The Slessors will meet their match at the OMB pre hearing on 30 November if the Slessor Residents’ Group goes for, and wins, equal status as Party to the action.
The Parties will include the developers, the Town of Newmarket and, very probably, York Region. There may be others.
I know all this stuff because I went down to the OMB HQ in Toronto, said hello and asked a zillion questions.
But to continue….
“Participants” will include those who have previously formally given the Town their views on the Slessor proposal.
“Parties” can call witnesses and cross examine other parties (and be cross examined themselves). What fun!
Participants, on the other hand, read out their submissions at the end of the day, once the press and public have gone. And they cannot quiz the parties or call witnesses.
It is a matter for the OMB adjudicator to decide who should be given party status but, surely, the Residents’ Group must stake a claim.
And why not?
The Group has lived and breathed Slessor Square for over a year and has a good understanding of the issues. They will bring a local perspective and commonsense, qualities that are sometimes missing in the Town’s approach.
To recap. The Slessors are appealing to the OMB in the hope that their monster twin tower development opposite Upper Canada Mall will be approved.
The Slessors say they are going down this road because the Town of Newmarket didn’t make a decision on their application within the time period specified in the legislation – 180 days.
In fact, their original application, the one now before the OMB, was never, at any stage, put before elected officials - either to accept or reject.
The original application included an hotel with 152 suites. The Cole Traffic Study of June 2011 specifically mentions the hotel.
But by the time councillors first considered the Slessor application on 21 November 2011 the hotel component had mysteriously vanished.
This is the whacky world of urban planning in Ontario.
Who knows what discussions took place between the Town’s planners and the developers from the time the original application was lodged and the November 2011 meeting?
But I am pretty sure Newmarket’s planners would have been trying their level best to modify the design into a form that the Slessors and the Town could both live with.
That was always a long shot given the huge scale of the Slessor development but planners would have given it their best shot.
They would have been working for a win-win.
But with Slessor’s appeal to the OMB all bets are now off.
The Town has no option but to come out fighting.