Newmarket’s Growth, Intensification and Economy

Published on April 7, 2016

I find myself having many conversations with residents in Newmarket about growth. Some are concerned we are growing too quickly – others are concerned that we are not growing quickly enough.  There is a widespread misconception that Newmarket is growing rapidly.  The truth is that Newmarket now typically see’s growth in the 1% range.  There was a time when Newmarket had rapid growth of between 5-10 percent annually. Those days are long behind us.

Newmarket is arguably the first community in the GTA or Ontario for that matter to reach full build out (we have no land left!). We have two or three more developments in progress, everything after that will be intensification.  We have several approved multi-storey sites in Newmarket such as Yonge and Millard, Yonge and Davis, and Slessor Square.   The developers are looking at market demand and deciding what and when to build. And at 212 Davis we have the first new major rental building in York Region in over a decade.

The level of serious interest since the completion of the Viva Rapidway on Davis Drive has increased significantly and I believe that we will see considerable building activity in 2017-2020. This is, frankly, good news.  We need housing options of all types for first time home buyers, low and moderate income residents, and seniors who want to downsize.  A range of housing options is critical to meeting the needs of our residents now and in the future.

Finally I would like to point out that rapid growth is hard to keep up with and puts undue stress on infrastructure and the community so I am glad that the days of 7 percent growth are behind us. Having said that, communities with no growth or negative growth also find that the local economy suffers and local businesses suffer.  A modest but steady growth rate of 1-2 percent provides for local economic activity and progress but avoids growing at a rate that negatively impacts the quality of life we currently enjoy.

Reaching full build out is both a challenge and an opportunity. The greatest challenge it presents is to the annual town budget and the local economy. The opportunity it presents is to demonstrate to the GTA and beyond what a compact, transit supported, walkable, livable community should be and can be.  We have the opportunity to lead the way on best practices for such things as trails, cycling, parks, community spaces, and urban design.  I know that Newmarket will embrace this opportunity and continue to lead the way to a new sustainable future.