Newmarket councillors are being invited to a special workshop on the future of Davis Drive on 26 October.

A background paper circulated earlier this month asks councillors to

“consider ways in which the Town can encourage the ongoing transformation of this vital economic corridor”.

There will be a discussion led by N. Barry Lyon Consultants. (The Town must spend a small fortune on outside consultants. Like mushrooms, they spring up everywhere.)

With the end of construction in sight, VivaNext says they are now on the home straight.

Back in March this year, councillors asked staff to come up with ideas within 90 days “to advance the redevelopment of Davis Drive properties”.  A leisurely 191 days later councillors receive an Information Report setting out staff thinking, promising more studies, more plans and, inevitably, more analysis.

Back from the dead

Bringing Davis Drive back from the dead is no easy task. It would test the finest brains on the planet. Developers such as Peter Czapka have been on an investment strike for years, unwilling, for their own reasons, to go ahead with developments which have already received planning approval from the Town.

The precise nature of the redevelopment of the GO rail station at the Tannery is still unclear but this will be of huge long term significance. We do not know as yet if there will be grade separation between the railway and Davis Drive but if we are stuck with a level crossing with its quaint bells and flashing lights we can say goodbye to the possibility of all-day two-way GO trains every 15 minutes.

Compensation for lost trade

As the endless construction took its toll, the shutters came down and businesses vanished.

Speaking like the cautious retired bank manager that he is, Mayor Tony Van Bynen told the Era on 29 August 2014 there were initiatives under way to help businesses cope with the construction, pointing to compensation available through York Region.

“It’s a very delicate balance between being mindful of the impact of the construction and due diligence… for the taxpayer. The compensation is judged fairly on the merits of each situation. What’s important is that there’s a fair and equitable process in place to consider the issues and impact.”

Even now it is still not clear to me how many struggling businesses on Davis Drive got any help at all.

Finally, now that the layout of the new Davis Drive is discernable, I hear Cassandras predicting all sorts of terrible calamities. The lanes seem to be narrower. What about the U turns? Are we going to see more accidents as winter takes its hold? How will the snow be cleared? I am pretty sure the traffic engineers will have thought all this through. And people get used to new ways of doing things pretty quickly.

Members of the Newmarket Economic Development Advisory Committee are being invited along as observers but it seems to me the doors should be thrown wide open for all who are interested and have something positive to contribute.

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