DEPUTATION – May 21, 2013
Glenway Preservation Association
Dave Sovran, Vice-Chair
Mr. Mayor, Councillors, Town staff. Thank-you for this opportunity to address you at this very important time in Newmarket’s history. My name is Dave Sovran and I serve on the executive of the Glenway Preservation Association, a group which represents the many residents of the Glenway community in their struggle against an unnecessary and unwanted development project targeting our neighbourhood.
Two years ago next month, Marianneville Developments presented their development plans to Glenway residents in a manner that, in our opinion, was intentionally devised to split the neighborhood from the outset. At that moment, many residents determined immediately that some sort of united action was required to counter this proposal, and the GPA was formed shortly thereafter. As a group we determined to approach this situation in as professional, and determined a manner as possible and learn as much as we could about the planning process, in the Town and the Region, and the Places to Grow Act and its impact on the many growth-targeted communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. We developed the theme of ‘Preserving our Green space’ because we believed that this was what both we, AND the Town believed was the right approach for Glenway. In the face of intensification and future development in this Town, we believe more than ever that this precious inventory of green space will be so necessary to maintain the quality of life, not only of Glenway residents, but of Newmarket residents from across the city as we grow to our 2031 growth targets.
More importantly- the GPA has had the opportunity to work together with many members of Council, and staff, in a collaborative fashion designed to better understand and address our current predicament. Chris Emanuel, our own ward councillor, has been particularly helpful, and it must be stated that we have appreciated that other councillors as well have been very supportive as we have worked our way through this process.
Now, without wanting to seem overly dramatic, we feel we have reached a watershed moment in Newmarket’s future as we work towards implementing these intensification plans. First, we need to ensure that Council understands this about our group and our community. We understand and support the need for planned development. It goes without saying that our wonderful community would not even exist were it not for some forward thinking individuals who created this first, planned urban golf course community in the early 80’s. And we support the overarching rationale of the Places to Grow Act which seeks to support responsible and sustainable growth while protecting our environment and limiting urban sprawl. We also note that this legislation acknowledges the importance of working with local officials, stakeholders, public groups and members of the public, in developing and approving these plans. Our Official Plan has conformed to this process and received its necessary approvals. The lengthy and iterative taxpayer-funded planning process that you invested in to create the Town’s Official Plan includes ample development opportunities and intensification in strategic areas that will meet the growth requirements of both our Region and the Province. In our view, it is a plan that is worth defending – not just for Glenway, but for all residents of this Town! Walking away from this responsibility is walking away from the investment we have all made in this Town.
Our goal is to see the fabric of our community retained – with the benefit of the open green space that has always been the critical component to the neighborhood and to the Town. Furthermore, as we project further in the Town’s Secondary Growth Plan and beyond, it seems to us that Newmarket is already underserved on a per capita basis with green space. Pave over Glenway and this will be lost forever. On the other hand, looking ahead to the time when our growth will have been achieved, the green space on Glenway represents an opportunity to be preserved for the additional thousands of new residents in this part of town alone.
This is a time where the Town and its citizens must look beyond the short-term horizon to view how the land on Glenway can be put to better use – and be designed by its own community and with its own vision of the future
At this moment, we are also concerned about the timing of events, particularly in light of the fact that pre-hearings could be scheduled as early as this summer, and we understand that the final planning report might not be completed until the fall.
Mr. Mayor and Council members, we’d like to leave you all with 4 points:
- We would strongly urge Council to continue to express its intention to defend its own Official Plan and vote to fight the Marianneville applications at the OMB, on behalf of all Newmarket residents, and furthermore to fund the appropriate planning, legal and other resources required for this case. We would like to work in concert with you in defending the Official Plan and the zoning by-law and to oppose the sub-division application.
- We believe that it is important that the public, including our Association, have timely access to all planning documents pertaining to this file.
- We believe this is a Newmarket issue and not specifically a Glenway issue and one that is strategically tied to your proposed Secondary Plan and further intensified growth that we will see in Newmarket in the future. As such, we would like see Council commit to taking a strong leadership role in determining the use of these lands going forward.
- Finally, we are concerned as a community that these critical discussions are now moving in camera and outside of the public view, thereby decreasing access to open debate, public discussion and input into key strategic decisions.
I thank you for the time you’ve given me today to speak to the concerns of Glenway residents. We know you have witnessed the passion and commitment of the neighborhood on this issue and we look forward to continuing to work side by side with the Town in fighting this application as it moves through the process at the OMB.