Council wants to control intensification – is this an election issue?

February 20, 2014 at 9:01 pm

 In the February 5th edition of “novae res urbis” Regional Councillor John Taylor and Mayor Tony Van Bynen discuss the desire for intensification and the realities of buildings as high as 30 stories in Newmarket. 

Newmarket staff is recommending heights of  20 storeys right away along Yonge-Davis while Councillor Taylor and Mayor Van Bynen don’t believe Newmarket is ready for this density and even if there is a market for higher density buildings of this magnitude.

One of the goals of the Secondary Growth Plan the Town is pursuing for approval in May is how much and where intensification is desired to accommodate the 50% growth projected for Newmarket by 2051 and the mass transit plans of the Ontario government is extending throughout the GTA.

Intensification is a very important aspect that requires following by residents if we want to achieve the potential for Newmarket given the constraints of available land and future mass transit plans.  This speaks directly to how the Town needs to work with Developers versus being told by Developers how things will be!

 An election issue???

Read the full article by clicking – “NRU Feb 5 2014

Please mark your calendars to attend this important March 4th Community Meeting

February 20, 2014 at 8:31 pm

GPA Mar 4th Meeting

 We expect everyone to come on out for the March 4th Community Meeting (CLICK HERE). 

We want you to know what is happening, 

 We want to hear from you any thoughts as we enter the OMB Hearing. 

 Read what Chris Emanuel has to say:

GPA Planner Report as part of In-Camera Presentation to Town Council

November 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm

On Monday, Nov. 4, Executive from the Glenway Preservation Association attended an in-camera session with Council and Staff, in order that our Planner, Nick McDonald present to them his detailed planning report on our behalf.  He also presented a critique of the Staff report which outlines our disappointment with the approach taken in the report by the Town’s planning consultant, a report which, in spite of our repeated requests, did not includei an analysis about why the Glenway lands need to be developed and why this development proposal fits within the Official Plan and the Town’s Secondary Growth Plan.   The Council had many questions for Nick and after we left, engaged in further discussion on what we proposed.  On November 25, they will be voting how to proceed.

 Our objective is to ensure that the Town demonstrates leadership on this issue and takes a clear stand to oppose the Marianneville application based on its failing to meet the principle of development.  To date, the Town has taken no stand and finds itself in a weak position until it does so.

Nick's reportIf the Town agrees with adopting the ‘principle of development’ approach, then both the Town and the Community will be united before the OMB making an even stronger argument in favour of declaring this application premature, and in changing the land-use planning around Glenway to a process which is led by the Town within the Official Plan process.

If the Town votes to mediate or negotiate an agreement, or to simply fight the application on technical grounds, we will see the developer run roughshod over the Council and negatively alter the face of the Glenway community forever. 

To help you better understand the details of the approach which we outlined in our last community meeting, we have uploaded a copy of the full report for you all to review.

Meridian ltr on Marianneville Oct 30 13(FINAL)nm

What Newmarket residents are saying about the Settlement Offer

August 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Our Ward 7 Councillor, Chris Emanuel, has posted on his Blog ( the Settlement Offer made by Marianneville Developments to the Town of Newmarket

Councillor Emanuel does a good job of providing a “simplified description” of the “Settlement Offer” but stops there.  No comment is made as Newmarket’s Planning Staff is “still in the process” of reviewing the original (May 22, 2012) proposal and subsequent details at this point and need to understand the net differenece in this offer. 

There are some obvious consequences and liabilities that face ALL residents in Newmarket if accepted as is.  We are making our own initial statement in a separate post and email blast to our residents so please look for this. 

From Gordon Prentice – Shrink Slessor Square

Glenway Settlement Offer


Created on Thursday, 29 August 2013 12:56
Written by Gordon Prentice

Mariannville Developments, the swashbuckling outfit that wants to build 730 dwellings on the fairways and putting greens of the former Glenway golf course, has published its “settlement offer”.

It is as toxic as a dose of anthrax and should be rejected.

Councillors should throw everything they’ve got, and more, into the marathon 8 week long OMB hearing scheduled for March 2014.

The settlement offer set out in the letter from Mariannville’s lawyer, Ira Kagan, could hardly be more disdainful or imperious in tone. (Ward 7 councillor, Chris Emanuel, who represents the Glenway neighbourhood, helpfully posts the details on his website.)

The blustering showman, Ira Kagan, who wants us to believe he has the whip hand, requires the Town to somersault at his command.

He insists Town staff present a report to councillors by November 2013 containing “recommendations” on whether or not to accept or reject the offer. A report without recommendations is not acceptable.

He stipulates that the Town must allocate sanitary sewer and water capacity for 730 units “forthwith” after approving this settlement.

Read more


A few more Public Responses posted to “Preserve Glenway” on Facebook 

The Glenway Preservation Association has been inindated with reposnses to our website email and Facebook site.  A growing number of Newmarket residents have posted the duplicate on our Facebook page.  I am certain you will enjoy hearing from your neighbours living inside Glenway and one of the number of residents not living in Glenway that share our concerns on preserving open green space, defending our Town’s Official Plan as the vision and growth plan for Newmarket and protecting our taxpayer dollars on contrary and costly development that satisfies only Develoer’s interests.

Read more

The GPA’s view of recent Settlement Offer to Town for the Glenway property

August 31, 2013 at 10:46 am

First, thanks to the many who went out of your way to both review and then submit some very pointed and specific comments to the entire Town Council outlining your objections to the latest settlement offer proposed by Marianneville Developments.  Also, an overwhelming number of residents have commented to us individually that after reviewing the offer they were not fooled at all by the negative impact this would cause to our community and to the Town.

As we realize that many of you are seeking an official response from the GPA to this offer, we have prepared one which will form the foundation of any discussion with both the Town and any media that might want to discuss this with us.  Our basic response is as follows:

‘Prior to receiving comments on their proposal currently before the Town of Newmarket and the OMB, Marianneville Developments has made public a ‘without prejudice’ settlement offer to the Town and also made it available to the Glenway community for our review and consideration.  On behalf of the community, the Glenway Preservation Association remains completely opposed to both development proposals that this company has made.  Neither of the two versions in any way supports the need and appropriateness to develop this property and go against the existing Town plan.   In fact, the latter ‘offer’ raises even more questions (and costs to the Town) than the first proposal which is still currently under review. 
We also encourage, in the strongest terms, that our Council’s  voices strongly oppose this.   At the same time, we (residents of Newmarket, our Town Council, the staff and planners) must continue to work on the vision of Newmarket’s secondary growth plan and ensure that it include  a vision of what our open green space could represent for the Newmarket of 2026 and beyond.
There are many issues buried within this latest offer but the bottom line remains the same as always:

Neither proposal addresses in any way why the Newmarket Official Plan and the planned secondary growth for Newmarket should be amended to accommodate a complex infill project imposed on a stable residential neighbourhood with zoned open green space, which we see serving a pivotal role in the vision of Newmarket’s growth plan.

We count on the support of all Glenway residents,  the people of Newmarket, and especially, those elected and employed by them, our Town Council,  to refuse to accept these development proposals which defy our Town’s Official Plan and fail to address the vision of the future of what these lands should represent to our future community.’

          Glenway Preservation Association Executive


April 5, 2013 at 6:21 pm

logo glenway



 To:  All Mayors in Ontario                                                                                                        April 5, 2013

cc:  Ontario MPP’s


Dear Mayor,

You may not know of the Glenway Preservation Association (GPA), a community-based organization representing thousands of residents in Newmarket, Ontario.  You will, however, be aware of the plight of many communities throughout Ontario with local municipalities whose ability to control their destiny is being severely undermined by unnecessary and unwanted development pressures.  We are writing to enlist your support in changing the course of growth  for its own sake, in favour of sound, community- and environmentally-friendly planning decisions.


The Town of Newmarket is one of 25 municipalities identified in the province’s Places to Grow strategy as an intensification corridor to accommodate increased residential and industrial growth by 2031.  While the Places to Grow strategy was designed to eliminate urban sprawl through planned development strategies, an unintended consequence is in fact causing significant distress within communities.  This is the situation that is occurring when municipalities, who have sound plans to meet their growth targets in ways that also address community needs, are being challenged by developers who are able to override municipal Official Plans by leveraging the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to counter the municipal council decisions, often using the growth targets to validate their claims.  This has a significant consequence for municipalities who are being robbed of their ability to manage their own growth plans without having to spend significant tax dollars to defend their community’s interests at the OMB.


The Town of Newmarket faces just such a situation.  Recently, the Glenway golf course, one of the Town’s last remaining open green spaces, as it is designated in our approved Official Plan, was purchased by Marianneville Developments.  Marianneville has submitted an application to amend the Official Plan, and turn this precious resource into a development of over 700 housing units.  The developer is justifying the development on the grounds that it will support the growth targets set for the Town of Newmarket. In actual fact, other planned development—supported by the Official Plan— will already more than accommodate our growth requirements.


Anticipating that a negative response from the Town will undoubtedly lead to a costly challenge at the OMB, our municipality is gearing up to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to defend its own Official Plan.  In addition, the GPA has been building its own legal defense fund, in order to ensure that the community has a voice in the OMB decision-making process.


We believe that this dynamic is playing itself out across the province in similar growth targeted communities.  While property owners have the right to develop their property within sound planning principles, we do not believe that property owners should be able to exploit the Places to Grow Act objectives by creating intensification projects inconsistent with community interests and needs.


There is a growing body of evidence to support the position that municipalities and communities are no longer willing to allow their interests to be overridden by developers who use their “deep pockets” and resources to appeal to an OMB that applies insufficient weight to community interests in its decision-making.


Recently, Frank Klees, MPP for Newmarket-Aurora, introduced The Preserving Existing Communities Act (Bill 41), which would amend the Places to Grow Act  ( Places to grow Act:,       to address this inequity.  The GPA supports the principle of Bill 41, and its objective to empower municipal councils to make the final decision about what their communities grow like, while also ensuring appropriate accountability of municipal Councils to their electorate for the decisions they make.  Further information on Bill 41 along with a petition of support is attached here.   

Glenway Greenspace

Exisitng greenspace for wildlife and healthy local ecosystems, for our community and our children


If you support your municipality’s right to maintain and uphold the integrity of your Official  Plan and your community’s interest against unwanted and unnecessary development, we encourage you to support The Preserving Existing Communities Act within your own municipal council, and with your provincial elected officials.  Feel free to invite your residents to submit their signed petition directly to the office of their MPP.  We welcome your response. Together we can make a difference in reclaiming control over the process of how we grow and evolve our own communities.


 Christina Bisanz Chairperson, GPA  



Press Release – Response to tabling of “Preserving Existing Communities” Act

March 22, 2013 at 9:57 am

Glenway Logo V1R




The Glenway Preservation Association’s Response to the Proposed

“Preserving Existing Communities” Act

March 21, 2013

The Private Member’s Bill “Preserving Existing Communities Act” introduced by Mr. Klees, MPP today, highlights the difficult situation that identified Urban Growth Centres face as intensification projects start to take root, especially if municipalities find themselves trying to defend their Official Plans against unwanted and unnecessary development. “Having to fight against powerful developers whose finances and clout far exceed the limited resources of municipal budgets demonstrates the real risk that municipal planning is simply a worthless taxpayer-funded exercise with no leverage to protect existing communities and their residents’ vision for the future of their community and neighbourhoods,” says Christina Bisanz, Chairperson of the Glenway Preservation Association (GPA). Homeowners are also denied the opportunity to experience appreciation in the value of their homes.

The GPA, a not-for-profit organization formed to serve as the voice of residents in the Glenway community is well aware of the context in which the province’s “Places to Grow” legislation came into being (in 2005), and of its intent to control growth and eliminate the so-called “urban sprawl” that was quickly eating up lands in the GTA without sound planning principles. Dave Sovran, vice-chair of the group notes that “as an organization, we support planned growth in Newmarket as being part of a healthy and responsible approach to managing the evolution of our Town. In fact, planned, strategic growth led to the original creation of the wonderful neighbourhood we live in today!”

The GPA believes that the Town of Newmarket’s Council and planners have worked carefully to embrace and conform to provincially legislated growth plans. The Town invested significant time, resources and public consultation to create its own Official Plan in 2006, which subsequently underwent review and approval by the Region in May 2010.

“We also believe that Newmarket, after careful study and projections, is readily on track to meet its planned intensification targets that were established for each urban growth centre identified in the Places to Grow strategy,” says Ms. Bisanz. “In fact, at this point we are already on a pace to easily achieve and exceed our 2031 intensification growth targets many years ahead of schedule despite the fact that our Town has clear land supply constraints”, she added.

Intensification Corridor

 “It is a fact, then that not only is any proposed development of the Glenway neighbourhood unnecessary to meet our targets, it is also completely contrary to the Town’s Official Plan and its citizens’ vision for the future of this Town”, said Mr. Sovran. The Glenway Estates development proposal put forward by Marianneville Homes is therefore unnecessary for growth targets and is a set-back to the long-term vision and future potential of the quality of our Town by removing precious green space and disturbing a long-established neighbourhood.

“Residents in Newmarket rightfully expect that Newmarket’s planning efforts, which meet all levels of Regional and Provincial standards, be respected. Specifically, we expect that the Glenway neighbourhood will not be subject to unnecessary, unplanned infill development. We have the right to ensure that the values that brought us to become homeowners in Glenway and residents of Newmarket, be protected and that our community open green space be preserved,” said Ms. Bisanz.

The GPA appreciates the intent of this Private Member’s Bill to raise critical awareness to the situation which we and many other Ontario neighbourhoods are facing, regardless of whether they are included in the provincial growth target plans. This is a time for elected officials at all levels of government to fine-tune the approach to municipal development in this province in a way which still maintains the positive intent behind the Places to Grow Act, and related legislation.

In conclusion, the GPA calls for an all-party solution to be developed to protect communities across this province that is being threatened by rapid, unplanned and unjustifiable development. We further call for amendments to an OMB process which can simply overrule municipal planning decisions and silence community groups which have meaningful concerns about growth plans being presented and carried out.

To see more information relevant to our situation in Newmarket, please go to:

Private Members Bill to empower Municipal councils on local development proposals

March 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

We are not the only ones fighting this fight!   The article below is being published in the Auroran and ERA banner this week.  Our MPP presented a Private Members Bill at Queen’s Park regarding an issue facing municipalities throughout Ontario including Newmarket.  That is:  strengthening the voice of  residents through their elected municipal officials and local Official Plan’s to control planned development.   

A press conference was held Thursday at 7pm at the Newmarket Town Hall where MPP Frank Klees made a statement regarding the intent of the Bill and would be seeking support from all parties before a debate on the bill as early as mid-April.  

In Mr. Klees message he stated that he believes even the introduction of this Bill will send a message to Developers that they need to work more closely with Municiplaties to satisfy their needs and not just rely on the OMB.  At the same time, local elected officials (and their Planning departments)  need to be held more accountable for planned development.  He stated that Councils that vote NO against proposed development knowing the OMB has a history of supporting a Developer is also a practice the Bill will stop.

This is a positive for our fight over the development of Glenway and it demoinstrates again that our voice is being heard. 

 For more information go to:

 Bill 35, Preserving Existing Communities Act, 2013 – Revised and reintroduced as Bill 41

 Frankly Speaking, March 19, 2013

Press Release – Annual General Meeting

February 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm


Glenway Logo V1R



 Glenway Preservation Association Marks 1st Anniversary with

Renewed Direction and Mandate


For Immediate Release

February 19, 2013

 The Glenway Preservation Association (GPA), held its first Annual General Meeting on February 12, 2013 to set its future direction and reconfirm its mandate on behalf of its members. 

 Ron Kassies, outgoing president of the GPA, provided an overview of the group’s accomplishments since its inception last April, 2012. The GPA is the sole incorporated and official association registered with the Town of Newmarket to represent the residents of Glenway against the development of the golf course and preserve the integrity of the “open green space” zoning of the property in the Town’s Official Plan.

 ‘It has been a real pleasure to lead the GPA the past year and a half and I want to thank the executive team, all of the volunteers, and especially the community for standing behind this important fight that we know will be won’ said Mr. Kassies.

 Committee chairs followed Mr. Kassies, with reports on activities relating to Town planning, legal and technical issues, communications and finance. The newly-established Fundraising Committee outlined plans for a series of events designed to raise funds to support the GPA’s plans to defend preservation of the Glenway lands at the Ontario Municipal Board, where the matter is undoubtedly headed.

 Following the announcement of Mr. Kassies’ resignation due to a family career move, the membership elected a new Executive Committee. Christina Bisanz becomes the incoming president, David Sovran the new vice-president. Lois MacDonnell was re-elected Treasurer, and Wendy Van Straten will continue as Secretary.

 Ms. Bisanz concluded the meeting by thanking Ron Kassies for his leadership of the organization, and commitment to preserving the Glenway lands. As the founding president of GPA, she noted that “Ron kept us focused strategically, ensuring that we established and maintained credibility and kept our approach fact-based”.

 For the future, Ms. Bisanz advised that in addition to continuing to address technical issues related to its opposition of the development, key priorities will be to raise funds, and recruit volunteers to assist with events, communication and fundraising. Bisanz also noted that the GPA will be challenged to continue to engage the community in a positive way. “We cannot allow apathy and disbelief to stand in the way of our fight,” she said. “The community needs to stand together to win, or face seeing this precious green space paved over.”

 For more information contact:

 Brian Gard

Chair, Communications Committee



Christina Bisanz



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twitter: PreserveGlenway

FAQ’s Glenway Preservation Association Nov. 2012

November 6, 2012 at 10:27 am

1. What is the Glenway Preservation Association?

The Glenway Preservation Association (GPA) was formed in 2011 by a group of concerned Glenway residents to give us a means to voice our concerns as a unified group and allow us to work with the Town to fight against any development of the Glenway Golf Course lands. It arose almost immediately after seeing not only the initial Marianneville Development proposal, but also how the developers presented it and interacted with the community.

2. Why would Marrianeville Development purchase Glenway for $9.9M if they didn’t have a secret deal ahead of time with the Town for development?

Every developer takes risks when purchasing land – sometimes bigger than others on some transactions. This is how developers can sometimes make even huger profits from some of their development projects. The Glenway purchase is one of the riskier ones where, if they can succeed in overturning the Town’s Official Plan, then they will reap a huge reward. Marrianeville Development has every intention to go to the OMB in order to win approval to develop Glenway. Whether it is the proposal they are offering currently or a lesser development they don’t really care about the Town of Newmarket’s Official Plan or what local residents want and have proved this in their actions.

The Mayor, Regional Councillor, our Ward 7 Councillor and the majority of the remaining Ward Councillors have provided verbal (if not written) objection to Glenway’s development. The GPA will continue to work to receive 100% support of no Glenway’s development.

The question really is what Marrianeville’s contingency plan is when they can’t develop Glenway! Do they sell it and move on? Do they try to work with the Town to come up with a WIN/WIN proposition?

3. How can they demolish the clubhouse if development isn’t starting soon?

Marrianeville Development owns the Glenway property and therefore has the same rights we all do as property owners. They can remove buildings from their land but that does not mean they can build a housing development without the change of Town zoning and bylaws.

4. I don’t live adjacent to the golf course so the development doesn’t affect me!

Development of Glenway affects all Glenway residents directly and all residents of the Town of Newmarket indirectly.

Directly, Glenway residents will see quality of life diminish based on removal of homeowner sightlines, introduction of transient forms of higher density housing, increased noise, even more traffic congestion and general construction disruption/pollution over many years.
Indirectly, all Town of Newmarket residents will lose open green space for community use, increased pressure on taxes for infrastructure, and diminished services. More importantly, the precedent will be set for developers to run our Town and its future development and not our elected representatives.

The chances that there will be a future 9 hole golf course are by no means guaranteed. In fact, the chances are much higher this will be Phase 2 of development if the current development proposal is approved. Another reminder that development affects all of us! At this point, they have only submitted plans that concern half of the golf course and so there is no reassurance at all that any substantial green space will be retained.

Many studies have proved that residents living in or near open green space have a stronger social connection, proven to be safer places to live and attract residents to live there – Environmental News Network, The Bodine Street Community Garden.

5. Doesn’t developing Glenway support the Province’s Places to Grow Act and York Region’s high density plans along the Yonge/Davis corridor?

No, Glenway is outside the density corridor that York Region and the Town of Newmarket Secondary Plan has identified. York Region is well on its way to achieving and exceeding its growth targets and so is the Town of Newmarket without developing Glenway.

6. Won’t my house be more in demand and the value increased with the development moving ahead?

Scarcity and not volume increases value of your home. We have seen this over the past 6 months with bidding wars for some properties. If anything the changes proposed for Glenway will make our neighbourhood less attractive versus other similar neighbourhoods. This quality of life factor could make your home less desirable to buyers.

It is proven that neighbourhoods inside urban cities that offer open green space carry more value than those that do not! –

7. More development, like Glenway, will bring in more local tax revenue and lower my property taxes!

It is proven that no development actually pays for itself. This is due to the funding formula and how the Region is paid for land. Infrastructure must be developed well in advance and currently York Region is $1,840 in debt per person and plans on collecting no more than 71% of that debt back through development dollars. [ed. please read this related article from Toronto Star ––york-region-putting-development-money-ahead-of-good-planning-critics-say]

What is true is there are lots of unknown costs to developing Glenway. There is also going to be increasing pressure on delivering the same quality of life residents enjoy today. The list includes:

· Who will pay the drainage costs of updating groundwater runoff? Existing neighbourhood relies on the golf course lands, trees and ponds. Some homes don’t even have sump pumps!
· Who pays for updating water and sewage of existing neighbourhood as more usage will increase obsolescence?
· Who pays for underground electrical infrastructure Ontario Hydro must install?
· Road widening, new intersections, traffic lights and traffic guards will be required.
· The developer wants the Town to assume maintenance responsibilities for private roads as well as the unique water system the golf course used for years within Glenway.
· School building expansion, staff and teachers for 730 new households (50% increases) enrolment. UPDATE: YRSB now demands a new elementary school to be included in the proposed Glenway development project. Definitely not a welcome change for Marrianneville!

At this point, the Town Council is working at keeping our 2013 tax increases at 2% (which might be 2% higher than some of us think it should be). This is without any unplanned development or infrastructure-related surprises. It is clear from the Marianneville proposal, that they have included many infrastructure changes which the Town will be responsible for as a result of their Phase I development plans alone.

8. Only developers win at the OMB!

Not true. The OMB is in place as a planning board and respects the Official Plans of the Towns and Regions in Ontario where they conform to the Province’s legislation and the Planning Act. Since 2006 there are Official Plans specifically created in unison with these guidelines. Town’s Planning departments play the key role as their approval/rejection holds the most weight in OMB hearings.

A decision to reject developers proposals by local government with support of the Planners and engaged community groups win in the majority of cases at the OMB.

9. If the land is not developed what will happen to Glenway?

The lands will still be the property of Marianneville Development. Any proposal or counterproposal that seeks to preserve as much open green space as possible will meet much less resistance and we feel will serve the Town of Newmarket as an important key to attract both business and residents over time.