In the Huffington Post I stumble across a curious piece from a think tank based in Calgary.

One of their policy gurus, Steve Lafleur, wants to see the repeal of the Places to Grow Act - which will allow a rash of developments all over the place.

He is against “prescriptive land use planning”.  He would unleash a free for all where, presumably, even the Green Belt would not be sacrosanct.

Lafleur pokes us in the ribs by saying Newmarket is full of NIMBY types.

In the UK there are two much lampooned groups. The NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) and the NOTE (not-over-there-either).

The Shrink Slessor Square group (aka the Shrinkers) do not fall into either category.

It is perfectly possible to accommodate the projected growth in Newmarket without building giant towers that loom over surrounding neighbourhoods.

We are not against development. 

So long as it doesn't turn Newmarket into a pastiche of, hmm, Calgary. 

Here is a date for your diary.

We are looking forward to the meeting on 27 March from 7-9pm at the Maple Leaf Public School when Ward 4 councillor Tom Hempen will be giving an update on the "Davis Drive expansion ie traffic, construction, public transit etc".

He will be joined on the platform by Slessor Square's Brad Rogers, who is billed, more neutrally, as a "municipal planner".

Roger's will be talking on the theme: "What's the impact of the Davis Drive expansion on my property values?"

Prepare to be amazed by what you hear!

The excellent Ward 1 Councillor, Tom Vegh, has voiced serious concerns about the proposed Slessor Towers development.

Writing in his website, he lists four specific objections to “this high density development”: 

  • Lack of green space for residents.
  • Traffic impact on Yonge Street.
  • Height of towers and the shadow impact it will have on existing residential.
  • The skyline transformation inherent in the height.

Tom also gives a welcome plug to shrinkslessorsquare.ca advising his readers to visit us.

That’s what we like to hear!

I write to Ted McFadden, the editor of the Era Banner, asking for a correction to the 23 February editorial which gets projected future growth figures for Newmarket completely wrong.

This is important because the Era Banner is pushing for high rise development - the sky is the limit. The paper is backing Slessor Square – with no qualifications. What the paper says is hugely influential.

This is what Ted McFadden tells me today.

There must have been a last-minute change to the editorial that indicated there was a growth projection of 97,000 rather than a growth projection to 97,000. When I was editing Dr. Bahlieda's letter, I must have referred to an earlier version of the editorial that didn't contain the error, so I removed that part from the letter.

The online version has now been corrected and a correction will appear in Thursday's paper.

Thank you for bringing the error to my attention.

The Era Banner is a champion for the proposed mega development at Slessor Square in Newmarket.

Fair enough.

It is a free country so they can say what they like.

But they shouldn’t stop other people from expressing an honest point of view.

This week the Era banner published a letter from Shrink Slessor Square supporter, Bob Bahielda, but, crucially, they removed his criticism of their own editorial line on the issue.

Bob says: “They removed the first sentence and made other modifications to the print letter. The edits are indefensible because they criticize the editorial directly.”

Bob’s Suggested headline

Why Let the Truth Get in the Way of a Good Editorial?  

morphed into

We don’t need towers to accomplish growth

So, here is Bob’s letter with the bits cut out by the Era Banner editor struck through.

Re: Editorial: Growing Up a Little Bit Not Answer for Town. February 23, 2012

I would like to point out the gross error made by The Era Editorial. It quotes the town's growth projection as being 97,000 residents by 2031. To the best of my knowledge the actual figure is approximately 13,000. The provincial intensification corridor along Yonge Street is expected to produce approximately 9,000 of this increase.

What your editorial also fails to mention in supporting growth and opposing a cap on height is that the town of Newmarket's planning department acknowledges that the provincial growth targets of at least 200 persons/jobs/hectare can be  easily achieved by the town's current plan that targets between 200 and 250 persons/jobs/hectare.

The Slessor Square development is more than 800 persons/jobs/hectare and is completely unnecessary at its proposed height.

The already approved 20 storey condominium tower at Davis and George Street has even greater density.  

We do not need massive towers to accomplish the growth that the province, the Region of York and the Town of Newmarket want.

In the process we can also think carefully about creating people and family friendly streetscapes the revitalize our core and attract people to this area instead of simply adding buildings and traffic.

The cap of 15 stories suggested by Regional Councillor Taylor is both reasonable and sustainable.

It is a legitimate compromise position that still allows intensification but preserves the quality of life the residents demand. 

No one wants out of control development with few restrictions.

Developers come and go but the residents of Newmarket will live with the consequences of these decisions long after they are gone.

We have no obligation to pander to their demands. At the very least let's make the decisions based on the correct infomation.

Dr. R. Bahlieda M.A., Ed. D.

 

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