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We need a Heritage By Law now - not when it is too late to matter

I wrote to Tony Van Bynen, the Mayor of Newmarket, on 30 April 2013 urging him to take immediate steps to bring forward a By Law to create a Heritage Conservation District on Main Street South.

Developers, I said, are knocking at the door.

The Mayor asked the Director of Planning and Building Services, Rick Nethery, to reply on his behalf and he tells me that funding would be sought in the 2014 Budget. The Director says:

“While I don’t expect a specific report on the Heritage Conservation District by law, I do expect that its resources will be part of the budget request.”

Mr Nethery tells me in a later exchange that

 “…the by-law adopting a Heritage Conservation District is required to fully implement the District Plan and have it be in full force and effect. While we utilize the (Heritage Conservation District) Plan to assist in evaluating proposals, the passing of an adopting by-law gives the Plan its Official status.”

On Monday 17 June, Newmarket’s Committee of the Whole sat through a formal presentation on the proposed Clock Tower development given by Chris Bobyk (see earlier blog post).

Councillors now know what is in the developer’s mind even though no formal application has been lodged.

The Clock Tower building at 180 Main Street South is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, but the Town’s planners tell us the historic commercial buildings at 184, 188 and 194 Main Street South have not been formally adopted by the Council“and as such have no legal standing under the Ontario Heritage Act”.

Clearly this leaves a gaping hole in the Town’s defences if the Council decides to resist the Clock Tower redevelopment.

The drafting of an implementing by law is the work of moments.

For reasons now obvious to all, it should be done without further delay.

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