Newmarket’s Official Plan Had a Vision
The Province’s Growth Plan and the Places to Grow Act 2005 are legislation that help the Ontario government plan for growth in a coordinated manner, with the consultation of local officials and stakeholders to ensure the needs and interests of the communities are properly met. The Places to Grow Act also requires municipalities to bring their Official Plans into conformity with the Province’s Growth Plan, and there was extensive community participation as we developed Newmarket’s Official Plan in 2006.
In recognition of Newmarket’s anticipated growth, our current Official Plan distinguishes established residential areas that would permit only limited intensification, and areas that would allow more widespread intensification such as those along Yonge Street, Davis Drive and in the Historic Downtown Core. Our Official Plan envisioned that our mandated growth would be focussed along these corridors to protect our established neighbourhoods. That is why the Province is investing hundreds of millions of dollars building the VivaNext Rapidways to accommodate the growth planned in these corridors. Our Official Plan was approved by both York Region and the Province in 2008 and still remains in effect today.
The Developer’s Plan
Marianneville Developments Limited, the owner of Glenway Golf Course Lands, has submitted applications to redevelop their property in April of 2012 and has applied to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for a hearing to approve their plans. They are seeking to amend Newmarket’s Official Plan to build within what our plan has identified as an established neighbourhood and open space. The process to defend Newmarket’s Official Plan at the OMB will be lengthy and will incur significant costs to obtain the necessary legal and professional planning advice.
The developer has offered a settlement that proposes to build 430 detached homes and town houses with 300 apartments for a total of 730 new units. It also proposes to provide the Town with an option to purchase the remaining 57 acres for $5,500,000 within the next 10 years and will maintain the land for public access up until then. Details of the plan are available through this link: http://www.newmarket.ca/en/townhall/resourcelibrary/PlanningReport2013-47October152013.pdf
A Unanimous Decision to Protect Our Neighborhoods
I have stated repeatedly that the developer’s plan was not only inconsistent with, but also contrary to our Official Plan. After analyzing many arguments both for and against the Glenway development, I cannot support the application or the settlement offer as they currently stand.
I simply cannot ignore the promises we made to the entire Newmarket community, when we said we would accommodate our mandated growth within the emerging residential area identified at the time and in the urban centres along Yonge Street & Davis Drive corridors. Our Council’s unanimous decision to reject the proposal and settlement reflects our commitment to protect the interests of each and all of our communities. Our residents, not developers, should decide the future of our communities.