Welcome to Spring!
RORA kicked off the season with the return of its Earth Day Community Park Clean Up on April 23, 2023. Thanks a ton to all who helped us clean up Royal Orchard Park. Dozens of families came out. Together, we collected what seems like a ton of garbage: over 70 bags! What did we find? Too many bags of dog poop, household and yard waste, even a car bumper. There are trash cans at the park entrances. The park belongs to all of us. Please help us protect and preserve this important greenspace.
Special thanks to Cuda Real Estate who donated Starbucks gift cards to participants. Once again, Royal Orchard residents demonstrate their strong pride and commitment to keeping our community healthy, liveable and safe.
Development Proposals: 8127 and 8149 Yonge Street
On March 28, 2023, at the City of Markham Development Service Meeting, RORA represented residents’ concerns for the scope and scale of this development proposal and for its timing before the Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE) has even begun construction.
The proposal calls for two 40-storey high-rise residential towers above a 7-storey podium, and nine 3-storey townhouse units; a total of 865 residential units. There are also four-levels of below grade parking, limited surface parking, outdoor and indoor amenity space, and vehicle and pedestrian access to Yonge Street.
RORA’s deputations and written submission highlighted concerns with:
Reducing the liveability of the community: During the 3 to 5 years of construction, grocery, drug stores, banks and other important services will be shuttered. This development and the proposal for 10 Royal Orchard Blvd will leave residents, including many seniors, with nowhere within walking distance to go for essentials.
Lack of a broader planning framework: Where is the Secondary/Master Plan for this area that outlines the bigger future development picture? The City of Markham is asking the public to comment on these plans in isolation. First 10 Royal Orchard Blvd. and now 8127 and 8149 Yonge St. – without any understanding of how they fit with the vision for sustaining a complete community.
Problematic height and density: Two 40 storey towers crammed into a 1.76-acre parcel of land surrounded by single family homes is not in keeping with community character. This proposal plans to bring 865 units to a space where none exist now. Not one of the developers’ documents reference affordable or family size units (aside from the nine townhomes which likely will not be feasible for young families).
Impact on existing and future community services and facilities: There is no mention of the impact of these units on the local schools or other existing community infrastructure and no mention of future community services or facility needs. Between 10 Royal Orchard and this application, there are 2,425 new units proposed, adding 3,500 to 4,500 new residents. Further, there is no park planned, merely an outdoor amenity area of 405 m2 (or about the size of one 40x110 ft Royal Orchard property) where 865 units are to experience the outdoors (equivalent to <0.5 m2 per unit).
Impact on transportation and traffic management: Parking has been significantly reduced by the developer. If construction is completed before the YNSE, residents will continue to embrace their cars. How will the additional vehicle traffic be managed? Where will be the parking overflow? On neighbouring streets?
Ensuring community benefits charges: It is imperative that the developers be subject to community benefits charges to address the increased need for services and infrastructure.
Information on active development proposals in Ward 1 can be found on Councillor Irish’s website.
Councillor Irish has met with the developers who have indicated they will bring forward some modifications to their proposals. Once that occurs, our councillor will hold a Community Information Meeting. We encourage residents to continue to raise their concerns with Markham Council and/or Mr. Nusrat Omer, Senior Planner. Refer to application number PLAN 22 253004).
Engagement with Metrolinx
On April 27, 2023, the Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, announced the release of the Advance Tunnel Contract Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the YNSE. The Advance Tunnelling RFQ offers interested companies an opportunity to be included in the bidding process by asking them to present their qualifications and construction expertise. This is a precursor to the actual tendering/procurement process and enables Metrolinx to build a pool of qualified proponents. The Advance Tunnel Contract includes designing the tunnels and building the launch and extraction shafts that will be used for the tunnel boring machines. It also includes the design and construction of headwalls for stations and emergency exit buildings.
Many thanks to residents who provided feedback to Metrolinx’s Qs and As from the November 2022 Town Hall. We will be providing your questions and comments to Metrolinx. We are working with Metrolinx to hold a virtual event to go over residents’ feedback and provide updates to the YNSE planning including the recently announced RFQ process. Another in-person Town Hall is being planned for Fall.
Volunteer Call Out
We are in particular need of volunteers with website design and management skills to help us refresh and maintain our website.
Ask your neighbours if they know about RORA – introduce us so that we can keep everyone in our community informed and engaged.