To the BIA* meeting at the Community Centre in Doug Duncan Drive to hear Ward 5 hopeful, Peter Geibel, tell the downtown’s business people why Bob Forrest should relocate his planned Clock Tower development from Main Street to the tennis courts, a couple of hundred metres away from where he is speaking.

The room is as bright as a dental surgery and, for Peter Geibel, just as unforgiving.

Every Committee member gets a folder detailing Peter’s plan but there is no big screen to tell the rest of us what is in it.

Now the no-nonsense chair of the BIA, Glenn Wilson, gets things underway and Peter is soon telling committee members how moving the proposed development is a win for everyone. He says he hasn’t yet met Bob Forrest.

I can think of a thousand things about Peter’s Plan that demand an answer.

I expect lots of questions but, instead, there is a terrible listlessness as if members really can’t be bothered to engage with Peter’s Plan.

Ann Martin asks him where he lives.

Mayoral confidant, Jackie Playter, innocently asks about the Town’s position.

Peter foresees a straight swap – the Town giving Bob the tennis court lands and getting the Clock Tower lands in exchange. The three storey height cap would stay and the retail units at 184-194 Main Street South could be done up and used, say, by medical types such as chiropractors. The details, of course, need to be filled in but that is the general approach.

Instead of a robust and lively exchange of views on Peter’s Plan there is a studied indifference.

And that is a lot more difficult to take.

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*The BIA is Newmarket’s downtown’s business improvement area committee. The BIA met on 20 September 2016.


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