Aurora, meet your 2022-26 members of town council
Nov. 18, 2022
An opening call from town crier John Webster, bagpipes, declarations, cheers, and applause were some of the sounds that filled Aurora town hall council chambers at the inaugural meeting on Nov. 15. Residents, friends, and family gathered to show support for Aurora’s 2022-2026 council members:
Mayor Tom Mrakas
Ron Weese, Ward 1
Rachel Gilliland, Ward 2
Wendy Gaertner, Ward 3
Michael Thompson, Ward 4
John Gallo, Ward 5
Harold Kim, Ward 6
After the mayor and councillors took their oath of office, Mrakas shared his inaugural address.
“Tonight, we stand before you as your newly elected council, a group of seven independent representatives, freethinkers, elected with a shared responsibility to do our individual and collective best for the great town of Aurora,” he said.
Highlighting successes such as new businesses, parks and trails, a “downtown core coming back to life,” the near completion of town square, and maintaining the lowest four-year tax rate in 20 years, Mrakas noted that fiscally responsible decisions have ensured the town’s financial health.
“From the over 2,400 businesses and counting, Aurora's economy continues to grow and thrive, and with multiple facilities for sports, entertainment, culture, arts and community programs, we have big city amenities and small-town charm that make us a community of choice for residents, businesses and visitors alike.
“Residents expect us, their elected representatives, to keep this positive momentum going, and you expect us to address the issues that challenge that positive forward momentum from increasing traffic congestion to aging infrastructure, from threats to our green spaces and heritage buildings, to managing growth and development … I will continue to fight for your right to have a say in the matters that have a direct impact on your quality of life. My priorities are your priorities.”
Councillors then took turns expressing gratitude to supporters and to each candidate who ran in the October election.
“I want you to know that the town of Aurora is not forgetting you and is appreciative of all the work that you did,” said Gallo. “I also want to acknowledge all of your family, friends and volunteers, the teams that were put together and all the efforts that you put forward for your campaign. It does not go unnoticed and we all know how hard it is to put forward a campaign.”
Ron Weese, the newest member on council, shared that his father, grandfather and uncle all served as mayors. “I’m thankful for their DNA and for the community spirit that rubbed off on me,” he said.
During his campaign, Weese spent time speaking with residents about concerns. “I heard about train horns, insufficient housing, neighbours, secondary dwellings, downtown revitalization, traffic, pot shops, infill construction, playgrounds and trails, pools, intensification challenges, town square, town park and of course, parking, oh, and taxes … I met residents who donate their time and expertise to volunteer organizations. This human capital is not trivial, and it's part of our caring society in need of support.
“How a society treats its most vulnerable is the measure of its humanity, and I do believe that diversity is strength. I look forward to working with our council to achieve the best possible results for our respective wards and to build a quality community.”