District Plan for William Baker back on Front Burner
Discussions begin again on William Baker the #3 site below with its proposed 3500 residences
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: as "approved" in the Downsview Secondary Plan
Uniqueness of William Baker
- #1: Stanley Greene (1350 residential units) nearing completion
- #2: Allen District, (residential & commercial uses) has been split in half
- E of Allen (2531 residential units) is close to district plan approval
- W of Allen (1396 residential units) on hold pending transportation improvements
- #3: William Baker District (3534 res. units), consultations started in Feb 2019, then stopped
- #4: Chesswood (commercial-employment-institutional). No planning has been initiated
- #5: Sheppard (1024 residential units). No planning has been initiated
- 62 acres of vacant land on NE corner of Keele & Sheppard
- Key feature is the 30 acre woodlot, which will be protected and become an extension of Downsview Park.
- Existing pathways to remain
- Pedestrian walkway over Sheppard (to Downsview Park) will remain and be upgraded
- Site is within walking distance of Downsview Park subway station (also a GO train stop)
- Good TTC connections along Sheppard and Keele
- The two initial consultations will present various options proposed by Canada Lands
- Some changes to the Secondary Plan will be considered: (tradeoffs between districts? different zonings / densities / uses?)
- MP Michael Levitt to circulate updated proposals to all York Centre households for feedback
May 26 "Unveiling" of Sesquicentennial Trail
For Canada's 150th birthday, the Park has created a dramatic woodland walkway on the Keele St side of the Park, retracing the contributions of the indigenous, early settlers, WW2 aircraft assemblers and today's Downsview residents. The 3 stops go from the Time Capsule Wall to Lookout Point to Treaty Table and include mounted replicas of vintage De Havilland aircraft.
Official "operners" of the “Sesqui” Trail: L-R James Pasternak (Councillor); David Anselmi (Park Director), Rosanna Iaboni (DLCVA), Michael Levitt (MP); John Dickson (Artist), Scott Torrance (Landscape Architect)
The Park's Jonathan Deschman (covering natural history) and DLCVA's Rosanna Iaboni (providing neighbourhood history) led this year's Jane's Walk on May 7. This was Rosanna's 7th year of participating. This walk celebrates "liveable city" values in memory of urbanist Jane Jacobs who wanted to get people out of their homes and into the larger environment around them.
As local residents may know, the facilities for aftercare for seniors in the Downsview Area are seriously deficient. The York Centre Seniors Committee is working with Canada Lands Company and MP Michael Levitt for creation of a multi-purpose senior's facility in the forthcoming William Baker Plan. Specifically they are asking the above parties, plus the DLCVA and the community at large, to enter into a Community Benefits Agreement spelling out the key features of the project. This is a new idea in uiding government decision-making. Some details HERE
Complaints of foul odor where the Park's large Pond meets Keele continue to be raised. When the Feds built the Pond, the City simultaneously built a concrete reserve sewer for water overflow underneath the Keele St sidewalk. With excessive rainfall, this chamber ends up holding a mix of stormwater and sewage which does not circulate. Hence the smell. Councillor James Pasternak is aware of the problem and has asked the Works Department to fix it. Pursuant to request of MP Michael Levitt, the Park has agreed to monthly testing of air and water quality during the warmer months. It will post these readings.
Serving and Protecting: Did you know that Metro Police 31 Division serves one of the most diverse populations of Toronto (NS: Steeles to 401, EW Humber River to CN GO line).
Their Open House BBQ and Bursary Awards:
Saturday, June 1 - 11am - 2pm,
31 Division. 40 Norfinch Dr
Free BBQ: Face Painting, Balloons, Pictures, Police Car Display and Station Tour
Free First Aid, CPR & AED Training & Certification: Emergency First Aid (1-day) + Standard First Aid (2-day): Pilot project to help local neighbourhoods make their communities safer and increase local employment options
Details / Registration: HERE
Borrow a guitar, violin, ukulele, portable keyboard ???
Downsview Library launches Musical Instrument Lending Library
Free with a library card
Turns out that Downsview Park has become an elite location for birdwatching in the GTA.
Over 200 species have been identified to date
Due to the increasing popularity of the Park, DLCVA has been encouraged to drop its numbering system as some watchers get overenthusiastic (i.e. invasive) when it comes to new sightings. This happens at other birding locations as well
Some recent sightings
Scarlet Tanager. Medium-sized American songbird, until recently considered part of the tanager genus but now classified as cardinal family. They like to forage high in trees, flying out to catch insects in flight and then returning to the same general perch, in a hunting style known as "sallying"
Scarlet Tanager 16 May 2019
Grasshopper Sparrow. Small sparrow that breeds in open fields and grassland, its nest being a well-concealed open cup on the ground under vegetation. They feed primarily on insects and seeds, and supposedly will sing from open and exposed perches.
Grasshopper Sparrow 4 May 2019