Tag Archives: local councillor
Proposal for residential development to pay for park
Anna Mehler Paperny – Globe and Mail
In 1943, it was the centre of Toronto’s Second World War aviation effort.
In 1994, the federal government announced its future as a massive national park.
Next week, the Downsview plan goes before North York community council when councillors vote on the latest iteration of the city’s proposals for the area, which make provision not only for 100 hectares of parkland, but for thousands of units of mixed-use residential development intended to pay for it.
If the vote passes and sends the proposed Downsview Secondary Plan to city council, it will set in motion plans 16 years in the making.
But Michael Baigel would really rather it didn’t.
“It’s a dreadful plan,” he said. “It was meant to be a national park … a real gem in the city.”
But plans for the Parc Downsview Park rely on turning much of the site – running from Keele Street in the west to Wilson Heights in the east and as far north as Sheppard Avenue – into intensified residential developments in order to raise money for the park itself, which is meant to be self-funding.
“They want to make it like downtown,” Mr. Baigel laments – something he moved to Toronto from Manchester, England, specifically to avoid.
“The reason people live in the suburbs is because they want to live in the suburbs. They don’t want to live in condos.”
Plans for the site have ruffled more than a few residential feathers in the various neighbourhoods bordering the park. But one of the most offensive is the proposal to remove ramps on and off Allen Road from Wilson Heights Boulevard.
The plan to foster “transit-supported mixed-use communities” includes 400,000 square metres of mixed-use development and a transportation plan that emphasizes transit use and provides for an internal pedestrian and bicycle network.
But residents argue this would add to already clogged traffic and force commuting motorists into residential areas.
Local councillor Mike Feldman is putting forward an amendment at the June 22 meeting asking city staff to shelve plans to remove the ramps, at least until residential development transforms the area enough for different traffic systems to make sense.
Apart from that detail, he said, the secondary plan is “a nice first step” for a project that, like a growing number of public initiatives across the city, will attempt to pay for itself by leveraging the real estate value of the land on which it sits.
But Mr. Baigel would rather see the plan scrapped altogether. He fears Torontonians “will never get that greenery back again.”
“They’ll make one area residential and then a few years later another bit will get developed. Eventually it’ll all disappear. Over 50 years, we’re going to lose that park in the centre of Toronto. … It’s going to be chipped away at.”
By Enzo Di Matteo – NOW Magazine
Foundry Lofts residents trying to save a century-old smokestack from biting the dust will have to convince council if they hope to preserve this piece of T.O.’s industrial history.
But the unlikely reprieve won Wednesday, May 5, for the historical landmark at Lansdowne and Dupont after angry emails to local Councillor Cesar Palacio, may just be another delay of the inevitable – even though the stack is supposed to be protected by a heritage designation.
Toronto Public Health seems unconcerned about possible health risks associated with demolition of the stack to make way for planned site development.
Local authorities have found no enviro reasons compelling enough to stop the demo of the stack, despite the potential fallout from heavy metals. The stack forms part of the old Canada Foundry steel factory.
Work crews have advised area residents to shut windows and doors and remove their shoes before entering their premises to keep contact with airborne particles from the demo to a minimum. It needn’t have come to this.
As of late last week, Mike Foderick, Councillor Palacio’s executive assistant, was talking hopefully of a compromise – saving the stack by building a road planned for the site around it instead of right through it.
But then the matter of maintenance costs associated with the stack were raised by the developer and members of the local condo board, who don’t want to see their service fees hiked to pay for the stack’s upkeep.
Diverting the road around the stack would also pose a dilemma since it’d eat into space for a planned park.
Council gave the structure a heritage designation back in 2004, but that has somehow been ignored, including by preservation services staff who signed off on the demolition.
Another defining structure laid waste by neglect? So say residents.