One way to limit the size of Slessor Square is to make it more expensive for the developer to build and/or the future residents to purchase. It also becomes a bargaining chip for the town in their negotiations with the developer and/or the OMB when the appeal is filed. 

Traffic and density will not win the battle - the province wants more intensification and the developers want more profit per square foot - and frankly the township wants and needs more tax revenue. So increased density has been accepted as a necessary evil, and traffic is just an offshoot of that. 

Two issues remain that I think the developers and council have not considered yet, and which prove more fruitful as a solid justification for a smaller development. 

The first is the proposed mix of units - 1 bedroom and studios versus 2 and 3 bedroom units - which Slessor has not revealed yet either in their plans or their sales documentation. If Newmarket wishes to remain a family based community, they need to push for more 2 or 3 bedroom units which will reduce the traffic problem considerably, and minimize the number of units available for sale thereby driving the purchase price and reducing the demand for more height. One bedroom or studio units are out of place in Newmarket, as they attract a transient population reliant on public transit; which will not be adequate for their purposes as they want to live and work within walking distance like they do in downtown Toronto. Unless, of course, there is a major commercial development coming to Newmarket that Council is not allowed to speak about yet. 

The second is the issue of life-safety. Newmarket's official plan is based on 8 stories; Emergency services have been provisioned and capitalized based on that assumption. Any deviation from the planned height cap will require the township to review how they have provisioned for those services. If the developer wishes to grow beyond that cap, they should be paying for the extra height - and pass the cost onto the purchasers - not the residents of the town who have already agreed with the official plan. For example, fire trucks can be equipped to reach up to 120 feet or 10 to 12 stories; likely Newmarket has not equipped any of the existing firetrucks to reach that high. So that means new and/or more fire fighting equipment will be required - as well as the fire fighters will have to be trained in high rise fire suppression tactics. The physical conditioning standards for these fire fighters will have to enhanced as they will be required to potentially reach higher floors. 

The same exists for the ambulance service - specialized equipment will be required and potentially more and/or better trained attendants. Imagine having to carry out a person from the 26th floor who has just had a stroke or a heart attack and there is a power failure in the area. The attendants will need a special chair lift to extricate the victim and have to be in top physical condition to complete that task without causing further injury to the victim or themselves. 

Considering the development will be home to two seniors residences, the police services in York will be stretched thin if it ever became necessary for them to lock the development down to search for a missing senior. I spent five years with Metro Toronto Police Services, and was involved in a search for a missing women in Etobicoke. The police locked down and searched a single 16 storey apartment building with four external entrances and an underground parking garage, and it took 40 officers eight hours to execute the search. Imagine if you will the Slessor Square development with two seniors residences or approximately 500 resident seniors, interconnected with three floors of office and retail space, two large buildings and a recreation complex. I can only imagine the number of officers required to lock down and search such a large complex like that - 200, 300 maybe 400 uniformed officers. Given that York region only has 250 to 300 officers on duty at any time, I don't think our police force can handle a call like that. So additional officers will be required or lives may be lost. 

The Shrink Slessor Square Residents Group is proud to launch an online auction today.

For the success of our cause we need your participation!

Click here to browse the items, then scroll to the top of the page to register to bid.

If you have problems with this link, cut and paste this to your browser: http://www.charityauctionorganizer.com/auction/ShrinkSlessorSquare then select “Catalog” to browse.

Please share this note and spread the word!

Still looking for a gift for that someone special?

Use the ‘Buy Now’ option and you don’t have to wait for the auction to close on Saturday January 5th at 4pm.

No need to use your credit card.No payment until the service or item is delivered.

Bookmark this link, and check back frequently for new items!

Here is a sample of services and items on offer:

* Three hours of expert tutoring

* Free labour to paint the walls of one room

* A 4 wheel electric scooter

* Three hours of help from a skilled “handyman”

* Nordic Track Ski trainer

* Three hours of coaching on Word, Excel, or Powerpoint

What talents or “valuables” can you donate?

Or do you have any questions on this event?

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 905 853 0955

Now lets have some silent auction fun by clicking here.

Last night, Newmarket councillors gave the go-ahead to staff to engage outside legal and planning experts to help the Town resist plans by the Slessors to develop the site of their former car dealership, directly opposite Upper Canada Mall.

You can read the report from the Town’s solicitor, Esther Armchuk-Ball, here. Open the Council agenda for 17 December 2012 and scroll to the Corporate Services Report – Legal Services (item 11).

The Slessors are going to the Ontario Municipal Board, claiming the Council has been dragging its feet, unable or unwilling to make a decision on the matter. The Slessors original planning application for 29 and 26 storey towers will be decided by the OMB if an alternative proposal, proposed by the Slessors at the eleventh hour, is rejected by the Town.

The alternative – the so-called settlement offer - is just as bad as the original.

The Slessors are trying to squeeze as much as they can onto their tight 4.6 acre site. There is next to no difference in density between the original application and the settlement option.

Last night, Newmarket councillors made the right decision (to commission outside experts to help prepare the case against the Slessors’ monster development) but the debate was conducted in camera, behind closed doors, at the request of Ward 7 councillor, Chris Emanuel.

We were told this was to allow councillors to get candid legal advice from the Town’s top in-house lawyer before moving to the vote.

After an hour, the Council reconvened in open session but there was next to no debate on the substantive issue – the merits or otherwise of the Slessor development.

Instead, councillors unanimously carried a motion directing legal counsel and staff to represent the Town of Newmarket at the OMB hearing starting on 19 February.

A second motion, authorising staff to engage outside experts if the Slessor application goes to a full OMB hearing in April, proved to be more controversial with Dave Kerwin and Maddie Di Muccio voting against.

Cllr Kerwin did not let us into his thinking why he was voting against.

Maddie Di Muccio is never so coy. She tells us she doesn’t want the Town to get to a full OMB hearing. She complains she hasn’t been briefed on the substance of the application.

So she would be voting against.

No surprises there.

So, what next?

We shall be calling another meeting in January to update everyone on the latest developments.

And, in the meantime, we shall be preparing our own critique of the two Slessor applications, outlining reasons why, in both cases, they should be rejected.

Postscript:

Earlier, Maddie Di Muccio votes against allocating a further $38,000 to the existing $65,000 Glenway Development Applications Planning Consultant Budget.

This support from the Town is crucially important to Glenway residents and will help them defend their neighbourhood against the predatory outfit, Marianneville Development Ltd, who want to build on the fairways of the old golf course and change utterly the character of the area.

When it comes to the interests of developers and the interests of residents we know whose side Maddie is on.

Newmarket Council will be considering its approach to Slessor Square tonight (17 December) at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Municipal Offices, 395 Mulock Drive.

The meeting is open to the public.

The more the merrier.

Bill Chadwick, speaking for the Shrink Slessor Square Residents' Group, will be addressing the Council at 7pm on the dot so come along and show your support.

The agenda for tonight's meeting can be found here. Go to Reports of Committees and Staff, item 11 on page 2.

 

 

A terrific turn out at last night's meeting at Newmarket Public Library where members voted to turn Shrink Slessor Square into a non profit incorporated body.

Shrink Slessor Square is now well placed to champion the views of local residents who are opposed to Slessor's monster development opposite Upper Canada Mall.

The following members were elected to the Board: Bill Chadwick, Bob Leury and Gordon Prentice. Paul Popper has agreed to look after the accounts. 

Members donated $306 last night in $1 membership dues and in a hat that was passed around. Marvellous response!

Shrink Slessor Square now has 104 members who have paid their loonie to join. And they all have a say in determining our policy as a residents' group.

Over 180 people have also signed the Shrink Slessor Square petition. At the moment, there is not a huge overlap and we shall be working hard to sign up as members people who chose just to sign the petition.

We are open and inclusive and welcome everyone who shares our concerns about the Slessor project in particular and over development in Newmarket in general.

A note for your diary...

Bill Chadwick, on behalf of Shrink Slessor Square, will be addressing the Newmarket Council meeting on Monday 17 December 2012 at 7pm.

If you can get along to show support that would be great. 

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