Two years ago tomorrow, the much-maligned Ontario Municipal Board gave formal approval to the proposed Slessor Square development.
I remember it well. The casually dressed adjudicator, Mr Reid Rossi, giving the impression he had a train to catch.
A week earlier (11 February 2013) Newmarket’s councillors voted in favour of the massive complex opposite Upper Canada Mall, explaining their reasons one by one. It made for fascinating theatre.
Dave “it’s pointless to consult the public” Kerwin feared any more delays could bankrupt the developer.
With planning approval granted, the old car dealership site, pitted and desolate, is now worth millions. The approval is, as the lawyers say, “attached” to the land indefinitely. Once given, it cannot be taken away. It sounds almost biblical.
In any event, this allowed the Slessors to drain $7,500,000 out of the equity.
We heard in October 2013 that the site had been sold, conditional for 60 days. That “sale” obviously fell through but there may have been other offers. Who knows? But the Land Registry records show no change in title. Dwight Slessor Holdings Limited remains the owner.
And still, day-in day-out, the huge red billboard shouts at us: THIS LAND FOR SALE.
To me, it is a constant reminder of our broken and dysfunctional planning system, infested with calculating lawyers and dissembling planners and presided over by randomly qualified OMB adjudicators with tunnel vision.
To see details of title open “documents” in the panel top left, navigate to Slessor Square 2015 and open “Slessor land registry 17Feb15”