Here's what happened at the Special Council Meeting on May 25, 2020:
Addressing our current state
The last few weeks and months Council and Town staff have been dedicated to overcoming challenges with COVID-19. While our community's health and safety remain our top priority, it is refreshing and important to continue to progress on projects that will move our community forward and focus on our community's wellbeing too.
Progress on the Mulock Property project is a continuation of planning and visioning work that was well underway and committed to by Council. At this time, we are not making any financial decisions and will be reviewing our capital plan in light of Covid-19.
Reporting on public consultation
During the public feedback phase, we set out to engage a diversity of people, educate the community about the project, collect feedback, communicate design decisions and build excitement for the future. We spoke with over 3,000 residents!
Here's what we heard:
- Make it a destination that's unique but also accessible for everyday use.
- Look forward and consider how the property will be used in 50 years.
- More than half of survey respondents (62%) want to see programmed activities (markets, festivals, community events) on site
- One third (36%) of respondents specifically indicated they would like to see public art on the site
- There's a desire to enjoy recreation within nature. Most respondents (89%) want to see walking and running trails
- Incorporate educational opportunities and recognize diverse history in creative ways
- Maintain natural features (minimize hardscaping)
- Onsite parking is necessary but we need to explore and encourage alternative ways people can get to the site to limit the impact to the natural landscape
- While most survey respondents (95%) say they drive to local destinations, many were keen to look at other travel options for Mulock to limit parking on-site.
- Everyone agrees – there must be food available on site!
These are just a few highlights. You can read the full Engagement Report here (under Documents). As a special thank you to our residents, we created this video showcasing the wide range of ideas and inspiration from our community.
Further consultation with neighbours
During the meeting, the Mayor read six comments (deputations) from residents, including many who live near the Mulock Property.
Council agreed that the Town will conduct further consultation with neighbouring residents so they can provide their input on the future property and solutions to address potential impacts.
Moving into Phase Two – Design
Throughout the consultation process, five priorities emerged and will act as guiding principles for the project going forward:
- Make it a destination
- Root it in history while looking forward
- Connect it to town
- Keep it natural
- Make it inclusive and accessible
The main purpose of the meeting was to understand the community's feedback against technical challenges and opportunities and gather further feedback from Council.
Council discussed various elements for the property, such as:
- Creating an Art or Culture Hub or integrating creative art elements
- Inclusion of a water feature, that is interactive for all ages, not a splash pad
- Use of a skate path and its length
- Consideration to phase-in some elements a few years down the road
- How to enhance the natural landscape, particularly with gardens
- Connection to Jim Bond Park
- Parking options and alternative, forward thinking ways to access the property
- A structured community hub
- Bringing the house up to assembly use (e.g. adding an elevator, a functioning kitchen)
Council's feedback and direction will help to narrow in on elements for the consultants to consider as they move into designing three concepts for the property.
The project moves into Phase Two and the consultant team will soon begin developing three Master Plan design concepts that will eventually be refined to one Master Plan.
Design concepts will integrate elements from the five design principles, each based on an emotive theme, such as:
Council agreed that these plans will:
- Not include a full-sized outdoor ice rink
- Include a skating path in two of three concepts (which may be considered as a phased approach)
- Assume the house will be updated for adaptive re-use that offers flexibility for a range of options. The house discussion is now complete.
- Include Jim Bond Park, subject to further consultation with the property's immediate neighbours
Phase one is now complete and another significant step forward has been taken on the journey to create an iconic and celebrated community hub.
As the process evolves, we'll continue to seek feedback from the community. Visit HeyNewmarket.ca to read the Engagement Report, provide comments and stay in-the-know.
For more information, please view the staff report to Council available at newmarket.ca/meetings
For more information on other items discussed at the Special Council Meeting on May 25, 2020, please view the Minutes for the Town of Newmarket Council Meetings, outlining Council decisions, under Agendas, Minutes and Meetings on the Town of Newmarket website. To view live streamed or archived video meetings, visit newmarket.ca/meetings.