OMB supports development to move ahead – Phase 2 to determine to what this means

March 30, 2014 at 8:50 pm

To our fellow residents of Glenway:

As you are all now doubtless aware, this week ended on a very bad note for all of us when the adjudicator of the OMB Phase 1 Hearing ruled outright that development could take place in our neighbourhood, and, to add insult to injury, remarked that there should never have been any doubt about that.  To paraphrase her words, she stated that the Planning Act and the Growth Act already contemplated single developer applications which might alter a municipality’s Official Plan and allow them to add to intensification and alter any growth plan already underway.  She essentially chose to put this premise above the other text found in the various legislations which speak to the control of the growth plan falling to the municipality, and the decision of a municipality to locate growth where it chooses, and to equally choose where NOT to grow.

The adjudicator essentially blamed the Town for not acting on these lands much earlier  She specifically targeted Staff for not pro-actively assessing some key elements of the growth plan and refusal to determine the potential for these lands in the context of the Growth Plan.  In the adjudicator’s mind, the fact that Newmarket has been working towards its intensification plan (proposed, not actual development applications that easily exceed targeted growth) she took the approach that they were ‘out of compliance’ and as such, required to entertain these development applications.  So in essence, we are all being bulldozed by a process that clearly favours development and intensification over all.

So now that we are left with the cold reality that our Open Space will now be developed, where does that leave us as we move towards Phase 2?  At this point, we are not certain, but we plan on attending the Committee of the Whole meeting on this coming Monday to engage the Town Council in what next steps could be involved.  Throughout this process we appreciate the Town standing with us on this issue, and we look forward to the same collaboration moving into Phase 2.

The GPA executive will also be reconvening to further discuss what our options might be.  As we formulate our next steps we are open to your suggestions and ideas, as we are working for you.

Phase 2 will begin either the week of April 15 or the week of April 21 (after Easter Monday).  This will be confirmed soon.

Some initial actions we have already taken include the following:

  1. We have ceased our engagement with our lawyer and planner (for obvious reasons).  This means that we need to sort out with the Town how we remain a ‘Party’ to Phase 2, without having a lawyer speaking for us during the proceedings.
  2. We need to ensure that any ideas or wishes we might have with respect to mitigating some of the current development proposal, are championed by the Town on our behalf.  At this point, we are not certain how that will work.

Suggested actions to residents:

  1. We encourage people to get involved with the secondary growth plan process now underway, and the public meeting coming up.  We have learned that we can’t sit back and expect our Town planning staff and elected officials to protect our interests—we need to have a voice and influence at the early stages.
  2. Please continue to let the elected officials know that we expect the Town to be assertive on Phase 2 (not just throw in the towel).  Send them emails, letters and phone calls detailing your specific issues.

While we reflect on our next steps, we would also like to share in the deep disappointment we all feel for being swept aside to the curb as we were last week.  The look of our neighbourhood will never be the same. 

We only hope that what made this community so strong in the first place, you our neighbours – will remain to keep it so!