Shrink Slessor Square!

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Clock Tower developer needs Town owned land

I marvel at Bob Forrest’s chutzpah.

He wants to construct a huge condo on Main Street South that will permanently disfigure the face of Newmarket’s historic downtown but doesn’t own all the land he needs to pull it off.

On 21 June, his colleague, Chris Bobyk, gave a presentation to councillors outlining the latest “iteration”.

The developer is planning to shave off one storey but intends to enlarge the footprint of the condo to ensure the number of units remains the same.

However, extending the building westwards towards the public library means the development will encroach on Town land. The Forrest development, as currently envisaged, can only proceed if the Town sells land to the developer or comes to some other kind of arrangement.

This rather important fact was omitted from Bobyk’s presentation.

We have long known the developer wanted to excavate under Town owned Market Square for the underground car park but the latest land grab comes as a surprise.

Forrest is already in negotiations with Michael Bryan who owns properties on Main Street that are needed if the monster Clock Tower development is to go ahead.

My spies tell me that Bryan has been offered $1.7m – but only on condition that the developer gets all the necessary approvals from the Town.

No planning application has, as yet, been formally submitted to the Town.  Forrest is getting his ducks lined up in a row first.

Meanwhile, I see that the Town has received a grant of $18,542 from the Province’s Creative Communities Fund “to develop a downtown arts, cultural, heritage and economic development action plan”.

We are not short of plans.

Just a reluctance to implement fully the ones we already have.

The Committee of the Whole meets on 26 August to consider a staff report on the Town’s Heritage Conservation District policy and whether a By Law is needed to give it teeth. 

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