Regional Councillor John Taylor and Mayor Tony Van Bynen are reportedly seeking a meeting with Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca to press the case for the proposed new GO Rail Station at Mulock Drive.

What will come out of it?

Very little.

As I have long suspected, the new GO rail station at Mulock Drive is illusory. There are no detailed background or other policy papers lying behind the circles on the map. I am told the proposal originated at the Region and it looks as if it was simply picked up by Newmarket staff and pasted into the Town’s planning and transit policies without a second thought. In this way serious policy is made.

So far as I can tell, there is no mention of the proposed GO Rail Station at Mulock Drive in the text of the Regional Official Plan. But there is a circle on the transit map at Mulock along with other proposed stations on the Barrie Line.

Mulock Drive gets a circle on a map in York Region’s Transportation Master Plan 2009 which is now being updated. But there is nothing in the text that takes the proposal forward.

Regional councillors were told in a report by region staff on 10 September 2015 that:

“Existing and potential future GO stations are identified in the current York Region Official Plan (ROP 2010) and 2009 Transportation Master Plan, setting the context for more intensive uses. GO train stations are identified as key locations for intensification in the Regional intensification matrix second only to Regional Centres and Corridors…

and importantly

“Staff are currently reviewing the priority order for new stations within the limits of the Regional Express Rail service on the Barrie and Stouffville rail corridors. On the Barrie rail corridor these locations are Concord (Highway 7), Kirby Road/Keele Street and 15th Sideroad/Bathurst Street.

The Mulock proposal, supposedly advanced by the Region, doesn’t even rate a mention in the latest “priority order for new stations” that went before councillors last month.

The report tells us that existing stations at Vaughan, King, Aurora, Newmarket (at the Tannery) and East Gwillimbury “provide for intensification opportunities”. The Newmarket GO rail station is designed to have very limited parking so I wait to see how the promised mobility hub study squares that particular circle.

Our next door neighbour, East Gwillimbury, is going to see explosive growth along the Green Lane corridor in the near to medium term. A year ago, Newmarket councillors were told that 21,000 people are expected to be living in the Green Lane Secondary Plan area by 2031 and a whopping 38,000 by build-out. This will have a huge impact on us here in Newmarket. Making sure the GO rail station can handle this population boom is an obvious priority.

The Metrolinx presentation to Newmarket councillors on 9 November is an opportunity for our councillors to stir themselves, engage with the issues and ask detailed questions about the momentous impact RER will have on our town.

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