The future of a new GO station on Mulock Drive in Newmarket has gained some added uncertainty as the province intervened to change its designation in York Region's official plan.
The Mulock GO station was part of 80 changes the province made to the region’s official plan before approving it earlier this month. The Mulock GO station had been designated as a major transit station area, however, the province removed that and identified it instead as a future major transit station area.
Newmarket Mayor John Taylor said it is not entirely clear what the change means for the future of the station.
“It is, of course, somewhat concerning as it appears to downgrade the designation of that site,” Taylor said.
The Mulock GO station has stalled for several years, with the municipality working toward development along the Mulock corridor, despite having no set timeline for when the station could be built. The region's official plan now states that the Mulock station and other transit areas still in need of further planning would still get delineated. It said municipalities would work to identify density targets and establish policies for the future implementation of the stations.
Asked why the redesignation was made and how the province sees the Mulock GO station progressing, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs said the redesignation makes sense given the planning still needed for that station, along with the other future stations in the region.
“The minister has made a decision on York Region’s official plan, which ensures the continued prosperity of the local community and supports the long-term interests of Ontarians,” the ministry said. “The designation of some stations as 'future major transit station' was made in consultation with (Ministry of Transportation) and (Ministry of Infrastructure)I, given the status of these future stations.”
York Region chief planner Paul Freeman said the previous version of the plan amounted to greater protection for these lands “by identifying preliminary boundaries and making them subject to policies that would ensure transit-supportive development.”
Freeman added that the province changing the designation is a different approach, but “the intent remains relatively equal.”
Still, Taylor said the uncertainty of the redesignation makes planning more difficult.
“We have all but completed a secondary plan for that area to accommodate growth to support the eventual new station,” Taylor said. “It is now hard to know how to plan for that area given the uncertainty this change creates.”