Letter published in the Era Banner on 25 January 2012
As a resident and taxpayer in Newmarket for the past 24 years, I am writing on behalf of a group of concerned citizens to express our opposition to the proposed development on the former Slessor Motors site on Yonge Street.
The project will radically alter the visual and planning landscape in Newmarket and is a massive departure from the accepted planning guidelines employed by the town during the past decades.
The project proposes two huge towers of 26 and 29 storeys, in addition to two seven-storey buildings on a very small footprint of land.
They far exceed anything that has been approved in Newmarket in the past and will be an architectural eyesore dominating the visual landscape forever.
They will be constant reminders of our poor judgment, much like the failed venture at The Tannery Mall on Davis Drive.
If approved without significant modification, Slessor Square will be the standard to which all future proposals will be compared and ultimately approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.
It will open the development floodgates and lead to out-of-control construction and a serious deterioration of the quality of life in what is a quiet, safe community.
This project is a choice between sustainable, progressive and reasonable growth and intensification and unlimited, unrestricted and uncontrolled development.
The latter will lead to Newmarket becoming similar to a number of other forgettable urban wastelands, such as Yonge and Sheppard Avenue and Yonge and Finch Avenue in Toronto and Major Mackenzie and Yonge in Richmond Hill.
These kinds of cold, impersonal and intensified architectural landscapes have made a lot of developers rich, but have done little to improve the quality of life in these communities.
They are what most people moved to Newmarket to escape.
The argument that intensification will bring additional tax revenues and help build infrastructure is a chicken-and-egg debate.
Toronto serves as a cautionary tale. It has high intensification, yet services and jobs are being slashed.
Bigger is not always better, as Toronto has experienced.
We will regret our apathy if we do not demonstrate our displeasure with this planning coup.
Dr. R. Bahlieda