After today’s formal blessing by the Region of York, Newmarket’s Urban Centres Secondary Plan becomes a revered document. The last minute additions and deletions will soon be forgotten and the clean text will have impressive new authority.
It will be folded into the Town’s Official Plan and pored over for years to come by lawyers, planners, developers and, perhaps even, by OMB adjudicators.
The Region’s Director of Community Planning, Karen Whitney, took councillors through the highlights. Looking on were Rick Nethery, Jason Unger, and the Plan’s midwife, Marion Plaunt, who brought it into the world after much labour.
His Worship the Mayor, Tony Van Bynen, acknowledges their presence as a feudal superior would in late medieval times:
“You have all done yeoman’s work in producing outstanding work for our community.”
John Taylor says he is “very, very happy with the outcome”.
Taylor then gently raises the issue of Upper Canada Mall as a “special study area” and its relationship with the mobility hub at Yonge and Davis.
Ms Whitney, who seems slightly bewildered, says they can take a “deep dive” into the UCM issue, suggesting they can study it in greater detail. (This is what planners say when they don’t have an answer immediately to hand.)
Newmarket has, in effect, contracted out responsibility for the Regional Shopping Centre Master Plan to the owners, Oxford Properties who will, presumably, lead the process with the Town, Region, Metrolinx and others tagging along behind as “partners”.
According to the schedules, the GO Bus Terminal, across the road from the Mall at Davis Drive West, does not fall within the study area.
In the planning world where colourful schedules and lines on maps are accorded huge significance by planning lawyers and the OMB, we are assured by staff, in this case, it doesn’t matter.
We are told the Regional Shopping Centre Study Area has been elevated into a Mobility Hub Study (as a result of late amendments to the text of the Secondary Plan in June 2014).
I think we should see a timetable and a work plan.