Shrink Slessor Square!

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Affordable housing must be part of Slessor Square

Marion Plaunt
Planning Department
Town of Newmarket

Dear Ms. Plaunt,

Here are the themes I mentioned on Tuesday night during the public meeting about the proposed Slessor Square development.

  • I welcomed more density along the Yonge Street corridor
  • I recalled the Friday evening meeting convened by the United Way about social infrastructure and noted the reference by an earlier presenter to the concept of social capital outlined by urban expert Jane Jacobs, both based on less tangible aspects of community building
  • I wondered about the experience local people would have if the development goes ahead as planned:
    • what will it be like as a pedestrian on Yonge Street on a windy January day with even higher winds coming down off the towers and such little set back or stepback from the sidewalk
    • what it will be like for neighbours on the other side of George Street to have so many new neighbours on such a small footprint; increased traffic, shadowing, the looming presence of the towers
    • what it would be like to live there with the tiny amount of green space in the design. I asked where neighbours living there might go outdoors to play chess together, where residents could go outside to do tai chi together and where residents might go outside to socialize with families who came to visit as examples. I wondered if the balconies would be big enough for both sitting and potted plants for those who liked to garden. Accepting money instead of a parkette doesn't help those who will live in this development.
  • I said the town will be ill-served if none of the units are affordable. This kind of stratification hurts economic diversity, a necessary feature of healthy communities.
  • I insisted the planners could come up with much more creative plans for the buildings and the site that would suit Newmarket much better for a long time to come, that we did not need to repeat the errors made elsewhere as densification took place.

I hope this helps.

 

Robin Wardlaw

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