Councillor warns mixed-use downtown ‘in jeopardy’

The most recent version of the Markham Centre Secondary Plan (MCSP) – the city’s long-term vision for a vibrant, intensive, mixed-use downtown – is “definitely a good step forward” but remains “in jeopardy” because of outstanding issues surrounding its mobility hub, a councillor warns.

“There are many stakeholders in the mobility hub and there has been only limited agreement among them, despite many years of effort to resolve the issues,” Ward 3 Councillor Reid McAlpine says in a newsletter to constituents issued in advance of the Development Services Committee of Council on February 8.

Councillor Reid McAlpine

“The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario has been particularly uncooperative, though there have been faint signs of movement from that direction recently. The whole MCSP is in jeopardy without resolving the mobility hub issue,” says McAlpine. He also voiced concerns about the total target number of residents in the MCSP.

Metrolinx, the regional planning transportation agency, has identified 51 mobility hubs in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area under The Big Move. A mobility hub is a location that has several transportation options and is a concentrated point for a mix of uses, such as transit, employment, housing, recreation and shopping. Mobility hubs will be neighbourhoods that are environmentally friendly, infrastructure efficient, walkable, bikeable and transit oriented.

Markham Centre mobility hub is centred around Unionville GO station in an area served by GO Transit’s Stouffville regional rail line, York Region Transit/Viva’s local and rapid transit buses, and the proposed 407 Transitway bus services. They will come together “in the middle of a dense neighbourhood,” McAlpine says.

The MCSP is also being criticized by some developers who are reportedly unhappy with building height limits suggested by city consultants, Deputy Mayor Don Hamilton said in his newsletter.

The city has reported it’s updating the MCSP to ensure Markham Centre continues to grow and evolve as a complete and integrated community and has held several pop-up and virtual meetings for community feedback. The preliminary concept presented at DSC on Februrary 8 showed 101,000 people and 55,000 jobs.


Photo: Unionville GO Station. Photo from GO Transit website. 

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