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Clock Tower: Plan for Town Parking under Market Square abandoned

Plans to extend the proposed underground garage at the Clock Tower to allow for municipal parking were explored by councillors last year before being abandoned.

The Forrest proposal, currently before Newmarket Council, is for 199 private underground spaces for residents of the development.

On 3 June last year, Chris Bobyk, Forrest’s Director of Development, asks Tina Bates, Assistant to the Office of the Mayor, to set up a meeting with the Mayor to discuss the possibility of constructing

“additional municipal parking in parallel with the proposed redevelopment of the Clock Tower. I understand from Joe (Sponga) that while this opportunity was turned down by past Council the current Council has different views.”

On 22 June 2015, Bobyk pressed Bob Shelton to get the land exchange item to the Committee of the Whole on 31 August 2015 and “the decision on below being incorporated or not”. (This refers to the option of expanding the parking garage under Market Square.) Bobyk said he was going to talk to councillors about this option and that he would report back to Shelton and to the Mayor on what individual councillors think about it all.

A few days later, on 26 June 2015, Bob Shelton told Bobyk the Town’s senior staff had looked at the option of expanding the below grade parking under Market Square and they were interested in exploring it further.

On 26 June 2015, Bobyk told Shelton that he had “dialogue with all the Council members but two on the below grade parking opportunity at Market Square”. These were part of the “follow up meetings with councillors” that had been suggested by the Mayor.

On 6 July 2015, Bobyk told Shelton:

“I need to start organizing approach/presentation on the land exchange – (I need to) know whether or not the municipal option (of expanding the below grade parking under Market Square) is to be conveyed (and if it) is needed at this time.”

“It appears you want to review it – but whether it is to be presented to the Committee of the Whole for a second time is the question.”

“Joe Sponga called me this morning and is saying it is desired and needed. He is also saying the BIA is of the view that it is needed to accommodate new uses that have come downtown (now) and (in the) future. Nonetheless we need to get the land exchange before (the) Committee of the Whole without delay and carry forward with the Zoning By-law Amendment application. The boundaries for the land exchange vary dependent on whether the municipal parking option is included or not. Need your direction soon.”

On 24 November 2015 Bob Forrest was again in touch with the Mayor. Forrest said he would be meeting Rick Nethery “to discuss how we can firm up the land swap issue” but would like to meet the Mayor afterwards. Forrest also wanted to

“determine if there is a strong appetite for funding and building an underground parking garage for the Town beneath Market Square”.

He was putting this on the agenda “because it has again been raised”.

Key parts of the material I have now seen are redacted. Nevertheless it is clear to me the underground garage for the Town is as dead as the proverbial parrot. We do not have all the details because the Town insists they are confidential.

Meanwhile, the Town’s Engineering Services people are sticking with the line that Forrest’s proposed development requires 290 parking spaces.

Forrest says 199 will do nicely.

More to follow….

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