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Area development could be key to future Mulock GO station: mayor

Although Metrolinx has put the station project on hold, the Town of Newmarket is pushing ahead with its ambitious plans for the Mulock corridorĀ 

Although the Mulock GO station is stalled for now, the Town of Newmarket’s ambitious plans to develop the Mulock corridor around the proposed transit hub at Mulock Drive and Bayview Avenue are going full steam ahead with the first public information meeting in February.

Known as the Mulock Station Area Secondary Plan, it could be key to attracting a developer to build the Mulock GO station, since Ontario’s new Conservative government changed course last November and announced it would pursue private-sector partnerships to build new GO stations.

For example, the Mimico GO station will be built by a developer, who will pay for all construction costs for the main building, new parking and a greenway, in exchange for the right to develop above the station, Transporation Minister Jeff Yurek said in a November statement.

Allowing developers to build above transit stations in exchange for building new facilities around them will create mixed use communities around stations, allowing people to get to and from their homes and workplaces easier.

The former Ontario Liberal government first announced in June 2016 that the Mulock GO station was a go. It would be delivered under the province’s Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area agency, Metrolinx, in partnership with federal and municipal governments, the private sector and other stakeholders.

Metrolinx, the group charged with the planning, building and operation of GO Transit, UP Express and PRESTO, held a public information session in spring 2018 at the Municipal Offices to unveil its concept design for the Mulock and Bayview-area station.

However, that work and any future work on the Mulock GO project has been cancelled, according to a Nov. 29, 2018 letter from Metrolinx president and CEO Phil Verster to Ontario’s municipal partners, including the Regional Municipality of York.

“We are acting quickly to develop a stations delivery policy and look forward to reviewing this with you in the near future,” Verster said. “In the meantime, as we work through the details, the in-market Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Outside Toronto Stations (Innisfill, Kirby, Mulock, and Breslau) and for Toronto Stations (Finch, Lawrence, Gerrard, Liberty Village, St. Clair, and Bloor) will be removed from the procurement process. That cancellation notice will be sent shortly.”

Newmarket Mayor John Taylor said the Mulock Station Area Secondary Plan, which is in progress, will help the Town understand the potential for growth and redevelopment along the Mulock corridor. It will also provide a clearer picture for the provincial government and private sector as to the significant potential that a new GO station would bring to Newmarket and northern York Region, he added.

“We accept that the process may be longer and more complex than when the station was originally announced, but we believe this is an important opportunity to continue to pursue,” Taylor said, adding the Town continues to plan for an eventual GO station on Mulock.

The Town and York Region government are now in the process of gathering information to better understand the new model for advancing the station, Taylor added.

In the meantime, the public is invited to see an early draft of the Mulock GO Station Area Secondary Plan, which includes development of lands east along Bayview, west to Cane Parkway on the north side of Mulock, and an area on the south side of Mulock. The secondary plan excludes the proposed site for the GO station itself at the intersection of the railway line and Mulock Drive.

The secondary plan project will guide growth and development around the future GO station to ensure the creation of a pedestrian-friendly, transit-supportive community, according to Town documents. The lands pegged for development could include such things as parks and open spaces, trails, restaurants and small businesses, housing and even new streets.

To get a feel for what the Mulock Drive and Bayview Avenue area could look like and to  add your ideas, visit Hey Newmarket for more information.

You can share your feedback in the comment section or by taking our poll below.

The Mulock GO Station Area Secondary Plan drop-in public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Newmarket Community Centre and Lions Hall, 200 Doug Duncan Dr., in Hall 1.

Kim Champion

About the Author: Kim Champion

Kim Champion is a veteran journalist and editor who covers Newmarket and issues that impact York Region.
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