Lesson’s Learned Report is Out – Now What?

August 1, 2015 at 10:13 am

We learned through several sources that the Glenway Lessons Learned Facilitator’s Report <Click to download> was released July 24th.  The report does not draw any conclusions but does represent the concerns, comments and suggestions from all that participated.  It was noted several times that OMB reform is overdue and was used as leverage by the Developer.  All represented groups (Town Council, Town Staff, Marianneville, GPA, Residents) have opportunities to improve the process/outcome around future development.

By reading the report you will note that the Town (partial comment list):

  • struggles to process significant development applications in a timely fashion
  • either doesn’t have a sufficient Official Plan/Secondary Growth Plan to meet the needs of future development or cannot defend itself and its planning at the OMB
  • needs to better direct Town staff/resources and manage requirements/outcomes including frequency of reporting
  • needs to better communicate/collaborate with the public and the development community
  • needs a better plan/strategy for mass transit/local transit tied to growth/intensification
  • needs to review “land use” of public/private open space to determine potential for future development opportunities.  We have a number of unfullfilled needs as a municipality.

 

Suggested next steps from facilitor are:

  • Town officials need to review and identify key ideas/straegies/initiatives regading what can be done better/differently regrading future development on Newmarket.
  • All parties to consider “lessons learned” session outcomes and determine implications for future action/practices.

 

Ward 7 Councillor, Christina Bisanz has requested the Town Clerk to include this report on the agenda of the August 31 Committee of the Whole meeting (1:30 – 4:30 p.m.) to unable a fulsome discussion of the outcome and implications,  by Council.

Let’s see what actions, responsibility and timing does move forward through the results of our Town Council.  Stay tuned!

Town answers more questions in advance of Lesson’s Learned meeting

June 18, 2015 at 9:01 pm

After finding out the Lesson’s Learned would not be the place to receive the answers to several questions that remained unanswered at the “workshop format” it looks like the Town will proceed with I reminded Bob Shelton we still want and deserve answers.  These answers were published yesterday on the Town’s website.  Here is a sampling:

1. Why were no Town staff called as witnesses to support the Town’s position at the OMB hearing?
Town staff did not play a role in reviewing the application and/or providing a professional planning opinion to Council. Council instead hired an outside planning consultant (Ms. Victor) to, in effect, act as staff on this application and to process the application and make recommendations to Council.
Council did not hire Ms. Victor to defend the Official Plan, but rather to process the application and provide a professional planning opinion and recommendations to Council.
Because staff did not play an active role in reviewing and/or processing the application (other than to provide administrative support to Ms. Victor), staff could not be called upon to provide evidence on the appropriateness of the application at the OMB.
In the event Council had not hired Ms. Victor and instead staff had made a specific recommendation to Council, staff’s position at the OMB would have been in support of the staffs recommendations in their professional opinion, and not just to support Council’s position. For example, in instances where Council does not agree with staff recommendations, it cannot then ask staff to defend Council’s decision at the OMB and it must decide whether it wants to hire its own professional planner (as was the case here) to defend its position.
2. How can the Planner for the GPA come up with points and a strategy to challenge Marianneville’s proposal and the Town did not?
At Council’s direction following the referral of the plan to the OMB, Town staff contacted 10-12 planning consulting firms, both locally and from across the Region, in an effort to find a professional planner that could support Council’s position. In addition to specific conversations with the firms, staff also provided background reports and Town planning documents for their review where requested.
Upon reviewing the application and the available documents, only one of the planning consulting firms was able to support Council’s position.
Although the GPA was able to find a planner to support Council’s position, the OMB was not swayed by that professional’s evidence and instead preferred the argument and evidence of the developer’s consulting planner and that of Ms. Victor who appeared at the OMB Hearing for this Phase under subpoena by the developer.

Having read these several times it seems that the Town is giving us the impression that it did everything it could and if there is fault it lies elsewhere!  As we were intimately involved in at least some aspects of the defence discussions for the OMB hearing this is a very mysterious and somewhat oblivious position to take.

This lack of openess to constructive criticism is a bad sign leading up to the Lesson’s Learned meeting – June 23rd from 7-9pm at the Newmarket Senior’s Center located at 474 Davis Drive.

I encourage you to read these reponses and the Q&A provided at our last public meeting and come out to the Lesson’s Learned and provide how you feel the Town should have handled better development applications and the OMB.

NEW LOCATION – Get ready for June 23rd’s Lessons Learned Public Meeting!

June 8, 2015 at 8:14 am

We hope as many of you as possible can make the Town’s Lesson’s Learned meeting – 7 to 9pm, June 23rd at the Newmarket Seniors’ Meeting Place, 474 Davis Drive.

Come prepared with at 1 or 2 things that made you scratch your head duirng the “process” that shout Why does it take so long to get answers and when we do they are generic boilerplated or Why did the Town not have a strategy or put up a defence of its Official Plan at the OMB hearing when that is exactly the reason it voted to fight at the OMB!

Check out the answers to your questions (Glenway Preservation Association Questions and Answers) from the last public meeting where the Town reviewed the OMB decision on Glenway and gave a glimpse on what actions are soon coming.

In preparation for this meeting a few questions come to mind:

  1. Who specifically from the Town has responsibility for development issues? External resources are used all the time and in the case of Glenway even an external planner was used. It was clear that a lack of direction was given to this planner to defend our Official Plan. This was the reason the Town fought the OMB on the Glenway file.
  2. Knowing the Glenway lands were up for sale as early as 2008 why didn’t the Town take steps in the 2010 Official Plan review to strengthen zoning by-laws or a long term open green space plan for things the Town needs to be a healthy vibrant community as we almost double in population the next 25 years.
  3. Why didn’t the Town know to address GO transit co-location as far back as 2004 when the EG GO Hub was opened. The GO Bus location was key in the OMB decision to intensify Glenway. Why wasn’t this part of Secondary Growth Plan with the hundreds of millions being spent on Davis and starting soon on Yonge Street.
  4. The Town couldn’t seem to respond in a timely manner to review the “completed” development application in the 180 days allotted. Throughout the process the Town didn’t have needed planning input from the developer to even deem the application complete for a review..
  5. Why wasn’t the Town more prepared with a strategy, expert witnesses,planning arguments and use of Town staff to defend itself at an OMB hearing?
  6. Will their be a independant Construction Manager that is accesible 24/7 for noise, traffic, work hours, debris issues, etc…  Too many problems have occurred that can easily be avoided if the rules are followed.

 

We should all expect responsibility, accountability and transparency when it comes to how our Town Council and Staff conducts itself on our behalf!

This is to be a Town-wide Lesson’s Learned and not just Glenway to better equip the Town to defend it’s Official Plan and to develop not just for the benefit of a developer but the Town in general – what we need for a healthy vibrant community long term.

We hope to see you there and bring your suggestions to the Town.

Residents questions answered by Town Staff

February 15, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Resudents had a good opportunity of asking any question on their minds regarding the OMB decision that was pro-development and what can be expected as the development project moves forward.

Residents received a good presentation from CAO, Bob Sheltonthat took them through details of what to expect since the OMB decision last April.  Details also came out regarding discussions on the west lands of Glenway.  We can expect a formal application for development of holes 13,17 and 18 in the next few months.

A panel made up of Mayor Tony Van Bynen, Regional Councillor John Taylor, Town CAO Bob Shelton, Commissioner for Development and Infrastructure Development Peter Noehammer and Ward 7 Concillor Christina Bisanz answered all questions posed from residents during the evening.  In addition, the Town pre-prepared answers to over 20 questions (attached – Glenway Preservation Association Questions and Answers)

If you have further questions please direct them through Ward 7 Concillor, Christina Bisanz at cbisanz@newmarket.ca

Call for Town led community meeting – we all want to know!

June 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm

We have been hearing from an increasing number of residents (both inside and outside of Glenway) on the lack of follow-up proceeding the OMB decision to allow for the development application to proceed on April 23rd.

For some time now we have been patiently asking and waiting for debrief on the detail on behalf of the community and remain concerned that important decisions that affect this future development are still being made behind closed doors.

The truth is, we find it inappropriate that up to this point, the Town is leaving the GPA to answer questions that rightly Staff and Council should be responding to.

Write a quick note reminding our Ward Councillor, Mayor and Regional Councillor you want this meeting in June!

Chris Emanuel – cemanuel@newmarket.ca
Tony Van Bynen – mayor@newmarket.ca
John Taylor – jtaylor@newmarket.ca

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