The Precinct Master Plan is a strategic vision for the Main Street Unionville area. It envisions how this area could develop over the next 20 years. The various individual focus area proposals are concepts and are the approaches recommended by the consulting team after extensive consultation with civic officials, property owners and members of the public. It should be clear that these concepts have not been approved. To implement any of the individual proposals will require further planning approvals such as official plan and zoning by-law amendments, and site plan approval. Council may also direct staff to prepare a new Secondary Plan for this area to provide further guidance on some or all of the concepts included in the Master Plan.
The City has received the recommendations of Robert Gibbs (the retail consultant for this study) in a response to a survey developed by staff on the retail and restaurant issue. The consultant team’s recommendation is to remove the restrictions on certain types of restaurants, allow additional uses and monitor the results regularly. The City is preparing a report to Markham Council on this issue, which is tentatively scheduled for the Development Services Committee on December 3. If Council chooses to deviate from its current land use policies, a statutory public meeting will be called to consider amendments to the Unionville Core Area Secondary Plan and the applicable zoning by-law.
Yes, they will be developed to a similar extent as the other focus areas, and a public meeting will be held to present them.
The Main Street Core is the historic centrepiece of the area. The consultant has recommended reinforcing the anchors at the north and south ends of the street in the Stiver Area and Crosby Community Centre and Village Square focus areas. In addition, a streetscape master plan concept has been developed from the tracks to the Varley Art Gallery, detailing upgrades to the public realm, lot by lot. This plan include the concept of a creating a mid-point plaza where the public stairway is, offering centrally located washrooms and an accessibility lift. Typically, streetscape master plans are an effective way to reinvigorate and revitalize main street neighbourhoods.
During the charrette, the Consultant did explore this concept with representatives of the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) and residents. Although YRDSB was open to considering the idea of a public/private venture to reconfigure its property in relation to a road extension, no specific approaches were agreed to. Since the charrette, there has been considerable feedback from residents and parents.
One of the central tenets of good planning is the principle of connectivity. Maximizing road connectivity distributes traffic across a broader range of roads; in turn, this reduces volume on any single road. For example, the Fonthill Blvd. connection to Carlton would reduce traffic on Main Street. It would also provide the flexibility to close Main Street to vehicular traffic when appropriate and yet allow the area to maintain an adequate N/S movement around the core. It would also provide additional on-street parking for the core.
The Preferred Master Plan will not recommend the road extension, and the plan is in no way dependent on the Fonthill extension. However, the Plan will show the connection as an alternate. The master plan is a 20-year vision and Parkview is an older school that likely will change over time, perhaps being consolidated to a larger, newer facility nearby. In this case, the land may be redeveloped with another use. The “alternate plan” would reflect the long view and illustrate how this road connection could provide access to the Parkview Redevelopment Site and provide an additional N/S connection to ease traffic on Main Street should Parkview School be relocated.
In the consulting team’s preferred recommendation, the Crosby Arena and Park area is configured to include an expanded community centre with dual indoor rinks, underground parking and a street framework that makes the ball fields more accessible. A part of this approach is the greater utilization of the ball fields. To this end, the consultant met with the City's Recreation Services Department to fully understand how the fields are used behind the arena and curling club with an intention to help the City ensure the fields have an even greater role in the life of Unionville. The uniqueness of this area is the proximity to Main Street. The consulting team is responding to a community desire to intensify programmatic use of this park including winter activities.
In order to accommodate a consolidated Crosby Community Centre – including surface parking, areas for additional community activity such as a children's play zone, and an outdoor skating pad – the existing baseball field would move west, along with the Lions Club Pavilion. Provision would be made to deal with foul balls and home runs using a tall, protective net/fence, typically used in similar conditions where functional separation for safety is required.
An additional baseball field would be masterplanned on the west side of the park alongside the existing soccer pitch in a "shared-use" arrangement. This configuration would allow an opportunity to launch a Unionville little league baseball and soccer league in this area. Minor league events have curfews, would not require floodlighting and would not impact the surrounding neighbourhood.