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.
“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: www.preserveglenway.ca.