Conversation with MPP Roman Babur 17 July
Starting off with a large question: How involved are you in the discussion for 3500 condos in William Baker parkette?
Although I have a good working relationship with [federal Liberal MP] Michael Levitt and Councillor Pasternak, neither the Province or myself are primary players in this conversation. However in coming to power one of our party's top priorities was to increase the overall supply of housing in the GTA. Given that these residential units have already been approved in the Downsview Secondary Plan, this is quite late in the day to be raising objections.
OK how open are you to the possibility of a healthcare or senior aftercare centre on these lands?
To alleviate hallway medicine, our party promised 30,000 additional health care beds in the province, 7000 of which have been delivered to date. In this riding [York Centre] the new Humber River Hospital is already at capacity and an additional primary health care facility is urgently required. To remedy this situation we are actively considering the Branson Hospital lands owned by the Seventh Day Adventists at Finch and Bathurst, which would require a lot of upgrading. A second choice would be lands on Dufferin north of Finch. So it is unlikely that new health spaces will open up in William Baker.
What are the chances for the new community centre at Keele and Sheppard [SE corner] for which the Wynn government earmarked $16M?
I am a strong supporter of a community centre in this location for the growing Downsview population. Given that the province's contribution will be matched by the city and the feds, I see it as money well spent. However it will happen in the near future. The federal share will certainly have to await the completion of the October election, and our own government currently has its hands full trying to get a handle on expenses incurred by the Wynn administration.
The Province recently passed the More Homes, More Choice Act calling for increased housing density near transportation hubs and an accelerated approvals process. We are worried this will override city planning, particularly with respect to the Bombardier lands.
While I can say that all Downsview parkland will be preserved, this initiative is intended to kickstart an overly complicated approvals process by allowing the province to overrule the city on certain planning issues. It is my understanding that the investment fund that bought Bombardier has had informal discussions with the City and the Park. Given the significant size and location of the lands in question this only makes sense.
Are you involved with any discussions concerning excess rainwater and overtaxed storm sewers on the Keele St side of the CN line?
Except for when a provincial facility is involved -- as in the Humber River Hospital -- this is a municipal matter. However if flooding becomes serious and possibly dangerous, the provincial government may be called in. Because the city has been growing so quickly and because it is saddled with an aging storm sewer system, it has a lot of catch-up work to do.
A final question on the Barrie GO line, which we are advised is being double-tracked. When will Metrolinx be taking occupancy of the old Sunrise Propane lands for storage of equpment and materials? Do you have any idea when this will start?
I think a lease has been signed but I don't have any more information than that. On this one, let me get back to you.
Thank you for your time and meeting with us today.
NOTE: On July 23, Philip Hattin of Roman Babur's office confirmed that the “Barrie Corridor Double Track Extension” was underway but that a specific timeline was not available
Dog Days in the Park
"While I often see security guys in their cars [in the Park] ... I see bad behavior of all types. I have seen people with motorized mini boats at the big pond on more than one occasion and people running their dogs into the water at both big and little ponds. The dogs chase the wildlife and I've seen ... sandpipers, killdeers and geese disturbed. Since migrating birds have very few options to land at the outset these options are terminated with dogs running free in these areas. ... I know the park is federal but do they completely abdicate their responsibilities? ... I am pretty sure I am not hysterical but loose dogs everywhere all the time bodes not well for wildlife besides it being against the law I'm pretty sure." Shael
"Years ago, I asked for signs to be put up in the park to "encourage" dog owners to keep their dogs on leash. Not that I believe that a sign can change a person's behavior but every little bit helps. At least when I ask a dog owner to put their dog on leash, they can't yell at me "WELL I DON'T SEE NO SIGNS"!!! I too see people treating the park as one giant off-leash area, as well as dogs in the pond. Could this turn into a liability issue for the Park? ... I fear something might happen. Even if the park is federal land, I do believe that the City by law applies here:
"Tonight I witnessed a big fight between two dog owners. A lady had two big dogs, one on leash one not, and a young girl had one small dog no leash. The one with the small dog was screaming so loud that the poor baby with her started crying so bed that she called the police and was looking for witnesses. I left with my bike quickly and I do know if the police went or not. I want to say that before you make any decision think twice, as there will be a lot more dogs than now in the park. The problem is the owners do not respect the rules and very disturbing things can happen in front of young children." Josie
No owner of a dog shall cause or permit the dog be at large in the City, including, but not limited to, upon or in any lands or grounds owned or operated by the City, such as sidewalks, curbs, boulevards, walkways or other public places owned by the City, except where expressly permitted by City by-law
"The City of Toronto Municipal Code requires that all dogs must be on a leash and in the care and control of a person, unless consent is given by the person owning the property where the dog is found."
Park Director, David Anselmi
- However helpful, city by-laws do not cut it in a federal park. Currently, there are signs in the park that indicate to owners that dogs must be leashed. Moreover we are reviewing whether additional signage could help minimize the possibility of dogs running free in the park.
- We are planning a dogs-off-leash area within the park. The intention of such an area is to allow dogs to play freely in a dedicated space within the park. We feel that this will help create a positive park experience for everyone.
"An important first step in addressing crime in the Downsview area."
All are invited