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Upper Canada Mall gets go-ahead for dense area development plans

Newmarket approves plans projecting 5,000 new residential units in area over 30 years
2021 07 06 Upper Canada Mall
Upper Canada Mall

Newmarket council has given a green light for intensification in the Upper Canada Mall area to proceed.

Council passed an official plan amendment Nov. 22, incorporating a new master plan for the mall area. The plan envisions the area gaining more than 5,000 residential units over the next 30 years, with new parking spaces, roads, and parks to go with it. It also includes a 35 per cent affordable housing target, with a 25 per cent minimum.

“The new policies created by this amendment aim to create a new community surrounding the mall which will benefit future residents and the broader Newmarket community,” planner Meghan White said in a report. “The policies will achieve a community that is walkable and provides for amenities both public and private for Newmarket residents.”

The plan is four years in the making, which Upper Canada Mall Owner Oxford Property Rails Holdings Inc. started at the town’s behest to help with future planning. 

The proposal centres on Upper Canada Mall and its surrounding area. It includes several blocks of different densities, with buildings ranging from two to 17 storeys high. It will also feature 4,500 new parking spaces, 9700 square metres of non-residential space, mall expansion and new commercial uses along Yonge Street and Davis Drive. The plan will accommodate 8,600 people and 3,154 jobs, with a density of 382 people per hectare. Most of the new residential units will be rented. 

Councillor Christina Bisanz complimented Oxford Nov. 15 on its efforts to inform the public through meetings.

“They have been very receptive to being open to the community,” she said. “That has been very beneficial. There were a lot of rumours and ideas about what was being proposed, how quickly it was going to be developed.”

York Region will need to approve the amendment, but White said the region has no objections to the development other than keeping a 35 per cent affordable housing target. The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority also did not object. 

The redevelopment will occur in phases and take between 30 and 40 years, with the plan providing a framework guiding each part. Specific projects will still need to go through a planning process. 

Major John Taylor said it was important for the town to understand how Oxford would develop the area in the future for its own infrastructure planning.

“Some people are thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, those are big buildings, that’s a lot of growth,’ and it is. But we need to understand that, and we need to integrate that,” Taylor said Nov. 15. “That was the responsible thing to do.”


Joseph Quigley

About the Author: Joseph Quigley

Joseph is the municipal reporter for NewmarketToday.
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