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Glenway: what we still don't know (which is a lot)

The Glenway “Lessons Learned” meeting is just over three weeks away (23 June 2015) and I still don’t know where it will be held, who will be invited or what the format will be. Is it going to be publicized? Will questions be solicited in advance? Will the meeting be live streamed? Will it be recorded?

At a meeting of the Committee of the Whole on 2 February 2015, the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer, Bob Shelton, suggested that it would be best if the meeting were held in a “controlled environment”. It seems to me the arrangements, so far, would not disgrace Kim Jung Un.

The great danger is that the meeting on 23 June will be used to establish the “facts” rather than as an opportunity for consideration, reflection, assessment and, ultimately, judgement.

The Town – on the recommendation of senior staff – has appointed a facilitator, Glenn Pothier, to guide discussion. I offered to meet him beforehand if he felt that would be helpful and I have half an hour face-to-face on 3 June 2015. His job is to keep things on track and to stop people skillfully avoiding questions and wasting time by ski-ing off-piste.

It has already taken far too long to get to this position to tolerate further obfuscation. With the passage of time, memories fade. And, as key staff members leave the Town’s employment and move on, its institutional memory dulls.

Over three months ago, I listed some of the questions that are, in my mind, still crying out to be answered.

Again, months ago, the Glenway Preservation Association formally submitted to the Town its own list of questions. Many were addressed head on. But others were not. For example:

Why were no Town staff called as witnesses to support the Town’s position at the OMB Hearing?

Answer: To be addressed at the Lessons Learned meeting.

(You can see the GPA’s questions and the Town’s answers by opening “Documents” in the panel top left and navigating to “Glenway”.)

It would be truly scandalous if we had to wait until 23 June to get answers to the raft of questions that remain outstanding. I hope Bob Shelton will act on his first instinct, and invite members of the public to put their questions to the Town beforehand.

The Glenway saga is, of course, full of bitter ironies.

The Town is now about to consult on a new parkland policy. A report to the Committee of the Whole on 25 May 2015 indicates that taxes may have to go up to pay for land acquisition.

We learn that Newmarket will be short of 45 hectares of open space to provide the green lungs its growing population will need over coming years.

Despite this, in the bizarre world of urban planning, the Glenway developer, Marianneville, successfully persuaded the OMB to re-zone 36.3 hectares of open space to residential in-fill - a stone’s throw from Yonge and Davis which is now slated for the highest density development in the whole of Newmarket.

Go figure.

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Update on 1 June 2015: The Council on-line calendar shows the Glenway Lessons Learned meeting is scheduled for 7pm on Tuesday 23 June 2015 in the Council Chamber, 395 Mulock Drive, Newmarket.

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