Newmarket residents could start seeing new trails on the former site of the Glenway golf course as soon as next year after a land donation four years in the making.
Marianneville Developments Limited officially donated 16 acres of land to the municipality Dec. 16 as part of the planning process for the homes to come on the property. The developer said that process is also nearing its conclusion.
Valued at $14 million, the acreage will be used as public green space, with Marianneville to develop a trail system there. Vice-president Joanne Barnett said though the donation was agreed to in 2017, the legal work took time. She added they hope they can start trail construction next year.
“For the past four years we have been doing all of the legal work, the appraisal, and all those things necessary to get this finalized,” she said. “I'm happy that it will be a public park and a public thoroughfare and a public trail system that will integrate nicely with everything we are doing there in the way of community building.”
The donation comes as the developer continues to work to develop housing on the Glenway West property. The developer plans for more than 193 dwellings in a new subdivision spanning 31.2 acres. The latest publicly posted submission last June included a new environmental impact assessment, an updated transportation report to address feedback, an arborist report and a hydrogeological investigation.
The donated lands are around the former 16th hole of the golf course. Barnett said that portion of the property was less suitable for development for houses, but worked for a trail system.
“They supported two stormwater ponds and segued nicely into the woodlot there,” Barnett said. “It was a nice fit.”
Development and infrastructure services commissioner Peter Noehammer said a due diligence process was undertaken, including environmental assessments, to ensure the land was suitable for the town’s use.
“The trail connection would be completed by the developer at a timing determined by the town. The trail design and details will be finalized after a public consultation process, in line with the Town of Newmarket’s standard processes,” Noehammer said.
The agreed valuation on the donation did not extend all of the Glenway lands, Barnett said, but the donated portion is at $875,000 per acre. Marianneville’s total land holdings in the area of town are approximately 140 acres, according to a 2017 municipal report. Barnett said the valuation was needed for a tax receipt.
The former Glenway golf course has been subject to a development struggle dating back nearly a decade, with ongoing pushback from area residents following the first 2012 application from Marianneville to develop in the area.
But Barnett said the company is moving into the final stages of the planning application process for Glenway West. The municipality has examined multiple submissions over the past two years, providing feedback, with a public meeting in 2020. She said the company has made a fourth submission that should be the last, with a final report going forward to council in the new year.
“We will be done at Glenway when that gets approved. That will be the remainder of the development plans,” she said.
Barnett said she is glad to have a good working relationship with the town on the project.
“New construction always has issues,” she said. “But we have had a very successful construction in Glenway, and we’re happy that we were able to achieve that.”