Working to ensure developments in our area are acceptable

Our Purpose

We are not against development in our area but want those developments to reflect the existing character of the community, not infringe on our privacy nor exacerbate existing issues such as traffic congestion on Bayview Avenue. We believe residents must be represented and involved along with other key stakeholders in the strategizing and planning of the development process to achieve a plan we can both accept and be proud of.

We have joined forces with other associations which share our purpose The three largest, impacted resident representation groups in the Bayview Avenue, John Street and Green Lane areas where massive developments are being proposed are working together.  Those groups are: - Aileen-Willowbrook Ratepayers Association
- Ward One South Thornhill Residents Incorporated
- Landmark Condominium Community

The Issues

• Proposals have been submitted to the City of Markham by Liberty Development Corporation and Hazelview Investments (previously named Timbercreek Devel.) respectively for five (5) condominium towers up to 35 storeys high on the Shouldice Hospital property located to the west of Bayview and on The Thornhill Square property for five (5) rental apartment towers up to 17 storeys and 90,000 square feet of retail space to the east of Bayview. Both properties are located just north of the Bayview and John Street intersection (figure 1)

• Prior to this, a Tridel development was reviewed and approved for the easternmost portion of the Ladies Golf Cub for two (2) towers of 12 and 14 storeys, consisting of 167 units,

• Liberty, Hazelview and Tridel combined would add approximately 6,200 residents and 3,200 cars to an already severely congested traffic issue. In the most recent York Region traffic study, the Bayview/John intersection was deemed to be at an E-rated Level of Service - the second most congested ranking. The approved and proposed added developments would move this to an F-rated Level of Service and make this intersection virtually impassable during rush hours.

• Additionally, as a result of the proposed northern extension of the Yonge Street subway line, the Ontario Government is proposing a new Transit Oriented Community built on land north and south of the Langstaff/Yonge Street intersection for ~200,000 residents over a 10-to-20- year time frame. While the premise is that these residents will largely use the subway system for transportation, there will still be cars employed for local transportation needs resulting in added traffic and congestion for Bayview Avenue.

• For proposed redevelopment areas such as ours in Markham which are not within 500 meters of higher order transit (a non-CRC/MTSA designation), Markham’s current intensification quota is 8,860 total units over the next 30 years and the city has hundreds of these non-CRC/MTSA areas to use to fulfill this quota. However, the approved and proposed three developments for our small area would give us a grossly disproportionate share of over 31% of the quota (figure 2)

• According to the York Region Official Plan released in November, 2021, the area does not, and will not, be served by higher order transit. Nor is the area within walking distance to Highway 7 Rapid Transit buses nor to any subway stations that will be established along the proposed Yonge Street north subway extension.

• The new Thornhill Square development (figure 3) would have no open green space except for a small parkette. The Shouldice development (figure 4) would remove most of the green space on that property. While Tridel will remove more green space from Thornhill’s ecosystem at the Ladies’ Golf Club adjacent to Shouldice on the north side, Tridel has addressed leaving sufficient green space in its development.

• Liberty will pay the city ‘cash in lieu’ to compensate for the green space lost to Thornhill residents. This is an unfair exchange of Thornhill’s health, safety, and ecology for dollars to the city and profits for the developers. The funds collected may be used elsewhere. • Services such as the Thornhill Community Centre are in over-capacity stress today and the added load associated with these developments needs to be assessed and addressed.

What We Have Requested to Achieve Our Purpose

The Markham Council should:

• Pause, through enacting an Interim Control Bylaw, or the like, all unapproved development activity in the Thornhill Centre area to allow a comprehensive Thornhill Centre plan to be developed.

• Form a Thornhill Centre Subcommittee with adequate representation of all key stakeholders, including the community [i.e., ratepayers’ associations and Landmark], special interest groups [i.e., those concerned with environmental and heritage issues] developers, Markham councillors, planners, and staff to develop an acceptable plan for this area-one that the area residents can not only accept but be proud of.

Our Actions to Date

• Fully participated in the June 15 Statutory Public Meeting on the Shouldice development where there were 46 in person deputations and 255 written submissions by residents, as well as a petition delivered signed by over 1700 families opposing the piece-meal review and approval process and the lack of a comprehensive plan to access the full impact of ALL of the approved and proposed developments in the area. This was followed by letters asking for a pause and an overall plan to be developed.

• Met with our area Councillor, Keith Irish, on three separate occasions to voice our concerns and request involvement while he was negotiating with Liberty.

• Met with the Shouldice developer, Liberty, where we discussed our issues with proposed height, density and structural aesthetics and presented to them an alternative acceptable to us.

• Attended three Liberty development reviews sponsored by our Area Councillor where our concerns were reiterated.

• Met with the Mayor to express our concern and desire for a pause and our involvement.

• The Mayor, Deputy Mayor, our Area Councillor, and other councillors attended the Aileen Willowbrook Residents Association Annual Meeting where our concerns were expressed as the major presented matter.

• Have toured the affected area with the Deputy Mayor, our Area Councillor, 9 of the 10 other councillors as well as the two Provincial MPs to discuss our issues and acceptable alternatives.

• Sent a formal request to the mayor to enact a pause and form a Thornhill Centre Subcommittee.

• Sent a request to the Chairman of York Region Development and the City’s Regional Councilors, asking for a new Thornhill Regional Traffic Study to be done for Bayview Ave. south of Hwy 7, recognizing that the previous York Region traffic study was done prior to any development proposals made for the Thornhill Centre area. • Deputations by the heads of the three residents’ association as well as by several individual members and other concerned residents were made at a Markham Council meeting reviewing planned Ontario developments for the Langstaff area.

• Have met with our Area Councillor and the Mayor on 9 occasions.

• Council has decided a better outcome will be achieved if it negotiates an independent resolution with Liberty for Shouldice.

• We have been told that following that, the three associations will be involved in a committee along with Hazelview which will be chaired by our area councillor to achieve an acceptable development for Thornhill Square.