Letter to Newmarket Council

April 22, 2013 at 11:50 am

Glenway Logo V1R

 

April 19, 2013

To:  Newmarket Council

Re:  Support for Councillor Twinneyʼs Resolution supporting the intent behind
Bill 41

On behalf of the Glenway community, we would like to express our appreciation for
your support of MPP Frank  Kleesʼ Bill 41 which passed second reading yesterday
and will go on to committee for further discussion and refinement.

We felt the discussion at Council accurately summarised our view of this bill in that it
represents an opportunity to raise the level of discussion and engagement around
the very important topic about flaws in land use planning that negatively affect
municipal councils and their constituents.

At the same time, while we do not find the Bill without flaws, we, as you after your
action,  support the intent behind what is trying to be achieved with it.  There are
possibly other approaches to take to achieve some positive change regarding the
role of the OMB and the wording of the Places to Grow Act, but we have already
heard years of back and forth around these very issues without seeing any concrete
action until this Bill came forward.  Given the urgency of the situation in Newmarket
and similar growing concern in other growth targeted communities, we feel the need
to show leadership and throw our support behind such an initiative without having all
the fine details sorted out, and at this point without detailed input from the Townʼs
Planning group.

As you are aware, the Glenway Preservation Association has written to the mayors
in Ontario (specifically targeted in the Places to Grow as intensification centres), the
Premier, and the Ministers of Municipal Affairs and Housing,  Infrastructure and
Finance, to further enlist their openness to the intent behind this Bill and secure their
support to find an all party solution which will meet the needs of so many residents
of this province who are being challenged by the way that some growth and
development is unfolding.

We believe that 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, needs and vision.

As we all now must prepare for the significant OMB challenge that lies ahead on this
Glenway file, we thank you again for your on-going support and look forward to
working collaboratively together to achieve a successful outcome which will involve
    sparing community from unnecessary development and maintaining the open green
space which the Town will so desperately need and value as Newmarket continues
its dramatic growth in the coming years.

Sincerely,

christina's signature

 

Christina Bisanz
Chairperson, GPA

CONCERNS ABOUT MANAGING OUR COMMUNITIES’ GROWTH PLANS

April 5, 2013 at 6:21 pm

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 To:  All Mayors in Ontario                                                                                                        April 5, 2013

cc:  Ontario MPP’s

 Re:  CONCERNS ABOUT MANAGING OUR COMMUNITIES’ GROWTH PLANS  

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: https://www.placestogrow.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4&Itemid=9),       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.    http://www.frank-klees.on.ca/CurrentIssues/PMB_PreservingExistingCommunitiesAct.htm   

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.

Sincerely,

 Christina Bisanz Chairperson, GPA