I see that Aurora councillor, Tom Mrakas, has tabled a motion on the reform of the Ontario Municipal Board which will be debated by Aurora Council tonight (8 December 2015).

He says his Motion asks the Province for much needed change to the powers of the OMB.

If it is carried, a copy of the Motion will be sent to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and to all councils in the Province. Perhaps our own Council here in Newmarket can follow Aurora's lead?

Before the last municipal election, Newmarket’s Mayor, Tony Van Bynen, vowed to make reform of the OMB the centerpiece of his third term but, so far, he has steadfastly maintained radio silence on the issue. He fears his own record of saying one thing in public and doing the polar opposite in private would be mercilessly exposed.

Parking Problems at the Aurora GO Rail Station

Elsewhere on the agenda (page 256) I see Councillor John Abel is concerned about parking at the GO Rail Station in Aurora. He says the parking lot is full “almost every business day”. He is calling on York Region to use money it got from the Province to introduce a new GO Station Shuttle Service which would encourage people to leave their cars at home. He also wants Metrolinx to discourage commuters from driving to the Aurora Go Station by charging a nominal parking fee. If this happens it will be a triumph of hope over experience.

The problem is, of course, only going to get more acute when Aurora gets its 15 minute all-day two-way GO rail service to Toronto and Newmarket languishes with its puffing billy.

GO rail stations offering a 15 minute schedule in peak periods are, inevitably, going to attract commuters from a wider catchment area. This was a point astutely raised by Ward 7 councillor Christina Bisanz.

At last month’s Metrolinx presentation to Newmarket councillors, Bisanz asked their Chief Planning Officer, Leslie Woo, if demand patterns could be expected to change if some commuters are drawn to the new Bloomington GO rail station on the Richmond Hill line. Woo told her the Richmond Hill line would not have the same frequency of service as the Barrie line.

Yet, confusingly, on September 10, in her presentation to York Region, Leslie Woo indicated that Bloomington would have a 15 minute service during morning and evening rush hours.

Woo can't both be right on 10 September 2015 and 9 November 2015.

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