As the Town prepares to consult the public on its 2014 budget, the ever controversial Councillor Maddie Di Muccio, sets out her own shopping list of cuts.

She wants to “eliminate the tax heritage rebate program”.

I am left wondering why. Seems to me like a good thing.

In 2012 – the last year for which we have figures – Heritage rebates cost the Town a modest $5, 377.

Compare this with the $106,642 given to owners of vacant commercial and industrial buildings. This  “vacancy rebate” mysteriously doesn’t rate a mention.

Of greater concern is Maddie’s determination

“to eliminate the $135,000/year grants handed out exclusively to business on Main Street. Some of these recipients have personal relationships that are too close for comfort with certain Council members”.


The statement, though carefully crafted, infers that some business owners on Main Street may be improperly receiving a financial benefit that arises directly from their relationship with (unnamed) Councillors.

If it is not her intention to leave this impression in the mind of the reader, then what precisely is she trying to say?

The names and addresses of people who receive grants are matters of public record. Members of the Newmarket Downtown Development Sub Committee are obliged to declare any conflicts of interest.

If she believes anyone is acting corruptly she should take her concerns in the first instance to Bob Shelton, the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer and, if needs be, the police.

Until then, she should break the habit of a lifetime and steer clear of smearing people.

King George School

Now that the Committee of the Whole will be considering the proposed Heritage By Law on 26 August, it is time for an update on King George School on Park Avenue, just up the road from Newmarket Library.

The school – which is just outside the Heritage Conservation District – was built in 1912-13 and is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The Town’s 1986 By Law says it is

“a well preserved example of early twentieth century public school architecture”.

The property was purchased from the York Region District School Board on 15 November 2011 by the numbered corporation, 1569121 Ontario Limited, for $1,275,000.

The owner of Ontario Corporation 1569121, Chrisula Selfe, is based in Toronto.

My spies tell me that the owner has been working on a plan that retains the existing building but with an additional two stepped back floors on top of the existing roof. There would also be a westerly extension added to the building.

People in the immediate neighbourhood obviously have their concerns. But we all want to know the developers’ intentions.

The site is designated for institutional use so any departure from this would require an Official Plan amendment and a zoning by law amendment. (Such amendments are ten-a-penny.)

This historic building has already been empty for too long. It should not be allowed to decay and crumble by neglect.

That way lies demolition and wholesale redevelopment.

And we don’t want that.


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