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.