William Baker Open House: June 7 and June 10, 2019
CANADA LANDS COMPANY (the Park) is applying to the City for a District Plan and is seeking feedback from all parties
Everybody agrees that the site at N/E corner of Keele and Wilson is "a jewel in the crown"
- Close to 60 acres of vacant land, half of which is to be developed
- Magnificent woodlot and internal pathways to be preserved and maintained
- Great location with easy access to Barrie GO train, TTC subway and surface routes, main roads and Hwys 400 and 401
Not everybody is happy with what was approved in the decade-old Downsview Secondary Plan
Artist's 2009 draft below suggests a couple of reasons why:
Possible Problems :
Results of first consultation to follow pending publication by City's communication team
- Jaw-dropping density: 3534 residential units (35 midrises of 100 units each ?? )
- Rigid zoning
- Few services (shopping, schools, seniors aftercare, daycare, churches, restaurants, meeting places, entertainment spots, employment opportunities)
- Lack of imagination:
DLCVA preliminary recommendations: HERE
50 Wilson Heights Blvd: First Public Consultation
Affordable Housing vs Public Parking
Pedestrian community proposed to replace 800 parking spaces at Wilson subway station
Wilson / Transit Rd parking lot to be repurposed as 1150 housing units
City of Toronto Initiative: novel concept
City will own & manage land for 99 years
1/3 affordable rental, 1/3 market rental, 1/3 market ownership
Councillor James Pasternak is not happy about losing so many parking spots at Wilson Subway. 600 lost earlier HERE
First round of consultations took place June 12
Results to follow upon their publication by City's communications team
Keele St Firehall: Both City Planner Ben DiRaimo and Councillor James Pasternak were surprised that shovels were not "in the ground" as scheduled this spring.
Urban Farm manager Julianne Keech advises that a doe and her fawn occasionally visit the Keele St site near the greenhouses in the evening. They have been observed visiting the compost pile (OK) and the peas, carrots and peppers (not OK). From time to time the farm will cover the smaller veggies with fabric (not plastic) to discourage rabbits and deer, but solution is not 100%.
DLCVA: two (minor) criticisms of new Sesqui Trail
Seemingly the delay was occasioned by Premier Ford's attempt to cut the City's 2019 budget, causing the City to freeze its plans. As the cutback has been rescinded, construction has been re-scheduled for the end of 2019.
- The opening plaza (first stop) is 'mysterious'. The chronological cut-outs in weathered steel screens (viewable from front or rear) are welcome, but the waist high message board (white print on shiny aluminium) is unreadable in sunlight. Also there is nothing to indicate what some of the scenes are about. .
- While the overlook (middle stop) is fabulous, the 4 mounted mini-vintage planes seem to be out of sequence. Looking at the lake they are (L to R) Dash 8, Twin Otter, Mosquito and Gypsy Moth, but the signage has them in a different order which is confusing. In addition the sign's image and model simply do not look like the same plane. The model Gypsy Moth biplane has been streamlined, the Dash 8 propeller has been changed, the Twin Otter has wheels, not floats, the model Mosquito has retracted its wheels.
Turns out that Downsview Park has become an elite location for birdwatching in the GTA.
Over 210 species have been identified to date
"About 10 days ago and many days previously nighthawks were seen at around 9:00pm, being a difficult time to get a good photo. Often seen in the big pond are great egrets and great blue herons. While high water levels in the park ponds have limited the presence of shorebirds, we do have breeding and resident spotted sandpipers and killdeers. The woods are full of baltimore orioles, warbling vireos and today I heard eastern wood-pewees. The areas of the park that simulate a prairie grass habitat seem to be growing in nicely and today I saw many savannah sparrows there as well as killdeers" (17 June, 2019, S.Steinberg)
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak:large seed-eating member of cardinal family. May 2019 (S.Steinberg)
Pine Warbler: small songbird of New World warbler family
May 2019 (S. Steinberg)