Over three months ago, on 4 May 2018, Colleen Forrest told the media:  

Boarded up for years. Blighting the historic downtown.

“Main Street Clock Inc looks forward to sharing in the near future, an exciting new concept for this beautiful heritage space, a concept which will bring economic stimulus to downtown Newmarket.”

I am left wondering how far away is “the near future”? 

And when can we get sight of the exciting New Development Concept? 

The land exchanges have now been completed and, so far as I know, the titles registered. So the ball is in Forrest’s court to come up with the New Development Concept which can then be considered in the usual way, lubricated by a grant from the Newmarket Downtown Development Committee’s incentive program up to a limit of $100,000. 

“The Town will make every effort to expedite consideration of applications for permits/ and/or approvals.”

Timetable for construction

The Minutes of Settlement agreed between the Town and Bob Forrest’s Main Street Clock Inc stipulate that construction must start by 15 December 2019 – in planning terms that’s just around the corner.

But the Minutes of Settlement are silent on when the New Development Concept should be presented to the Town. The Minutes simply reference the various approvals that have to be granted by the Town for the development to proceed as envisaged.

Hooking up any new development to the sewers continues to pose problems but these are not, I suspect, insurmountable. The Town’s Chief Administrative Officer, Bob Shelton, says servicing allocations may not become available until 2026/7. However, he dangles the possibility of something happening before then once work on a second big wastewater pipe through the Town is completed in the next few years:

“Servicing allocation may be available earlier once the force main twinning works are complete and functioning but such allocation would have to be subject to consideration of all other development priorities and the reporting process.”

The blighting of Newmarket’s historic downtown

Forrest’s seven storey Clock Tower development application was, of course, finally rejected by the Town on 5 December 2016 but the prospect of a redevelopment of the Clock Tower has been with the Town in some shape or form since 2011. Senior Town staff have been intimately involved in discussions with Forrest over very many years. 

For as long as I can remember they have both been economical with the actualité. But now the Town of Newmarket and Bob Forrest’s Main Street Clock Inc vow to be open and transparent.

This being the case, it would help if the public had sight of the New Development Concept in the near future

In my book this means before the municipal elections on 22 October 2018. 

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