Davis Drive is still a moonscape but we learn construction will be completed by December 2015 and, once again, it will be open for business.

York Region councillors are told today that the project is now 70% complete. The report is nodded through without debate or comment.

During last year’s municipal election there was much talk about compensation for businesses that lost trade since construction began in May 2012. Some people claimed there was nothing on offer. Others loudly protested help was available - though it could take time to come through.

I am left wondering how much has actually been paid out to help businesses stay afloat. The information must be out there somewhere.

As with the construction itself, reaching settlements with the business owners on Davis Drive seems to be work in progress.

Full agreement has been reached with fewer than 50% of property owners:

“On January 22, 2009, Council approved the expropriation of the initial interests required for the construction of the Davis Drive corridor, which involved various property takings from 133 property owners. Possession of the lands was obtained in late 2009.

“To date, full and final settlements have been reached with 57 property owners, and partial settlements have been reached with 42 owners. The partial settlements are subject to future potential claims from former owners, for matters not agreed to when the settlement was negotiated. The remaining 34 properties, for which no full or partial settlements have been obtained, are subject to claims from owners.

Business casualties

The report looks at the Goodyear Mars Tire property at 135 Davis Drive where we learn

“a full and final settlement has been negotiated”.

The Region made an offer in 2009 but underestimated “the true extent of the impacts to the property”. The design was modified substantially in 2014 and

“As a result, compensation for damages is considerably greater than the amount offered to the owner when the property was originally expropriated in 2009. 

We learn the project’s design

“resulted in the significant permanent loss of parking, combined with the loss of vehicular access from the east to the west sides of the lot. These factors are considered to have made the existing use as an automotive service garage virtually impracticle. (sic)

One more settlement agreed.

75 to go.

York Region Administrative Annex Expansion Building (new name needed)

The long awaited debate on whether to locate York Region’s new annex at Yonge and Highway 7 is deferred.

It was down for debate today but the prime agitator, Markham’s Jim Jones, says he wants his motion to go to the next Council meeting  at 9.30am on Thursday 26 March.

Newmarket’s Mayor, Tony Van Bynen, stirs from his slumbers. He rarely bothers to say much. He wants various reports, including the business case, re-circulated to councillors reminding them why they previously chose the site next door to the Regional HQ as the best location. He wants a staff presentation too.

Van Bynen’s ally, Richmond Hill’s Vito Spatafora, wants a special meeting to consider the issue.

“This is a big ask.”

He conjures up the spectre of Ontario’s Gas Plants fiasco.

“We have already invested a great deal of money on this. We need to sit down with staff and go through this thoroughly.”

It is an effective intervention. 

Jones is in no rush. He wants a decision by the end of April.

No rush.

York Region sells home for $1

A quirky item catches my eye on the list surplus assets being sold off.

An historic house in Markham is sold "as is” for $1 but the cost of relocation, estimated at $200,000, falls on the buyer.

Good for them.

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