Ward 4 residents have been invited to a meeting tonight at 7pm at Denne Public School at 330 Burford Street, called by our local councillor Tom Hempen.
There is a huge amount on the agenda with lots of presentations and only two hours to squeeze it all in.
I think the planners and our elected officials are working hard on our behalf but I still have some real concerns. Here are some.
1) The Slessor Square developers are going to the Ontario Municipal Board with their original design (so far as I can tell). I think Newmarket planners are trying to tweak it to allow traffic to cut through the centre of the development from Yonge to George Street.
2) Slessors re-worked or “re-imagined” design which lowered the height of the towers but maintained the overall density has been abandoned.
3) I am disappointed we still do not have a viewshed analysis showing what the Slessor Towers would look like from various vantage points around town.
4) The evolving plan for Newmarket’s regional centre is sticking with towers way over 20 storeys, despite the concerns that have been repeatedly stated.
5) I don’t know what has happened to Regional Councillor John Taylor’s earlier proposal for a height cap. It seems to have been filed away and forgotten about.
6) The planners are talking about getting some of the traffic off Yonge Street and onto other roads. I am attaching a report that went to York Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee last week. It seems to me there is a real danger that traffic will bleed into residential areas.
7) The work on the Draft Secondary Plan seems to be happening in parallel with, and separate from, the traffic and transportation studies. Decisions on parking standards for new developments (ie the number of parking spaces allocated to each apartment in a complex) have, I think, still to be taken. This alone could have a big impact on traffic generation. The Slessor underground car park proposed spaces for over 1,200 vehicles.
There are, of course, a million other issues to consider. The big one for me is the size of Newmarket that is now being envisaged. Our population is currently 85,000 with a Provincially mandated target of, I think, 97,500.
The evolving Draft Secondary Plan implies a population way in excess of this.
It would be quite possible to meet the Provincial growth target with lower densities overall and buildings that are mid rise – not high rise.