Council creates new Private Tree Protection By-law
Council passed a new Private Tree Protection By-law that will help protect Newmarket's tree canopy and support the Urban Forestry Management Plan that aims to grow and preserve the Town's tree canopy. Newmarket's tree canopy currently covers 28% of the Town and the Town is working towards the York Region target of 35% coverage by 2051.
Trees are a capital asset and provide many environmental benefits such as removing air pollution, providing shelter and food for animals, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing erosion and more. It is estimated that trees:
- Help avoid more than 200,000 cubic meters of water runoff each year
- Reduce residential energy costs by more than $3,000,000 per year
- Remove 40 tonnes of air pollution per year and store 35,345 tonnes of carbon
With the by-law in place, residents will be required to obtain a permit to remove trees over 20 centimeters in diameter, when measured at 1.4m /140cm from the ground. Property owners will be subject to a fine if trees are removed, destroyed or injured without a permit.
Once a tree is approved for removal, the resident will need to either replace the tree, or pay compensation in-lieu of the tree. The compensation amounts will be used to plant new trees and invest in programs related to expanding the Town's tree canopy.
All permit fees are waived until July 1, 2022.
The by-law has been many years in the making and is an important step towards creating lasting change as part of Council's strategic priority on environmental stewardship.
Ongoing community engagement helped to shape the by-law, including a final discussion with Council at the Special Committee of the Whole on January 24 and again during the Council meeting, which helped to fine tune the parameters of the pay structure and permit process to ensure the by-law struck the right balance in being reasonable for residents looking to shape and maintain their property, while encouraging property owners to find new and innovative solutions for preserving trees.
Staff will report back to Council on the project in 2024.
To learn more, watch the final discussion at Council on February 7 and stay tuned for the application roll out coming soon.
Town sets new standard in sustainable community building
Newmarket Council officially approved an agreement with Shining Hill Estates Collection Inc. that will build a sustainable community on lands municipally located at 16250, 16356 and 16450 Yonge Street.
The agreement will set a new standard in sustainable community living in Newmarket that will require the developer to transfer a minimum of 80 acres of environmentally sensitive land to the Town, as well as build a community with green and affordable housing options, including low impact development, new trails, dog park(s), a clubhouse with courts, the planting of 5000+ trees and more.
In addition, the agreement will provide financial support for a variety of Town initiatives, including:
- $1,000,000 contribution to the Town for seed funding to establish a Town Green Environmental Fund for initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- A total contribution of $12,500 per residential unit built by the developer that will be used for the green environmental fund, the Mulock House Heritage fund, the Town's Public Art Fund and for multi-use paths and active transportation in Newmarket, with an initial focus on Mulock Drive
Council also approved an Official Plan Amendment submitted by the developer to provide a long-term vision for these lands located in the southwest area of the municipally known as 16250, 16356 and 16450 Yonge Street. The amendment will allow portions of the lands to be developed for urban uses such as a mix of residential, institutional, commercial, office, parks and open spaces uses.
Click to view a copy of the full agreement.
Newmarket Council calls on York Region to increase intensification rate in Draft Regional Official Plan
Newmarket Council received a presentation on the Draft York Region Official Plan (ROP). The ROP provides strategic direction for growth, development and intensification in the region through to 2051.
For Newmarket, the draft OP includes:
- Target population of 115,900 and employment of 58,500
- Intensification target of 11,100 units between 2016 and 2051
- 12 Major Transit Station Area
The designation of Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) is new to the Region's OP and represents the area around existing and planned transit stations or major bus stops, outlining an approximate 10-minute walk radius. Density targets are set for these areas, ranging from 150 to 250 people and jobs per hectare. Members of Council expressed a need for more details on this element of the plan and called on interested community stakeholders and residents to reach out to their Ward Councillor, or Regional Councillor to share input.
As part of the public consultation on the draft ROP, the municipal Councils within York Region are asked to provide feedback. Newmarket Council responded to the draft ROP, requesting York Region to target a minimum 55-60% intensification rate when it revises its Official Plan this year. The current York Region plan proposed a phased 50 – 55% intensification rate (50% until 2041, 55% from 2041 to 2051). Currently, Newmarket has an 85% intensification rate.
Residents can get involved now on York Region's website or in May when a Statutory Public Meeting is expected.
Regional staff are targeting to bring the final Regional Official Plan to Regional Council for adoption in June before proceeding through provincial approvals in July.
The Town of Newmarket's Official Plan review will follow the Regional OP approval to ensure conformity.