The decision by developer Bob Forrest to sell the iconic Clock Tower building and the adjacent historic commercial buildings is great news.  

Forrest has been like a dose of anthrax to Newmarket’s historic downtown and the sooner he packs his bags and leaves the better. Personally, I’m fed up looking at his desolate boarded-up properties.

I’ve been writing about Bob for far too long. But I know from long years of experience that stamina is required when dealing with developers. They play the long game. They have very deep pockets and have time on their side. They can sit out protests and wait for people to lose interest and move on with their lives. That’s the way they win. 

Bob’s plans had been incubating in his head for years before we got to hear about his “concept” in 2013. And when Bob discovered people were less than impressed he spent another three years going back to the drawing board, amending, refining and tweaking his concept before finally throwing in the towel and admitting defeat.

The Town Solicitor will be giving councillors an update on the sale and what it may mean tomorrow Monday 29 April. You can find agenda item 5.2 here.

Bob’s allies

Developers always have their enablers. Forrest had an ally in the former Mayor – Tony Van Trappist – but, at the end of the day, support from the old banker wasn’t enough. 

At public meetings on Forrest’s development proposals Van Trappist would tell people they “would have plenty of opportunities to make their voices heard”. This is a tried and tested way of managing a meeting when the audience is hostile or sceptical or both. We didn’t know then he had already made up his mind. But there were plenty of clues.

The new Mayor of Newmarket, John Taylor, is cut from different cloth. He sees the sale as a win for the community on the grounds Bob’s departure will get things moving again in the heart of the heritage conservation district. I hope so. 

How did we get here?

Forrest bought the Clock Tower for a song in 2011. He spent masses of time and barrow loads of cash trying to get his development through. 

September 2016. The sidings come off exposing the original brickwork.

The Town’s senior staff spent endless hours discussing Bob’s plans, trying to devise a win-win that would increase density in the old downtown while protecting the Town’s built heritage. They wanted to accommodate Forrest if at all possible. And as a consequence, they were too slow to recognise that Bob’s plans – whether seven, nine or six storeys - would never fit into the old downtown. 

Forrest had a formidable coalition ranged against him – from downtown retailers to citizens’ and charitable groups like the Heart of Newmarket and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario who fought to protect the Town’s built heritage. Bob tried hard to seduce councillors but failed. Only the old banker took the bait.

In 1995 the Town passed a by-law to designate the Clock Tower as being of architectural and historical significance.  In 2007 the Town agreed in principle to establish a heritage conservation district and the following year work started on the Lower Main Street South Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Plan. 

Bob buys the Clock Tower for $2.3M

In March 2011, Bob’s numbered company 2259613 Ontario snapped up the Old Federal Post Office (aka the Clock Tower) for the knock-down price of $2,340,000. It was on the market for $3,275,000. In June Forrest gave a presentation on his “Clock Tower concept” to a closed session of the Committee of the Whole. 

In July senior staff reviewed Forrest’s Clock Tower proposal where there is talk about drawing up a balance sheet: Benefits for Town vs Costs for Town. Other meetings followed to discuss access rights, heritage issues and parking. The latter has always been a big issue in the old downtown.

On 5 October 2011 the Heritage Conservation District Plan was endorsed by Newmarket Council. 

In the new year things began to heat up. Mike Bryan, the owner of 184-194 Main Street South emailed Newmarket CAO, Bob Shelton, to say he was in the process of selling the properties and he was authorising the buyer, Main Street Clock Inc and its parent company Forrest Group, to “discuss details of my company's land exchange with the Town of Newmarket". He sold his properties to Forrest for $1,800,000.

Bob needed Town owned land for his project to get off the ground

On 30 April 2012 Forrest’s right-hand man, Chris Bobyk, made a PowerPoint presentation to the Committee of the Whole in closed session and on 7 May councillors considered a report on the Clock Tower and the proposed land exchange. At this stage the land swap was a complete mystery to the public. We would find out later that the development could only go ahead if the Town agreed to make available the land that Forrest needed. Senior staff and councillors danced around this issue for years, waiting for Forrest to lodge his planning application before deciding whether to do the land swap or not.

On 18 October 2012 Chris Bobyk told the Town’s planners Forrest didn’t want to go to the trouble of doing detailed design work on the Clock Tower until they got the OK from the Town that they had the zoning agreed and in place. Forrest’s people were also sweet talking so-called “community leaders” to get them on side. The Town’s senior staff were briefed on all these shenanigans.

On 23 October Forrest warned the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer Bob Shelton and others he could pull out: 

"We are spending money to work out issues with Heritage and BIA. The cost of preparing a complete application for zoning is far too onerous for us to undertake without having (redacted). Given that we have spent over $100,000 on reports and design, in the last 30 days, if the above is not going to fly, we prefer to withdraw right now." 

In November Forrest was again in discussion with senior Town staff on a myriad of issues including the difficulties he faced in developing the site and how he should go about consulting the public.  There were parking and heritage issues. He asked for their thoughts. 

One of Bob's earlier concepts. He thought this would fit in nicely.

Now we are into 2013 and Bob was again complaining about how much this Clock Tower venture was costing him. He said he was bending over backwards to accommodate the Town but there were limits. In January Chris Bobyk emailed Van Trappist, Bob Shelton and others to say they couldn't make any more concessions without putting the entire project in jeopardy.

“Our proposed density has been reduced in the current plans inclusive of height to the lowest point possible while maintaining financial feasibility for the project." 

On 3 April 2013, Bobyk unveiled the Clock Tower redevelopment concept to a sceptical audience at the Community Centre in Doug Duncan Drive. He chose not to mention that the Town’s heritage watchdog, the Heritage Advisory Committee, had voted against the proposed development. He said an application would be lodged with the Town "in the next few months". That didn’t happen. Bob wanted to get all his ducks in a row first.

Where is the Heritage Conservation District Plan?

On 30 April 2013 I urged Van Trappist to take immediate steps to bring forward a By-law to bring fully into force the Lower Main Street Heritage Conservation District Plan which had been approved by Council in 2011 but the enabling By-Law had never been implemented.The Director of Planning told me there wasn’t enough money in the budget to cover the additional staffing costs. 

In June staff presented a report (2013-29) to the Committee of the Whole. We learned that since mid 2011 Forrest had been considering various conceptual development proposals for these lands which involved "closed session discussions with Council on related property matters". They’d been jabbering for years.

The latest concept was for a development including a six-storey apartment building with 145 apartments and 6 retail units with a mix of surface and underground parking. On 17 June and again on 24 June the Committee of the Whole met in closed session. Forrest subsequently insisted there was an agreement in principle. The Town denied this. Despite repeated Freedom of Information requests the Town refuses to make the report and minutes public. 

Secret discussions to stay secret

The Town says publication of the minutes will give the game away if their negotiating strategy is revealed. They claim, preposterously, that this would imperil future negotiations if they show their hand – as if they always rigidly follow the same negotiating position.  

Boarded up shops blight the heart of the Town's heritage conservation district

“The information contained in the records is detailed, specific and describes a negotiating strategy that, if released, would prejudice the Town in future negotiations. The release of these records will reveal the Town's negotiating position and tactics and would impact the Town’s position in future negotiations.” 

The public finally learned that Forrest needed Town-owned land for the project to proceed. In August, a staff report recommended passing the necessary by-law to bring in the 2011 Heritage Conservation District Plan. All this was costing Forrest time and money and in September he took out a mortgage on the Clock Tower property for $3,000,000 with PACE Savings and Credit Union. 

Eviction notices

Later that month Forrest decided to evict his business tenants on Main Street South citing demolition and redevelopment as a reason, even though there is no certainty the Council would give approval to demolish. He wanted them out by 31 March 2014.

Forrest emailed the then Town Clerk, Andrew Brouwer, asking the Council to defer any decision to bring into force the Heritage Conservation District By-law. But the Town pressed ahead nevertheless and the by-law was agreed on 21 October 2013.

In November a report on the Clock Tower application (2013/55) told us Forrest wanted a zoning by-law amendment to permit a mid-rise 6 storey building with 150 residential units above 10 units of ground floor commercial and two levels of underground parking with 173 spaces. The underground parking would extend under the existing library parking and a portion of Market Square parking lot. 

We learn this development – one of a number of iterations - would have a floor space index (FSI) of 4.25. The FSI, which is a measure of density, would later become a controversial issue.

In November 2013 Forrest appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board saying his planning application for the condo proposal, deemed complete, had been lodged with the Town before the Heritage Conservation District By-law had been enacted. In December the Newmarket Heritage Advisory Committee calls on the Council to reject Bob’s development. 

Bob shoots for the sky with a nine-storey condo

We are now into 2014 and Bob still had not submitted a formal application to the Town. He was endlessly testing the water. In January, in a last-minute revision of plans, he decided to go for a nine-storey condo, up from seven. 

The statutory public meeting on 3 February 2014 was packed. Chris Bobyk said the underground car park could not be built solely on the land that Forrest owned. For technical reasons it would have to "spread out" and encroach on to Town owned land. People were beginning to ask why the Town didn't just say no. 

In March Forrest, conciliatory and brazen in equal measure, offered to extend the lease of his tenants until September 2014 and then on a month-by-month basis but only if all opposition to his project was stopped.  

Heritage buildings in the old downtown

On 19 June Bob put the Clock Tower and adjacent buildings up for sale. But no buyer emerged or he subsequently decided not to sell. We don’t know. In a bizarre twist he subsequently denied ever trying to sell them.

Forrest met Van Trappist and Bob Shelton on 14 August 2014 to discuss a wide range of issues. He made it clear he wanted a firm land swap deal. 

On 19 August the OMB issued an Order bringing the Heritage Conservation District By-law "into full force and effect" as from 31 October 2013 except for the properties under appeal (180-194 Main Street South). 

Town is “dysfunctional”

Now we are into 2015. Forrest was continually in contact with the OMB, updating them on the progress of his development proposal. Angry and exasperated, he branded the Town "dysfunctional". 

In May Bobyk had separate meetings with councillors - away from the Town Hall – to brief them on the overall history of the Clock Tower application and to review the proposal that was current at the time. Bobyk told Van Trappist he would report back on what happened, telling him what individual councillors thought.

By June Bobyk was becoming increasingly impatient and he pressed Bob Shelton to get the land swap issue sorted out in August. He wanted to know if the Town would be holding out for public parking spaces in the cavernous underground parking garage. He told Shelton:

 “the boundaries for the land exchange vary dependent on whether the municipal parking option is included or not. Need your direction soon.”

On 5 September Forrest told his business partners the land swap agreement was being drafted and that he already had the Town’s agreement in principle.  Forrest said he had settled on six storeys but there was a real possibility he could get seven with rental. In October Bob Forrest floated with councillors the idea of making the proposed development rental.

On 15 December 2015 the increasingly restive BIA Board of Management carried a motion calling for:

 "responsible development within the three storey height limitations permitted in the Downtown Newmarket Heritage Business District... (It) objects to and opposes any proposed transfer or swap of Town-owned Heritage land (specifically the land on or below the critically important Market Square parking block) by the Town to the Forrest Group or any other developer for the purpose of providing space to build an underground parking lot for its intended project, the construction of which would have catastrophic effects on BIA businesses." 

Boarded-up shop fronts

Now we are into 2016. On 5 January Forrest told his business tenants on Main Street he had been wrong-footed by the Heritage By-law and didn't see it coming. He said he would let his tenants stay where they are for a little bit longer. He said he worried about boarded-up shop fronts and how the Council would react. He told his tenants:

 “My business isn't renting stores. My business is building buildings and I want to get to the point that I can build my building at the earliest possible moment." 

In February Bobyk had more one-to-one meetings with councillors.

On 7 April 2016 Forrest applied for a Zoning By-law amendment for a seven-storey rental apartment building at the Clock Tower. On 11 April the Mayor, Tony Van Trappist, finally revealed his true colours, telling the local press:

 "The Clock Tower is a great example of the intensification we need." 

On 14 April the President of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Catherine Naysmith, spoke to a packed meeting at Trinity United Church on historic Main Streets and how they can be protected and yet still thrive. Heritage properties can be money spinners.

Later that month John Taylor declared that no land would be sold or transferred in relation to the Clock Tower site 

“unless in relation to a Council approved and endorsed development and only after the project has significantly advanced". 

A second statutory meeting on Bob Forrest’s latest plan for the Clock Tower was held on 9 May. First six storeys then nine. Now we are on seven. Forrest’s much anticipated slide show makes no mention of the land swap. 

Demolition by neglect. 

Speaking about the historic commercial properties he owns, Forrest candidly admitted: 

“The roofs leak. The roofs and floors sag.” 

This is demolition by neglect. In September the historic commercial buildings on Main Street showed their faces to the public for the first time in decades. In October Forrest released his "Project Landscape" document, allegedly addressing misunderstandings and misconceptions about the Clock Tower development. It made no impact.

Despite the planning paralysis over the Clock Tower, in November the Canadian Institute of Planners voted Newmarket's historic Main Street one of the great places in Canada.

Town’s planners go for a compromise

On 17 November 2016 the Town's planners recommended approval for an amended version of Forrest's Clock Tower development. They wanted Forrest's resubmitted planning application for a Zoning By-law amendment to be approved subject to certain conditions. The planners wanted the height of the proposed development fronting on to Main Street pegged to five storeys including step backs and the height on Park Avenue, including step-backs, to be capped at seven storeys. 

On 21 November 2016 John Taylor said he would not support a seven-storey development: “It is simply too large for the site and for the Heritage Conservation District". On 24 November Forrest rejected the planners' compromise and said he would ask the Council to support his original application. 

It is D-Day. The Committee of the Whole on 28 November 2016 heard from members of the public and from its own staff – including the Director of Planning, Rick Nethery, who conceded under questioning that the report before councillors was inaccurate on the crucially important FSI metric which is a measure of density. 

“There's no question that what Mr Wall was saying is that we're looking at an FSI that's above what is currently in the documents. We don't dispute that. That is a question of whether or not if Council were to approve it they would be so approving with that in mind.”

Instead of the document’s purported FSI of 2.9 the Clock Tower had in fact an FSI of 4.279 which would have given the structure the highest density in the whole of Newmarket. The Director of Planning allowed a report to be presented to councillors with recommendations for decision which contained facts he knew to be false. 

The Town’s senior staff subsequently tried to explain this away by insisting height and massing were more important than the Floor Space Index. But we now know the FSI calculation had been manipulated by including in the calculations the proposed development’s underground car parking. The Town’s Zoning By-law specifically excludes the underground parking area in the calculation of the FSI.

On 14 December Forrest appealed the Council’s decision to the OMB. Forrest’s lawyer, the silver-tongued Ira Kagan, said with a straight face: 

"The proposed development represents good heritage planning and good planning in general".

We all know that is complete cobblers. It is just a well-worn formula lawyers and planners trot out when the occasion demands.

In 2017 the Town and Forrest braced themselves for an OMB Hearing. And the Town threatened litigation over the ownership of the lands in Market Square. Both sides backed off. 

On 2 May 2018 the Town and Forrest agreed Minutes of Settlement saying they were committed to an “open and transparent process”. 

In April 2019 we learn Bob is going to sell.

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Regional Councillor Tom Vegh won the October 2018 election in Newmarket on a false prospectus.  

He made an explicit promise to the voters that he would build a new library and seniors’ centre on the site of the old Hollingsworth Arena which the Town plans to “decommission” in 2020.

Of course, Tom’s vote is only one out of nine on Newmarket Council and I took his pledge to mean (a) that he would strive to convince his colleagues to support his library/seniors’ centre plan and (b) that he had thought it through and had a proposition to put before us. 

Alas, instead of a plan we see a gaping void.

There is, of course, no disgrace in a politician arguing their point of view and losing in a vote. It happens all the time. But Timid Tom refuses to engage in debate. What’s he afraid of? 

On Monday 29 April 2019 the Town’s Committee of the Whole will be considering a staff report on the redevelopment of the Hollingsworth Arena site – which is owned by the Town – and the adjacent lands owned by the developer, Briarwood.

It is Tom’s last chance to redeem himself. (You can read the report here at agenda item 5.1) 

The staff report invites councillors to:

“endorse in principle the notion of redeveloping the entirety of the properties municipally known as 693 Davis Drive, 713 Davis Drive and 35 Patterson Street, in a manner generally consistent with the conceptual drawings entitled “Scenario 2 – Site Plan” and “Scenario 2 – Aerial View”, attached to this Report, prepared by the Briarwood Development Group, dated December 7, 2018” 

If this is carried – as I suspect it will be - it kills stone dead any possibility of the dual library/seniors’ centre that Tom dangled before the voters last October, enticing them to vote for him rather than the early favourite Chris Emanuel.

The very next item on the agenda (item 5.2) is a piece of puffery about the Town’s “strategic priorities” which reads as if it emerged from a sophisticated process but, in reality, it is just an expensive cut-and-paste job, re-hashing stuff that’s been around for a long time and repackaging it.

There was a discussion of sorts about the Newmarket Public Library but with no enthusiastic champion it failed to get into the top five in its particular “pillar”. Yet again it is not a priority for the new Council. 

And Tom, more feeble and hesitant than usual, is content to play the part of a spectator when he should have been speaking clearly and persuasively about his vision for a new library and seniors’ centre.

I’ve told Tom he can post a blog here on Shrink Slessor to explain how he is going to put his plan (whatever it is) into practice. He can write whatever he wants. 

He has done this before to correct what he considered erroneous and tendentious commentary about land he bought from the Town years ago in Silken Laumann Drive.

So Tom. It’s over to you.

Make the case.

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I see Newmarket Today has run a piece about Tom taking developers’ money to finance last year’s election campaign. Tom gets the money but what’s in it for them? My advice to Tom is to steer clear of developers’ money. It always ends in tears.

The decision by Bob and Colleen Forrest to sell the Clock Tower and the adjacent historic commercial properties should come as no surprise. Bob put the properties on the market years ago but, for whatever reason, he didn’t sell. Or couldn’t get any buyers.

Now we must assume he is serious. His heritage properties are in a disgraceful condition having been boarded up and neglected for years. Rotting from the inside out is demolition by neglect.

Colleen says the sums don’t add up and they cannot do anything with the properties other than get rid of them. But who is to say the Forrests will find a buyer at the price (whatever it may be) that they are prepared to accept?

The Town’s Committee of the Whole will be considering its next moves on the Clock Tower on 29 April 2019. It is an important meeting and a lot will turn on the decisions made. So, what should happen next? And what questions need to be answered?

1. Invite Bob and Colleen Forrest to the meeting to give a presentation and take questions. They can explain why they have taken the decision to sell and bring us up to speed on Colleen’s promise of 4 May 2018 that they would be bringing forward an “exciting new concept for this beautiful heritage space, a concept that will bring economic stimulus to downtown Newmarket”.  What progress, if any, did they make on developing their concept?

2. If the Forrests sell what responsibilities and obligations arising from the Town’s agreement with MSCI on 2 May 2018 will fall to the new owner? The lawyers will want to weigh in on this one.  The land exchanges have been completed but what happens if the Forrests can’t sell - or won’t accept a lower offer - and they are still the owners on 15 December 2019 when, under the terms of the agreement, work is scheduled to begin on the old buildings with shovels in the ground. 

3. Will we now have a report on the interiors of the buildings which have reportedly been allowed to decay into a truly horrible state? What heritage features from the interiors are worth saving? The fact that the buildings have been allowed to deteriorate so dramatically is not an excuse for demolition as some have mooted. Look at Bogart House which is to be brought back from the dead after an alleged heritage expert recommended it be demolished.

4. What are the Forrests planning to do with the interiors? They appear to be gutting the interiors. Is there an inventory of heritage features that should be left in-situ? Do they have all the necessary permissions from the Town? 

5. When do they intend to submit grant applications to the Newmarket Downtown Development Committee? Do they intend to ask for grant money for the interiors as well as for the facades of the heritage commercial buildings?

6. What works do the Forrests intend to carry out to make the properties ready for sale? 

7. On 4 May 2018, Colleen talked about the problems with getting a servicing allocation to hook up the buildings to the sewage and wastewater system. She told the press: “...the planned Clock Tower condominium building would be unlikely to receive servicing allocation until 2026-27”. Understood. But are there any servicing constraints on any new development on Forrest’s land which is now, once again, part and parcel of the Downtown Heritage Conservation District?

We shall find out soon enough.

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On Thursday (18 April 2019) York Regional Council will formally adopt its first ever Code of Conduct. 

It should have happened years ago but there was a lot of foot dragging. A Code of Conduct is a safeguard which protects the public from rogue councillors but it also protects the members themselves from unjustified accusations of inappropriate behaviour.

The Regional Council has had a number of bites at a Code of Conduct and the one up for approval on Thursday is slimmed down from the January 2019 version by the Region’s Integrity Commissioner (another recent innovation).

Code rewritten

The Integrity Commissioner’s Draft Code was sent away for a re-write and the new version, authored I think by staff, is half the length of the original and is much better in every regard.

It seems to tick all the boxes but you can never be entirely sure it will capture all eventualities. People are endlessly inventive when it comes to circumventing rules.

The most important statement in the new Code of Conduct is listed as its first guiding principle:

“Members shall serve the public in a conscientious and diligent manner that promotes public confidence and will bear public scrutiny.”

As a general rule, if elected members are happy to read a report about their activities appearing on the front page of their local newspapers there is probably nothing to worry about.

When severance doesn't mean severance

Before he was indirectly elected to the Chair of York Regional Council in December 2014 Wayne Emmerson had been Mayor of Whitchurch Stouffville for many years. And by virtue of that position he was also a member of York Regional Council.

When he retired as Mayor he collected a severance package from Whitchurch Stouffville reflecting his many years of service including 17 years as Mayor.

Emmerson said that he standing down as Mayor and coming off the local council because he was going to run for Chair of York Region. He couldn’t be Mayor of Whitchurch Stouffville and Chair of York Regional Council at the same time. He said that if he was successful in becoming Regional Chair it would trigger a by-election back in his home turf which would cost the taxpayers in Whitchurch Stouffville a pile of cash. He thought that would be a waste of their money. 

Emmerson, facing an electorate of 20, successfully stood for Regional Chair against Newmarket's John Taylor.

At the same time Emmerson collected a severance payment of $35,514.64 from York Region on the grounds he ceased to be a member of York Regional Council on election day on 27 October 2014. But he became its Chair on 11 December 2014. He was back on York Regional Council without having missed a single meeting – at the same time as everyone else who was re-elected - and with a wodge of dollar bills in his pocket. 

Severance, to me, suggests cutting ties. Going off and doing something else. Hence the rationale for the pay-out. But staying on and pocketing the cash? 

Ethical dilemmas

But I suppose that’s why we have Codes of Conduct and Integrity Commissioners to help us navigate our way through these difficult ethical dilemmas. 

Unfortunately, York Region did not have a Code of Conduct nor an Integrity Commissioner in December 2014 so it was up to Emmerson himself to decide what to do.  

The severance package is calculated according to the member’s length of service which means “any continuous period of service as a member”. The 1996 by-law was amended in 2009 to clarify the meaning of “service”. It means 

“continuous, unbroken service as a member.”

Severance has to be claimed. It is not awarded automatically. 

Perhaps it would have been more appropriate for Chairman Emmerson not to have claimed his York Region severance payment of $35,514.64 until he knew the result of the election for Regional Chair. After all, he had six months to make that call. 

If he had lost to Taylor his connection with York Regional Council would have been well and truly severed. No doubt about it.

But Emmerson had teed up the votes and won 16-4. And he collected his severance as a bonus. 

What Emmerson did was clearly lawful.

But ethical?

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5pm: Developer Bob Forrest is putting Newmarket’s iconic Clock Tower and the adjacent historic commercial properties up for sale.  

The sale is being handled by realtor Graham Purvis of Royal Le Page but the listing is not expected before June at the very earliest.

The agreement entered into by the Town and Forrest’s Main Street Clock Inc last year still stands and Forrest will be getting the properties in a fit state for sale. They have been empty for many years and the buildings have deteriorated markedly.

A report on the Clock Tower is expected to go up to the Town’s Committee of the Whole on Monday 29 April 2019.

All Forrest's buildings are within the Downtown Heritage Conservation District and the structures are protected - other than the old telephone exchange dating from 1957 (on the Market Square side of the Clock Tower building) which has no heritage value.

It appears the interiors are being stripped out.

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Update on17 April 2019: And this is how Newmarket Today subsequently covered the story.

I’ve had another look at the agreement entered into by the Town and Forrest’s Main Street Clock Inc on 2 May 2018 and have reminded myself that the “New Development Concept” is simply a shorthand way of describing what Forrest can and cannot do with the lands he owns. This is what the Site Plan agreement (attached as Schedule 3 to the minutes of settlement) says:

… AND WHEREAS the Owner proposes to develop the Subject Lands (ie the lands that Forrest owns) within the existing Official Plan land use permissions and zoning by-law regulations, and the development shall be contained entirely within the existing building envelopes and structure, with the exception of the following, all at MSCI’s sole option and discretion, (i) a ten stall parking lot (ii) the potential construction of passageway links between the buildings on the Subject Lands and (iii) the potential construction of covered garages at the rear of the Subject Lands, each as described in the minutes of settlement executed between the parties on the same date as this site plan agreement (the “New Development Concept”)

On 4 May 2018, Colleen Forrest told us:

"Main Street Clock Inc looks forward to sharing in the near future an exciting new concept for this beautiful heritage space, a concept which will bring economic stimulus to downtown Newmarket."

It never happened. We didn't get an exciting new concept. Just another 12 months of dereliction and decay.

The Mayor, John Taylor, first learned of Bob Forrest's plans to sell the Clock Tower about two weeks ago.