I get an email from Anna O'Rourke who speaks for the Slessor Residents Group. Here it is.

Hi Everyone
I just want to share with you questions that were brought up at the Ward 4 meeting regarding the Slessor project.  My response to the Town is in red.   I will update you again once more is known about the OMB Pre-Hearing scheduled for November 30th.


Newmarket's Senior Planner, Marion Plaunt writes: 

Hi Anna:

You questions have been forwarded to me for response from the Ward 4 meeting last week.

Please see the responses below:

1. We requested the FSI for each phase of the project and still have not received it.


The Slesser property is within the Yonge-Davis Provincial Urban Growth Centre in the Town’s Official Plan and within the Regional Growth Centre in the Regional Plan.  The Regional Plan establishes a minimum FSI for the Regional Centre of 2.5 FSI per development block.  In view of the fact that some development will need to be at  lower densities adjacent to the existing stable residential areas  and therefore generally a lower FSI; and a higher FSI next to Yonge and Davis to meet the minimum requirement of the Regional Plan, it is inappropriate to calculate the FSI on the basis of individual phases. 

We disagree that requesting the FSI on the basis of individual phases is inappropriate as the FSI for the Slessor project is being compared to the Davis and George condos where we have FSI's for the individual buildings. We don't feel that the comparison is apples to apples. Combining the towers FSI to those adjacent to existing stable residential areas is not appropriate. How do we know if the towers fronting Yonge St meet the requirements of the Regional Plan? As well, has there not been an application to subdivide the lot? As residents we request the FSI's for the individual towers and if the Slessor Group is not willing to provide it, then we request that the Town provide us with the calculations.

2.  We requested an 8 PM shadow study for the summer solstice and have not yet received it.


The Town may request studies that it considers necessary in accordance with the provisions of its Official Plan.  This request has been provided to the proponent and is being explored further by the Town staff.    

If the Slessor Group is not willing to provide an 8pm shadow study, then we are requesting it, as residents, that this study be provided by the town.

3.  We have requested a 5 PM traffic study north along Yonge Street and have not yet received it.


The proponent is in the process of completing a revised traffic impact study to address increased connectivity through the site as requested by the Town and Region, e.g., a  street along the southern end of the Slessor property that will ultimately  connect Yonge and  George, vehicular access through the centre of the  site to George, ability to connect to the north, central to the property.  The September 2011 Traffic Analysis addressed both AM and PM peak traffic impacts at  key intersections including Kingston Road and Yonge and is to be updated based on the revised concept.

Your response raises a multitude of questions and concerns. If there is a street created on the southern end of the Slessor property to connect Yonge and George, as well as vehicular access through the centre of the site to George St, how can you produce a traffic study on something that hasn't been built yet? One concern would be that any residents east of George St that use either Cardinal Cres exit to make a left hand turn onto George St would not be able to do so without a 4 way stop which would make a gridlock with 2 additional stop signs on such a short street. 

4.  Although the Slessor Group did present a plan to lower height, 16 storeys, we have not heard anything on the request to reduce density.


The applicant to date has not agreed  to reduce the density.  The current concept has increased the density from the original proposal of 3.85 FSI and  has increase the height to 20 storeys from the proposed 16 storey concept and a reduction from the Zoning By-law application filed with the Town  at 29 storeys).

Can you please clarify this answer? What is the FSI for the increased density and has the Slessor Group changed their zoning by law application from 29 to 20 stories?

5.  What updates can you give us on the OMB Prehearing and has the Slessor Group approached the OMB with the original application of 26 and 29 storeys?


The Board has advised us that the Prehearing has been Scheduled for November 30, 2012. 

The proponent is required to give notice 35 days in advance of the prehearing and notice will be provided to those that have provided written or  oral submissions to the Town as well as to all property owners within 120 m.

The purpose of the prehearing conference is to:

·         Identify parties that wish to participate fully in the hearing

·         Identify participants who wish to make a submission, but not participate fully (e.g., cannot cross-examine witnesses)

·         Identify the issues

·         Determine if the parties wish to enter into mediation with the assistance of the Board to settle issues

·         Determine the start date of a hearing and or mediation

·         Determine the estimated duration of a hearing

I believe you will  find the following link to the OMB Guidelines helpful in this regard.  


In response to the second part of your question, the proponent has appealed their original application to the OMB,  which was for a maximum height of 29 storeys fronting on Yonge Street and 8 storeys fronting on George.  They did not propose a maximum floor space Index.  

Can you please clarify this response. What does it mean that the Slessor Group has not proposed a maximum floor space Index? As well, it is confusing that the Slessor Group has proposed a concept to the Town of 20 stories, but have submitted their original application of a maximum of 29 stories to the OMB?

6) Mr Gordon Prentice requested at the Ward 4 meeting, the View Shed Analysis. This has been a previous resident request. Our answer was that as it was not a requirement of the Town when the Slessor Group submitted their application. As residents we are requesting this analysis be provided by the Town, if the Slessor Group is not willing to do so.

7) Dr Bahlieda also brought up the question of overhead wires.  We would like clarification as to why overhead wires are being installed along Davis Drive instead of underground as this has a huge visual impact on the streetscape.

I hope this assists, and Town staff continue to review the proposal to address the outstanding issues.

If it ever gets built, Slessor Square will be the highest and most intrusive development to blight our town.

Yet the Slessors refuse to carry out a so-called viewshed analysis to give people an idea of what their giant development will look like from key vantage points around town.


What have they got to hide?

Ward 4 councillor, Tom Hempen, tells me the Town’s planners have asked the developers

to provide a visual representation from public vantage points (not back yards) of what the sky-line would look like with the proposed buildings in the landscape.

The planners estimate the viewshed would cost around $30,000.

If the Slessors are so proud of their monster development, why don’t they get one done?

And take full page ads in the Era Banner showing readers what’s in store.

The OMB website has posted preliminary details of the Slessor pre-hearing on 30 November 2012.

It will be held in the Cane Room A & B at 10.30am at the Municipal Offices on Mulock.  The meeting is open to the public.

The case reference is: PL120906

An information sheet on “What you need to know about Prehearings” is on the OMB website.

It says, prehearings help to: 

  • Identify parties, issues and participants
  • Organise complicated matters
  • Determine what documents should be exchanged
  • Determine procedures before and during the hearing
  • Set future hearing dates.

Slessor’s high powered team of planners and lawyers will be displaying some pretty fancy footwork as they dance through all the rules, regulations, by laws, official plans and guidance which, they will claim, permit the erection of this monstrosity in the heart of Newmarket.

Seems to me this is one date with destiny we don’t want to miss.

I email Tom Hempen following his Ward meeting on 10 October when he asks the audience if they want to pay for a "Viewshed analysis" of the monster Slessor development. (see earlier post below)

The developer isn't playing ball. 

They don't want people to wake up to the fact that Slessor Square will completely dominate the town. It would be a disfiguring blot on the landscape. 

Tom has now agreed to find out the cost of doing one.

He just needs to ask the Town's professional planners. 

More to follow.

The Ontario Municipal Board will start considering the controversial Slessor Square project on 30 November.

They will decide whether its soaring twin towers will dominate the Newmarket skyline for a generation and more.

The announcement is made by Ward 4 councillor, Tom Hempen, last night in front of a packed audience at Denne Public School.

At the same time, we learn that promises made by the Slessor developers aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

Anna O’Rourke, who speaks for the Slessor Square group, tells residents there is still no sign of the shadow or the traffic studies that had been promised. And nothing more about density. No Floor Space Index either.

I ask when we are going to see the so-called “viewshed analysis” that would show the Slessor Towers from various vantage points around town.

People could then get a measure of their scale and mass.

It ain’t coming, says Tom.

He tells us the developers were never required to produce one. It’s not in the plan – though it is now or soon will be.

Another example of the stable door being closed after the horse has bolted.

I ask why the Town can’t produce its own viewshed if only to show people how this monster development will blight the Town.

That would cost money says the frugal Tom.

He asks me how much it would cost. I have no idea.

And neither does he.

Hands up those people who want to pay for a Viewshed analysis, says Tom.

Not a lot of takers.

Mind you, if you ask people on a show of hands whether Newmarket councillors should get $47,000 a year a lot of residents would sit on their hands too.

PS They’d be wrong to do so. We need councillors who are compensated for the work they do on our behalf. But we also need a viewshed on Slessor’s impact on our Town.