law enhances the requirements landlords need to meet by ensuring the following:

  • That a temperature of twenty degrees Celsius is maintained throughout rented residential dwellings between September 15 and June 1.
  • That temporary sources of heat, such as space heaters, are not used as a permanent source of heat.
  • That an adequate supply of hot water and potable water is available to tenants in residential dwellings.
  • That air conditioning, if required to be provided pursuant to a tenancy agreement, is working between June 1 and September 14.
  • That vital services are not disconnected by landlords.
Motion on feasibility of new sports dome

Aurora Town Council endorsed a motion put forward by Councillors Ron Weese and Rachel Gilliland that directs Town staff to report back on the feasibility of developing a multi-gymnasium, air-supported structure (sports dome) that will provide sufficient additional indoor gymnasium space to meet the present and future needs of the community.

The motion notes that there is a growing need for more full-sized gymnasium space in Aurora as the Town continues to grow, and that local sport organizations have increasingly been required to use training facilities outside of town to operate programs for Aurora residents because of the lack of indoor gymnasium space. It also notes that while existing Town-owned gymnasium time is well utilized, there is little time available for “community use.” Moreover, a new multi-use gym facility offering multiple courts, the motion says, would also attract more high-level tournaments to Aurora and benefit the local economy, a key pillar of the Town’s Sport Tourism Strategy.

The motion asks staff to explore options for location, funding and operation of the sports dome, including potential public-private partnerships, and to include funds for the project in 2024 and 2025 as part of the 2024 draft budget and 10-Year Capital Plan.

Staff directed to identify potential park site in Yonge Street South area

Aurora Town Council adopted a motion put forward by Councillor Michael Thompson for Town staff to identify properties in the Yonge Street South area for a new public park.

The motion notes that parks are essential public infrastructure and are vital to improving and sustaining the health of individuals, the community, environment, and economy, noting that the Town’s 2023 Draft Official Plan identifies the establishment of a diverse parkland and recreation area system as a fundamental principle of the plan.

The motion also notes that the Yonge Street South area is underserviced by both parklands and playgrounds, and in the last 20 years, 550 homes have been built in the area.

Motion on eliminating minimum parking requirements within GO Major Transit Station Area

Aurora Town Council also endorsed a motion put forward by Mayor Tom Mrakas that directs staff to evaluate options for eliminating minimum parking requirements for new residential developments within the Town’s GO Major Transit Station Area and that any new residential developments within the area are required to have auto share and bike share programs.

The motion notes that the cost of constructing below-grade parking in residential condominiums and apartments has increased significantly over the past decade, adding that Ontario’s Housing Affordability Task Force has also recommended removing minimum parking requirements as they increase the cost of housing and are increasingly less relevant with public transit and ride share services. The motion also says that the construction of underground parking adds more time to the already lengthy and complex process of constructing higher density buildings, and that eliminating parking requirements will improve the livability of the Town overall by creating healthier communities, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating space to improve conditions for transit, walking and cycling.