Bob Forrest has until Thursday 5 January 2017 to file an appeal to the OMB against Newmarket Council's decision to refuse his seven storey Clock Tower development on Main Street.

On 5 December 2016 councillors threw out Forrest's proposal on the grounds the

"development of the subject lands as proposed would adversely impact the character of the established neighbourhood and adjacent properties within the Heritage Conservation District".

The Mayor, Tony Van Trappist, voted against Forrest's original application and for the staff's so-called compromise. He was in a minority of one.

The Mayor, reading from a prepared script, told the Committee of the Whole on 28 November 2016:

"I appreciate the concerns that many people have expressed about the scale and the impact of this development in our Heritage Conservation District and I believe that staff has proposed a significantly reduced option from what was originally proposed. And whether we agree with the recommendations or not this is a very comprehensive report that has been thoroughly examined."

"All of the elements, too, have been considered including an extensive heritage impact assessment from a qualified heritage specialist, Goldsmith Borgal and Co. And it was peer reviewed independently by heritage architects. It is their opinion that the revisions proposed would meet the intentions of the Heritage Conservation District and I agree."

The role of the "heritage experts" will now, inevitably, come under scrutiny.

Van Bynen leans on the opinions and recommendations of professional experts like a crutch, unwilling or unable to exercise his own critical faculties.

His role in the Clock Tower drama has yet to be written. Was he a spectator to events - as is so often the case - or was he the guiding hand?

Forrest already has an appeal lodged with the OMB where it has been sleeping for over three years. Forrest appealed By-law 2013-51 (establishing the Heritage Conservation District) arguing his properties should be exempt.

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