Newmarket’s Mayor, retired bank manager Tony Van Bynen, has finally nailed his colours to the mast.

Van Bynen, so often a master of softly modulated equivocation, bluntly tells the Era newspaper today that the controversial Clock Tower development (which will blow apart the Town’s heritage conservation district) “is a great example of the intensification we need”.

Van Bynen is disarmingly frank. He believes the Clock Tower can be fine-tuned in a way that will apparently satisfy everyone – including the developer.  He says he wants the council to be given an opportunity to take an objective view but it seems to me he has already made his mind up. There is nothing remotely “objective” about the views he has expressed. He has staked out a position before the public meeting and before the Town’s own planners have submitted their comprehensive report on the Forrest application.

Van Bynen tells Era reporter Chris Simon:

"What's being recommended is that we go through the public process."

"I know there are a lot of people who have varying degrees of opinion about the clock tower. To make Main Street sustainable, we need to have intensification. The clock tower is a great example of the intensification we need. It's just a matter of finding out what is workable, in terms of being sympathetic to the heritage district. I'm optimistic we can make the clock tower work; there may need to be some fine tuning on how we get there. But this is the kind of invigoration Main needs if it truly intends on being sustainable in the longer term."

"Let's give council the opportunity to take an objective review of what's available. Let's review this within the context of what the objective of revitalizing Main was all about. The fact is there’s been modifications talks about the desire for the developer to find something that will work. We’ve learned through Glenway that polarity doesn’t help anybody."

I allowed myself a wry smile when I read of Van Bynen’s reference to Glenway. He doesn’t want any “polarity” or unpleasantness. Tell that to the people of Glenway whose once leafy neighbourhood is being chewed up by earthmovers, even as I write. Van Bynen never told the OMB that the Town had considered buying the Glenway lands in 2008. Must have slipped his mind.

As we all know, Van Bynen has never given an honest account of what happened at Glenway. And until he does he should steer clear of words like “polarity”.

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