New charges on developers proposed by York Region could affect the economic viability of Slessor Square says Bob Forrest, one of the key people behind the controversial project.

Press reports quote from a letter sent by Forrest to the Region in which he complains about current development charges which are “staggering”.

He goes on to say he will be having a discussion with associates about the economic viability of Slessor Square.

Seems to me that taxpayers shouldn’t carry costs that properly belong with developers.

That’s what these development charges are all about.

The Region will decide on the level of any new charges in May.

I read that John Taylor’s motion on height restrictions went through the Committee of the Whole at its meeting on 27 February.

However, I note there was no reference to his proposed 15 storey height cap that caused such apoplexy in some quarters. Maddie Di Muccio, for one, slammed the very idea.

At least we know where she stands.

But what surprised me more than anything else was the absence of any debate on Taylor’s motion. Here it is:

That Council direct staff to bring a report to Committee of the Whole in 45 days outlining the process(es), including public consultation, for which Council could enact a height restriction for multi storey buildings in the Town of Newmarket. Furthermore that Council direct staff to include in the report an analysis of any issues associated with height restrictions policy for consideration by Council.

True, the motion is largely about process but it provided councillors with an opportunity to say something, however tentative or hesitant, about the kind of development they want to see In Newmarket.

Instead.

Just silence.

I believe councillors should listen to what people in their Wards are saying.  That’s the right thing to do.

But they should also give a lead. That means speaking out and giving their point of view, qualified if needs be, on the big issues facing the Town.

Councillors are uniquely placed to shape public opinion.

They should be leading the public debate rather than standing in the shadows.

The twin towers at Slessor Square will dominate the skyline in Newmarket. No doubt about it.

But their overbearing bulk and mass will be more intrusive in some places rather than others.

After some prompting by the Town, the developers have agreed to produce a “viewshed analysis” giving a view of the twin towers from selected vantage points around town.

But who selects the vantage points?

These views can dramatically influence our impression of the street scene.

The Newmarket Visualisation Study, published in 2010, (see Newmarket documents section) takes eight locations around town and paints a picture of what they will look like as change occurs (emerging street scene) and at the end of the day (full build out).

In Section 3.3.1 we are given an impression of what the view from Davis Drive looking towards Yonge Street will look like at full build out.

I don’t see the 20 storey condominium at the junction of Davis and George that was given approval by the Council in 2009.

Is it there somewhere? Perhaps lurking behind a tree?

I’d like to see the Visualisation Study updated to take account of planning approvals already granted and those – like Slessor Square – that are in the pipeline.

At the moment, it suggests a future Newmarket with a variety of interesting medium rise buildings.

Not too many looming towers, if any.

It gives a false impression of what is on the horizon.

Back to the drawing board!

Regardless of how the developer refers to or advertises that the Slessor Site will be 23 and 26 storeys. 

HERE ARE THE FACTS! 

As of March 1st, it has been confirmed with the Town of Newmarket Planning Department that the application is unchanged from 29 storeys!

So why are they insisting that the maximum height is 26 storeys including the commercial podiums when their application hasn't changed?

29 Storeys!  That is 3 times less a floor of the condos at Yonge and William Roe.  They are 10 storeys!  Three times the height!  This blogger can't even imagine it.  We are not the city, but the Town of Newmarket.

The Official Plan that has been mandated, is to increase population for Newmarket, by 13,000 by the year 2031.  But it's a big corridor. If you look at the official map for intensification it streaches from Green Lane to Mulock along Yonge, and From Yonge to almost Leslie along Davis.

  We already have approved a 20 and 12 storey at Yonge and George.  There are sites at Yonge and Eagle, Yonge and Millard (17 storeys applied for, not sure where that stands at this point).  This blogger has also heard, but cannot confirm as fact, that the Liquor Store and Shoppers Drug Mart at Yonge and Davis will be gone, and replaced with Condos, maybe they'll be commercial on the bottom.  The Pickle Barrel is only a 10 year build and will be replaced with Condos, maybe they'll be on the bottom .  The corner of Yonge and Davis that has Chapters etc, will be replaced with condos with the retail as the base.  The List goes on.  Who knows whats in the works that we aren't aware of yet!

So if we have to reach an additional population of 13,000 by 2031, with a huge corridor to intensify why would we consider putting 1600 people on one site??  This blogger believes that the density should be spread out. 

That being said, how will the traffic be handled?  That's for another blog.  But I sure won't be taking transit to lug my multiple bags of groceries home.  Will you?

Every time you leave Upper Canada Mall and head north or south onto Yonge Street, take a look at the Slessor site directly on the other side of Yonge and look at the sky beyond that site, take a good look, because that view may soon be gone forever.

Imagine having to look at the colossal structure everyday as you walk, stroll, run, bike or drive past these buildings.

Every time you leave Upper Canada Mall and head north or south onto Yonge Street, take notice of the traffic.  If you think it’s busy now…. Just imagine once Slessor Square is complete that approximately an additional 1200 vehicles or more may be added to the mix. 

Imagine it taking two or three times as long to drive from Yonge and Davis to Yonge and Greenlane.

Every time you leave Upper Canada Mall and head north or south onto Yonge Street ….

Imagine living on the other side of those towers and not having the same amount of sunshine in your yard. Imagine having to leave your own yard to find sunshine.

Soon, unless we are heard we won’t have to imagine it anymore, we’ll just have to live with it. 

IMAGINE IF YOU ALL VOICED YOUR CONCERNS……IT'S NOT TOO LATE.

 

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