Shrink Slessor Square!

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25 storeys at Yonge and Davis

Newmarket’s planners have posted on the Town’s website a new 114 page report on the Secondary Plan which looks at developments along the Yonge and Davis corridors.

As expected, it follows the template set out earlier, proposing high rise developments across central Newmarket ranging from 25 storeys at Yonge and Davis to 18 storeys at Yonge and Mulock and 18 storeys around the Regional Health Centre.

Personally, I’d prefer a lower height cap which would encourage development along the corridors and not just at these so called "nodes".

The planners are driving the whole process, saying they are reflecting back to us what we, the public, have been telling them.

Not so.

The professional planners have their own agenda, reshaping Newmarket into a form few of us would recognise.

To read the report go to the planning page on the Town’s website and scroll to the bottom of the page and open: Urban Centres Secondary Plan Directions Report (17 May 2013)

Focus Groups are meeting to consider the report on Thursday 23 May 2013 from 6.30pm - 9pm in Lounge 1 at the Ray Twinney Centre and again on 28 May from 9.30am - 12pm in Hall 4 at the Community Centre, Doug Duncan Drive.


Glenway

The Glenway saga finally reaches Newmarket’s Council Chamber. It is Tuesday 21 May 2013.

As always, the councillors divide into two camps.

On the one hand, our elected spectators, on $47,000 a year, who ask no questions, venture no opinions and say nothing about one of the biggest and most controversial developments ever to hit Newmarket.

And then, fortunately, there are the others.

After a clear, measured presentation by Dave Sovran, who speaks for the Glenway Preservation Association, Ward 7 councillor Chris Emanuel launches into a series of questions. Glenway is in his patch.

He says there is no need to go into camera today even though he understands why this may be felt necessary. People from Mariannville Developments are in the Council Chamber watching and it is not clever to receive your legal advice in front of the opposition. Fair enough.

But why not consider the legal advice in camera? And have the resulting informed debate in public. Councillors can then choose their words with care.

Chris wants the Glenway Preservation Association to have access to the planning consultant hired by the Town to advise on the Glenway file.

Rob Prentice, the head honcho on development and infrastructure matters, says “without prejudice” discussions are going on with the developer. But these, he says, are not in the public domain as was the case with Slessor Square. It is his way of saying no.

Everyone expects an OMB hearing later in the year but what if the OMB moves swiftly. Could there be an OMB summer hearing when the Town’s final report on Glenway may not be available before September? The Town’s trousers would be down around its ankles.

Now Maddie Di Muccio elbows her way to the front of the line, determined to have her say.

She doesn’t want to talk about Glenway in private session. She wants to get it all off her chest now.

She fumes that the Council voted, against her advice, to hire an outside consultant at $65,000 a year to advise on Glenway.

She says she wanted Glenway residents to have oversight of the whole process but her proposal was torpedoed by the Council.

Now it’s getting personal. She turns to look at Chris Emanuel.

They sit next to each other but, ideologically and temperamentally, they are a million light years apart.

An exasperated Chris Emanuel says he opposed, on legal advice, Maddie’s idea of an “ad hoc” committee.

Maddie is now getting very agitated and I am waiting for her to stomp out of the Council Chamber. Her performances are beautifully theatrical.

There isn’t anyone else who can affect indignation in quite the way she can. She is superb.

Now the Mayor is insisting she retract something or other. And she does, while protesting, as is her way.

It is as plain as a pikestaff they can’t stand each other.

John Taylor makes a few interventions addressing process issues. He says the 180 days specified in the Planning Acts that municipalities have to consider complex applications is unrealistic. Most appeals to the OMB by developers now cite the failure by councils to meet this impossible deadline. And, yes, he supports convening in camera to receive legal advice.

Now a touch of vaudeville as Tom Vegh waves a yellow sheet of paper in the air that, apparently, relates to the secret session on Glenway that comes up later in the agenda.

What if the Council votes not to go into camera? What, he asks, would be the status of this confidential report?

Robert Shelton, the top administrative man, intones that the report stays confidential even if the Council votes to discuss things in open session.

The proceduralists are now tying themselves in knots.

Now an interesting question from Dave Kerwin.

He calls Dave Sovran back to the stand, so to speak, and asks him how much Mariannville paid for the Glenway lands.

Dave is unwilling to go down that road and bats the ball back to Kerwin.

But I am intrigued.

How is this relevant? And what was in Dave Kerwin’s mind when he asked the question?

He tells me later it would be nice to know how much the land is worth. It is all knowledge. Hmmm.

Seems to me that if Mariannville loses at the OMB they will be stuck with land they cannot develop and the Town, of course, is under no obligation to buy.

But Councillor Kerwin’s question gets me thinking.

Perhaps we do need to publicise widely the price paid by developers for land in Newmarket.

We could go further and unmask the developers who shelter behind numbered companies.

And we could report on political donations made by those very same developers to our elected representatives in Newmarket.

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