Skip to content

Temporary recreational amenity may open on community housing site

Planners float possibility of pickleball court or skating rink on Bayview Parkway property in Newmarket until construction of affordable housing gets underway

The property for Newmarket’s new affordable housing development may offer a community recreational facility such as a rink or pickleball court until construction can start in 2025 or later.

York Region planners presented an update to the project at 62 Bayview Pkwy. at a community open house last night. The region's housing provider, Housing York, is working to construct an affordable housing complex on the site, the former home of the York Region headquarters.

Planners are still working out details but intend to develop an amenity space this summer for the now-empty property. 

“It’s a piece of land that’s been publicly available … It has this special place in the community,” director of housing development and asset strategy Melissa McEnroe said. “It just seemed more appropriate to have something in the interim.” 

The development has been in the works since 2021. York Region staff are currently preparing planning applications for the town to approve, a process expected to carry on for much of this year before detailed design happens in 2024.

Meanwhile, staff intend to develop a temporary amenity for the community, with ideas ranging from a skating rink, a pickleball court, a natural education space or a feature highlighting the area's history. 

The temporary nature of it means it does not require the same planning process, McEnroe said.

Resident Sandra Burke said the community had being using the empty property, with kids use it to learn things like cycling or driving.

Right now, “no one can use it, which is a waste,” Burke said. “We’re just waiting to see what they do.” 

The planners also highlighted the design principles and ideas for the building itself. The vision is for it to be a multi-storey apartment building, with the natural area around the property maintained. The region also intends to use passive house design features so that it produces low emissions.

Geoffrey Stone does not live in the area but said he attended given his interest in seeing affordable housing develop.

“I hope that it becomes a model for what’s going on,” he said of the project. 

Resident Sandra Turnsek said she is keeping an eye on the development. 

“We realize, probably, the need for extra housing,” she said, but added that there is “also the need for nature to remain undisturbed.”

Resident Cristina Orzales just moved into the neighbourhood and said she values the quiet space.

“I’m a little anxious as to what’s going to happen,” she said. “I know we do have a need … I just want to make sure that the plan still maintains whatever we have now.”

Regardless, the building is still years off, with expected completion by 2027 at the earliest. Staff have said upper government funding will need to come into place.

But McEnroe said she is proud and excited about the progress.

“It is the kind of housing York Region needs,” she said. “It responds to the community, it respects the neighbourhoods and the amenities around it and it provides homes for people who really need it.”

You can find more information and take a survey on the temporary amenity at