February 2018
In this newsletter, I continue to provide information and updates of interest to residents. I am, like many of you, looking forward to this Family Day weekend to spend some quality time with my family. We are planning on some good food, games, and cheering on our Canadian olympic athletes as they compete in South Korea.
For me, it will follow two busy weeks of budget reviews at the Region of Durham and the City of Pickering (a topic for my next eNewsletter). So a bit of time off and a long weekend is appreciated. I wish you a great Family Day with your loved ones!
It's Time to Bring Durham Live to Life!
It is a frigid landscape now, but we are hopeful a hot announcement will be coming any day now on the Durham Live site!

When I, and Councillor Ashe, first brought the idea of designating Pickering as a willing host for a casino, we were looking for City revenue, jobs, and exciting new opportunities for residents. At the same time, the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)  were looking at expanding casino operations within the Pickering, Ajax, and Whitby zone with an eye towards an improved business model and a competitive process to select this new casino location.    

In 2013, Council approved our motion to identify Pickering as willing hosts of a casino. The response from the development industry was enthusiastic. I was quickly approached by interested groups and can recall taking enthusiastic potential investors, along with Councillors Ashe and Dickerson, around the City in my car to look at sites, including the current Durham Live site. Then the Apostolopoulos family, as the Durham Live group, came along with this great proposal that blew everyone away with not only a casino but a dynamic multi-use complex for the 140 acre (approximately) site at the northwest corner of Bayly Road and Church Street in Pickering. 

On the 2014 election ballot, residents of Pickering gave a 60 per cent approval to the Durham Live project sending a clear message that while we are a small town at heart, we clearly have big city interests and ambitions. And people did take notice! The very next day, Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance for Ontario stood up in the legislature and congratulated the good people of Pickering for voting in favour of Durham Live.

Projects such as this don't come along everyday - not just in Durham Region, but in the entire province. It will be a master-planned tourism destination comprised of a broad and diverse array of entertainment experiences, and defined by dramatic, vibrant, and cohesive urban design elements.
Durham Live's value proposition is enormous. In addition to the proposed casino, Durham live will boast :
  • 5-star hotel
  • convention centre
  • performing arts centre
  • waterpark
  • film studios
  • cinema entertainment complex
  • amphitheatre
  • boutique hotel
  • office tower
  • outdoor recreation space
  • wealth of dining opportunities
Upon build out, Durham Live has the potential to become one of Ontario's top three tourist destinations - alongside Niagara Falls and downtown Toronto. Furthermore, t his $1.6 billion dollar project has the potential to bring 15 to 20 thousand new jobs to Pickering and the Region.
It is expected to generate up to $25 million in combined revenue to both the City of Pickering and Region of Durham coffers each and every year. In addition, the project will also have a positive economic impact to not only the local and regional economies, but to the Province as a whole.  
The economic impacts will begin to take shape when all of these facilities, services, and attractions are built. As such, we have a collective responsibility to work with Durham Live and support its efforts in attracting the right partners to both maximize the economic investments and implement the required transportation infrastructure solutions.
OnDemand - Pickering Parkway Terminal to East Shore Community Centre
The South Pickering Seniors' Club asked me, as the Mayor's designate and the Pickering Council representative on the Durham Region Transit Executive Committee, to have bus service to the back of the East Shore Community Centre for seniors. Working with Durham Region Transit (DRT) and the seniors, we came up with a solution.
DRT is piloting a new OnDemand service connecting the East Shore Community Centre with the Pickering Parkway Terminal. During the pilot, both this new OnDemand service and Route 193 will be available to transit customers.
Vehicles assigned to OnDemand will drop off passengers at the rear door of the Community Centre, while the Route 193 bus will continue to serve the front door off the on-street bus stop. Recommendations on the most effective way to offer service to the East Shore Community Centre will be made following the end of the pilot.
The OnDemand service will be available Monday to Friday departing from Pickering Parkway Terminal at 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm, and returning from the East Shore Community Centre at 12:10 pm, 2:10 pm, and 4:10 pm. To schedule a trip, customers simply contact DRT via the toll-free number: 1-866-247-0055 (and press 3) by 2:00 pm the previous business day. Regular DRT fares apply. For more information, please contact DRT Customer Service at 1-866-247-0055.
Claremont Ward Property Application by Geranium Homes
As many of you in Claremont know, i n 2012 Geranium Homes reactivated and revised applications on file at the City of Pickering for the lands in Claremont commonly known as the Ward property. The City initiated the review process under the Planning Act. A number of matters arose, including compatibility with the community, drainage, and the remaining Ward lands which resulted in the applications not continuing through the planning process at that time.

As background, all statutes, such as the Planning Act, and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan Act (ORMCA) (2001), have "transition" provisions that address whether, or to what extent, existing applications for development must comply with the new or amended legislation. Applications that are "transitioned" are commonly referred to as being "grandfathered." Under the ORMCA, planning applications that predate it, and for which no decision has been made under the Planning Act, are subject to certain, but not all, sections of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan. The sections to which applications must conform address natural heritage features and linkages, hydrologically sensitive  features, and stormwater management.
Geranium Corporation is now requesting that the applications, originally submitted by Toko Investments to the City and the Region in 1990 on lands now owned by the Geranium Corporation, be processed under the transition provisions of the ORMCA. The City is seeking an outside legal opinion and are discussing the matter with the Region of Durham prior to restarting the processing of the applications. 
If there is a restart to processing the applications under the transition provisions, we expect to follow our current application review process, starting from pre-consultation to receipt of supporting studies, circulation to public and agencies for comment, sign posting on the property, public open houses, a public information meeting, through to recommendations to Council.
In October 2017, the City received appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) from Claremont Development Corporation (Geranium Corporation). The reason for the appeals is that the Council has not made a decision on the applications within the time frame set out in the Planning Act. The Geranium appeals notice includes the entire Ward property, generally referred to as Phase One and Phase Two, with approximately 70 lots. We understand Geranium wants to keep "all their options open" in light of pending changes to the OMB. In fact, many municipalities have likewise received OMB appeals based on applicants wanting to be considered under the old OMB rules rather than the new rules. The City anticipates still following the application review process described above despite the appeal. The OMB is a quasi-judicial process and the final say on the applications, approval or not, will now be made by the Board and not City Council.
Residents adjacent to the designated distance to the applicant's lands have received a notice from a representative of the applicant noting the OMB appeal and providing information on the initial OMB pre-hearing on March 22, 2018. This pre-hearing will likely address procedural matters and not be the hearing on consideration of the applications themselves. The public may take part in the pre-hearing and the hearing.
I had contacted Geranium Homes a few months ago requesting that they hold an open house in Claremont to provide information and obtain input from residents. This would be voluntary and in addition to any statutory required notices or meetings. Geranium agreed and will make arrangements for an open house shortly.
Out and About
I, along with Mayor Ryan and my fellow Councillors, enjoyed the kick off of Tamil Heritage Month and flag raising at Pickering City Hall with the Tamil Cultural and Academic Society of Durham (TCASD).
Councillor Butt and I tried out the new DRT Bus Route 603 from Pickering Town Centre Terminal through Brougham and Claremont to Uxbridge. It was good to see residents using the service as they head south to downtown Pickering and the GO train.

Practicing my technique in pothole filling with one of our hard working roads crews on Valley Farm Road. With the swing in temperature - freeze and thaw - it's doing a lot of damage to our roads. If you have a pothole in Pickering we have not got to yet, send me an email at dpickles@pickering.ca with the location so we can get there.
Keeping in Touch
Thank you for taking the time to read this eNewsletter - and I welcome your feedback and comments. You can reach me at 905.420.4605 or by email at dpickles@pickering.ca

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