The OMB tells me it may be in a position tomorrow, Friday, to say when it expects the Glenway Phase 2 Hearing to start (if indeed it starts at all).

I am told the Town and Marianneville are still wrestling with various unspecified technical issues including ones brought up by the Glenway Preservation Association.

As a result, the “issues list” and the witness lists and statements have not been exchanged between the Parties (ie Town and Marianneville) as they would be in the normal course of events.

And, astonishingly, I am told that the Parties may agree to dispense with these fusty old lists altogether! 

This suggests you couldn’t put a cigarette paper between the two of them.

I am sure the developers, Marianneville, can hardly believe their good luck. Land bought for a song ($10m) and now worth an absolute fortune. And everything delivered to them by the Town of Newmarket on a gold plate.


The Town looks set to do a deal with Marianneville Developments and decide the future of Glenway behind closed doors, telling people afterwards what was decided over their heads and on their behalf.

Of all the many ironies associated with the Glenway saga this, perhaps, is the most exquisite.

Marianneville's lawyer, Ira Kagan has made a habit of putting so-called “settlement offers” into the public domain to allow the Town to consult residents before any decision was made. He used this ploy with Slessor Square and again, twice, with Glenway. In the case of the former, the settlement offer was accepted by the Town. The two on Glenway were rejected.

In his concluding statement in the Glenway Hearing, Kagan told the adjudicator, Susan Schiller:

“… the fact that both of these settlement offers were intentionally made public and specifically provided to the GPA is further evidence of just how far Marianneville went to ensure a proper consultative process.”

Kagan is fond of telling us he was breaking with convention in putting the settlement offers into the public domain. He would tell us that, usually, councillors and developers would meet in closed session, do a deal and then tell the public afterwards.

Is this what is happening now? Are Glenway people – and their leaders – being cut right out of things?

Take a look at the video of the Special Council meeting at 5pm on Monday 7 April 2014 when the Mayor asks councillors to ratify the minutes of meetings held in camera. It is painful to watch. Staff are charged to implement decisions of councillors taken in closed session. Advice to them from Ruth Victor and the less-than-impressive Mary Bull is, for the moment, secret.

Of course, at the end of the day the Town has got to make a decision on how best to close the matter and move forward.

But if the Town is abandoning Phase 2 of the OMB Hearing in favour of negotiating a settlement with the developer, why can’t the terms of any settlement with Marianneville be put into the public domain before a final decision is taken?

Glenway people may appreciate such a gesture.

And Kagan, for one, can hardly object.


Yesterday, Newmarket’s Committee of the Whole held an in camera session to decide where to go now.

The Glenway Preservation Association has worked heroically for the neighbourhood but has now run out of cash. They have let their lawyer and planner go and will rely on the Town to argue their case for them. My understanding is that the GPA have stepped back and say it is now a matter for the Town.

To recap. On 27 March, the OMB in the shape of Susan Schiller ruled that development is not prohibited on the Glenway lands. The precise nature of what might be acceptable and appropriate would be dealt with in Phase 2 of the OMB Hearing scheduled to start later this month.

There are two options open to the Council.

(1) The first is to abandon Phase 2 and seek a negotiated settlement with Marianneville. Councillors supporting this line of action will cite cost savings. This would be short sighted.

Marianneville is likely to play hard ball. They will want to make as much money as they can from their development and may be unwilling to cut significantly the number of residential units planned (730).

(2) The second option is to carry through with Phase 2, examining in detail the technical issues – the location of the roads and storm water ponds, the so-called “built form” and its compatibility with what is already there, and so on and so forth.

With this option everything is out in the open. Witness lists and witness statements (from both sides, the Town and Marianneville) should be made available to the public. Similarly, the “issues list” should be published showing everyone what is still in contention.

My spies tell me that the Town’s external consultant, Ruth Victor, who was hired to work on the Glenway file, has pretty much resolved the technical issues with Marianneville so there may not be much to talk about. If this is indeed the case the Hearing will be that much shorter.

People in Glenway are already spitting tacks over the OMB decision on the principle of development. They now know that all those well meaning and reassuring statements in the Town’s Official Plan about protecting stable residential areas are not worth the paper they are written on.

But for the Town to stitch up a negotiated settlement with Marianneville, in camera, away from the public gaze, adds insult to injury.

I suspect a clear majority of councillors want to cut a deal with Marianneville, no doubt advised by the same phalanx of “experts” and fifth columnists who got us here in the first place.

I hope I am wrong. 

A public debate at the OMB on the nature of development at Glenway is a million times better than a deal cooked up behind closed doors. 


During the recent Glenway OMB Hearing, Marianneville’s theatrical lawyer, Ira Kagan, made much of the fact that a big chunk of Glenway was within 500 metres of the GO Bus Station and was, by that fact alone, according to various planning policies, ripe for intensification.

On 21 March in giving evidence, the GPA’s planning expert, Nick McDonald, countered by claiming (correctly) the Town had not identified major transit areas and more work still had to be done.

A Town-led study of the Glenway lands should include the GO Bus station which, he ventured, could possibly be relocated.

This heresy was enough to persuade Kagan to launch a blistering attack on McDonald in his closing submission on 27 March:

“When, through cross-examination, McDonald was asked to drill down and identify which other lands (beyond the Marianneville lands) he would recommend be part of the Town-led study, he advised he would include both the existing GO Transit bus terminal and the Upper Canada Mall but in both cases solely to determine whether or not to relocate the GO Transit bus terminal. This is simply not reasonable.

“There is not a shred of evidence that the Town, Region or GO Transit want to move this bus terminal. This terminal is identified in a variety of planning documents that the various witnesses reviewed and never once was it identified for relocation. Mr McDonald may think it should move but no-one else seems to agree with him. Even the ongoing OPA 10 study (ie the Draft Secondary Plan for Newmarket’s Urban Centre) is not proposing that the GO transit bus terminal be relocated. Accordingly, the addition of these two parcels to a Town-led study is not supported on the evidence.

It is not so black and white. A future study referred to in the Town’s Draft Secondary Plan, now out for consultation, could make recommendations impacting on the GO bus station.

On page 59 of the Draft Secondary Plan we read that Newmarket will encourage Metrolinx to partner with the Town, Region and others “to prepare a Mobility Hub Area Station Plan for the area around Newmarket GO Rail Station” which would look at, amongst other things,

“integration between the GO Rail Station, the Rapidway, the future GO bus services and the GO bus terminal.”

The draft says:

“An amendment to this Plan may be necessary in order to incorporate relevant findings or directions from the Mobility Hub Station Area Plan.”

Yesterday (2 April) Phase 2 of the Urban Centres Transportation Study, prepared by Consultants GDH for the Town, was posted on the Town’s website. References to this study can be found in the first version of the Draft Secondary Plan published in September 2013. It has been around for ages but it has only now been put into the public domain.

On page 10 of the dense 360 page tome (Section 2.4 York Region Transit), we find this:

Based on consultations with GO/Metrolinx throughout the course of this study, the current vision for the existing GO Transit / YRT bus terminal south of Upper Canada Mall is to remain in its current location. However, it is expected that YRT will gradually supplant GO Transit bus routes, which will be relocated outside of the Secondary Plan area to the East Gwillimbury GO Transit station, and/or the Bradford GO Transit rail station.

The planned Viva Blue (Yonge Street) and Viva Yellow (Davis Drive) bus routes include one-way loops via Eagle Street, Davis Drive and Yonge Street. These routes will likely contribute to additional congestion at some locations, such as the Yonge and Eagle Street intersection due to high pedestrian activity. However, should the bus station be relocated to the UCM site, the volume of associated buses should not significantly impact future operations compared to leaving the station in its current location. Furthermore, the relocation of the bus station to the UCM property may even serve to reduce future net effects, given potential reductions to pedestrian crossings of Davis Drive. The impact of such a change in operations has not been specifically modeled in our study, so any bus station relocation should include an evaluation of localized transportation impacts and requirements.

It seems to me, m’lud, that consideration has, indeed, been given to relocating the bus station if only to conclude that, for the moment, it is not part of the “current vision”.

But why isn’t it part of the “current vision”? Can we have the detailed reasons?

Could relocation be part of an emerging but still indistinct “future vision”?

I think we should be told.


As I tap this out, Newmarket’s Committee of the Whole is meeting in camera to consider its next steps now that the Ontario Municipal Board has ruled that some kind of development can take place in Glenway – provided it fits in with what is already there. (And is in conformity with every imaginable plan, statement and policy deemed relevant by the OMB adjudicator).

The Town’s Solicitor, Esther Armchuk, updates councillors on the OMB’s oral decision. She says the full written decision must await the conclusion of Phase 2 of the Hearing.

Sitting in front of me is Marianneville's lawyer, Ira Kagan. He is casually dressed, wearing an open necked shirt and with a straw in his mouth but he is not off duty. He is flanked by the ever present VP of Marianneville Developments and another woman who is tapping furiously on a keyboard.


Chris Emanuel raises the possibility of mediation to settle the Glenway imbroglio. This would avoid the necessity of a Phase 2 OMB Hearing. (This had been anticipated by an earlier decision of Council some months ago.) Without taking a view one way or the other, he flags this up for discussion at next Monday’s Committee of the Whole.

Now everyone is thanking everyone else. The GPA chair, Christina Bisanz, thanks the Council. The Mayor thanks the GPA.

Our councillors have their say but are circumspect. They are about to go into closed session where they will get the benefit of professional advice on what to do next. 

Now there is a prolonged exchange on how the planning system recognises public and private open space and whether the Town should have bought the privately-owned Glenway lands when they were first put up for sale. This is interesting but tangential.

Chris Emanuel hopes the Planning Department is doing a report on “lessons learned”.

John Taylor laments the decision saying we put forward the strongest arguments we could. (No we didn’t.)

Dave Kerwin bites his bottom lip. He wants to save his comments for the private session. He concedes “the GPA fought a noble battle.”

Progressive Conservative MPP hopeful, Jane Twinney, sees the Glenway OMB decision as ammunition for an assault on the Province and its planning regime.

Maddie Di Muccio wants to know if, at any stage, the Town considered buying the Glenway lands. She doesn’t get an answer.

Joe Sponga is upset about something or other.

Tom Hempen squeezes in a comment seconds before the Mayor moves into private session. I can’t immediately recall what it was about.

Who is advising whom?

What happens next is rich in irony. As the GPA and the public are asked to leave the Council Chamber, I reflect on who is staying behind to advise our councillors. The Town’s top planners – who were all completely absent from the entirety of the OMB Hearing. The Town’s counsel Mary Bull – who was manifestly not on top of her brief. And Ruth Victor, who gave damning evidence against the Town’s position on Phase 1, and who will be presenting the Town’s case on Phase 2 (which deals with the technicalities of shoe-horning hundreds of new homes into the middle of a stable, long established, residential community).

The Town’s position is clear from the 25 November 2013 unanimous vote at Newmarket Theatre. The Town does not support development of Glenway, as proposed.

It must now do everything in its power to frustrate the Marianneville proposals and prevent them from becoming reality. Mediation is absolutely not the solution.

In her report to Council, the Town’s external consultant in charge of the Glenway file, Ruth Victor, recommended refusal of the Marianneville proposals “because of substantial unresolved technical issues”.

These “substantial” technical issues must now become insuperable.

The Town’s Director of Planning, Rick Nethery, must now appear at the OMB Phase 2 Hearing to argue the case for refusing the Marianneville application on technical grounds.

There are servicing allocation issues. Why should Glenway get preference over other developments in the Town’s intensification priority areas?

What about standards for infill lots?

What about new parkland and its location? Glenway is a lung for a huge part of urban Newmarket. Where are all the new residents in Newmarket going to find and enjoy open space?

What about the traffic impact of the proposed development?

I am not a highly paid planner but even I could come up with a thousand good reasons why concrete should not be laid over the putting greens and fairways of Glenway.

I want to see Rick Nethery, our top planning expert, tell the OMB there are a million and one sound planning reasons why the Marianneville development should not get off the drawing board.

After all, Marianneville doesn’t pay his salary. We do.