It is 13 May 2013 and Glenway residents are out in force again to hear Christina Bisanz and Dave Sovran set out the battle plan against Marianneville Developments who want to build on the Estate’s former golf course which they now own.
The lounge at the Ray Twinney centre is packed.
The Town’s official plan designates the Glenway land as open space. But it is private land, not public.
The audacious developer has now gone to the OMB, citing the Town’s failure to determine the planning application within the specified 180 days. They also say Frank Klees’ Private Members Bill has forced their hand, obliging them to act.
The fact that the developer can do this while refusing to answer a slew of legitimate questions posed by the public, demonstrates how hopelessly bankrupt the whole process is.
The easy mannered Dave Sovran, the Vice Chair of the Glenway Preservation Association, rules out any possibility of a meeting of minds between the developer, the Town and the residents. Mediation is a non starter. Clearly, this is a fight to the death.
Dave tells us he will be addressing the Town’s Committee of the Whole next Tuesday (21 May). Councillors will then convene in a closed session to consider a woefully thin report from staff on the Glenway issue. He expects the final report in September when the Town will take its formal position on the Marianneville application.
Now the GPA chair, Christina Bisanz, goes through an impressively long checklist, highlighting the things the Glenway executive has been doing.
They are supporting the Frank Klees Bill even though it has a vanishingly small chance of becoming law.
She says: “We are making Town staff very aware of what we feel.”
Seems to me that’s a smart move since the planners write the scripts that the councillors so often rubber stamp.
She tells us the Mayor stands with the GPA in defending the official plan.
Ward 7 councillor, Chris Emanuel, detects a “big desire” in other councillors to defend the official plan that wants to keep open space in Glenway.
Persona non grata is the unnamed councillor – presumed to be the acidic Maddie Di Muccio – who thinks it would be inappropriate for “taxpayers’ dollars” to be wasted on an OMB hearing.
Christina Bisanz is now rallying the troops, promising, if needs be, to lie down in front of bulldozers!
She tells us: “This is NOT a done deal!”
Now we are talking about the Secondary Plan which is mapping out the future of Newmarket. Tiny numbers of the public are actively involved in the focus groups that form a key part of the process that is being steered by the all-powerful Town planners.
Christina urges everyone to get involved. “It’s a low investment in time for a high reward.”
Some people think the Secondary Plan is all stitched up. Not so, says Chris Emanuel, who is now steeped in an unnecessarily long discourse on sewage and water capacity.
He moves on to talk about the Secondary Plan, reminding everyone it will look at developments in the Yonge Davis corridors, not Glenway. That said, its impact will be felt across the Town.
Now we are on to the nuts and bolts of the campaign to secure Glenway’s future.
Dave is tight lipped about how much has been raised. (Don’t understand the reticence myself.) But he says $150,000 is needed to hire a lawyer (six interviewed so far) and a planner. A five week hearing at the OMB doesn’t come cheap.
No lawyer is going to do the work for nothing.
A woman from the floor suggests an “investigator” should be hired as well to sniff out any evidence of corrupt dealings. I expect a gale of laughter.
Instead, people ponder.
Diplomatically, Dave rules this out while conceding the obvious.
“We know developers have strong relationships with politicians.”
(A statement both true and, importantly, not actionable.)
In the audience I sense a huge scepticism about the OMB and its impartiality. Lots of people believe it is in the pocket of developers.
Now it’s back to fundraising and an impressive range of money-making events over the next few months.
We learn that if everyone living on Glenway donated $250, the campaign would be home-and-dry. But that’s not the way of the world. Even in this neck of the woods.
Dave Sovran will be speaking at the Town’s “Committee of the Whole (Council)” next Tuesday, 21 May 2013, at 1.30pm.
It meets in the Council Chamber at 395 Mulock Drive.