Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why Downsview Park should not be selling land to developers.

A 1999 Privy Council Order-in-Council transferring part of CFB Downsview to Canada Lands Company. (From an Order-in-Council book, located at Library and Archives Canada, Wellington Street, Ottawa Ontario.)
In 1992, CFB Downsview in North York, Ontario encompassed 341.7486 hectares of land. (From: "The Directory of Federal Real Property"---Library and Archives Canada, Wellington Street, Ottawa Ontario.)
   There are many reasons why Downsview Park land in Toronto should not be sold to housing developers:
1.  The Canadian Department of National Defence may reclaim the Canadian Forces Base Downsview. In 2009, DND reclaimed most of CFB Shearwater. The Hon. David Collenette, the Minister of National Defence who decommissioned CFB Downsview said in 2001:
         "When we closed those bases, in particular Downsview, we said that the land would be retained in perpetuity for future generations, primarily as a unique, open, recreational green space. The reason we put primarily in there is that other ongoing uses would still be permitted...It was always intended for that portion of the land to remain in the title of National Defence so that if, God forbid, we were in an emergency situation whereby that land would be required for emergency defence operations, it would be there." (Google: "Points of Order June 11 2001 Downsview Collenette").

    2.  DND did not want the government to decommission RCAF/CFB Downsview:
            "A number of Senators wanted to obtain some information on Parc Downsview Park...usually, when the federal government declares a land surplus, it is turned over to Canada Lands Company Limited...However, ND did not want to divest itself of the Downsview military base". (Google: "Journals Issue 97, November 22 2005.")

   3.  In 1994, the federal government promised that 600 acres of the former military base would be an urban park, in perpetuity. Councillor Maria Augimeri said: "Despite the assurance of a 'huge urban park', the community discovered plans to sell off 300 acres of this land immediately following the federal election in January 2006." See, also "Toronto Star, Downsview doomed" by Christopher Hume, January 15 2010."

 4.   Downsview Park officials promised that Canada's military and aviation history would always have a presence at the the Park. The official Parc Downsview Park logo has images of airplane propellers:

The Official Parc Downsview Park logo.
However, in 2010, two de Havilland aircraft hangars were bulldozed: the de Havilland Aircraft Building may be "repurposed"; the original Denison Armoury was demolished to make way for Costco and PDP plans to dismantle The Bunker in 2024. The Bunker was built to withstand a nuclear blast.
During World War 11, American President Franklin Roosevelt called Canada "The Aerodrome of Democracy" because the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan trained 100,000 aircrew at dozens of bases in Canada. de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. manufactured the thousands of airplanes that BCATP pilots trained in. The de Havilland Aircraft Building is a symbol of democracy, and it should not be deconstructed, to make way for an apartment building or a  hockey rink. Canadian history is more important than a hockey rink.
 The Calgary Airport Authority gave an aircraft hangar to the Aero Space Museum of Calgary---rent-free, in perpetuity. During their summer tour of Canada in 2011, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Aero Space Museum of Calgary; a grandfather of the Duchess trained BCATP pilots in Calgary, Alberta during World War 11; Captain Peter Middleton spent time in the building where the aviation museum is now located.
Industrial/aerospace history
"The cluster of buildings at 60, 65 and 75 Carl Hall Road, comprised of historic airplane hangars and buildings, afford fantastic opportunities to develop an active cultural and recreational hub."

5.   The Humber River Regional Hospital and Coroner's Complex is being constructed at Wilson Avenue and Keele Street. The hospital will have 656 beds, and 3,000 staff members and 600 doctors will be employed at the institution. Keele Street is already a busy street, and green space is desperately needed in the vicinity.

6.  The Downsview Urban Park is morphing into the Downsview Urban Jungle.  The City of Toronto is encouraging intensification, the densification of inner-city neighbourhoods. The Downsview Area Secondary Plan, which was approved by the Ontario Municipal Board on August 17 2010 "provides for a modest increase in overall future population from the previous Secondary Plan - from 38,000 to 42,000."

        Park plan going off the rails fast by Amy Chung
"Plans are still in the works and details are sketchy - its ever been thus at Parc Downsview Park (PDP) - but it seems the urban park promised by the federal Libs in 94 is about to be served up to developers. And there's little the City can do about it, even if they wanted to. What has area councillors and city planners freaked is the possibility of a major sell-off of the Crown-owned land."

7.  The federal government made a commitment, that the Downsview military base would be transformed into a Central Park or Hyde Park. The following comments are from the "Save Downsview Park" website:
"I remember when this park was first opened, there were great aspirations for it to become our 'Hyde Park', our 'Central Park'. What is happening...where have all these ideals gone?"
"Leave this greenspace for all Canadians to enjoy."
"Save Our Park!"
" Please do not do this!!! SAVE THE PARK!!!
" Parks like this should never be taken away from the children...and from other living animals in the park."
"This park is very important to provide people and pets with an oasis in the midst of a very busy area in the fomer city of North York."

Save Downsview Park in Toronto.
8.  The Bombardier Option: According to officials at PDP, "If the lands currently occupied by Bombardier become available for sale, PDP intends to execrcise the Crown's options to purchase the lands." The only thing preventing the construction of high-rise condos at Downsview is a zoning law called "Airport Hazard Zone". If Bombardier leaves Downsview, that law will no longer exist. Donald Trump recently constructed a 60-storey condo in downtown Toronto. The former military base will be inundated with high-rise apartments, just take a look at Toronto's lakeshore---a harbinger of what is in store for the "park".
See the "Save Downsview Park" petition, and the YouTube video "downsviewpark".
Soon, YouTube videos will promote;
"The Gated Communities of Downsview Park"
"From military base to millionaire's row"
"Own a piece of Canada's history---the de Havilland Building apartments".
9.  Officials at PDP believe that Park land is exempt from Municipal and Provincial planning laws, as long as the Park retains ownership. "The minute we sell land, all the rigour of the Planning Act falls on it." (From: "What does the future hold for Downsview Park?" Openfile January 2012). Theoretically, Park land can be rented out to casino operators, waste disposal companies, recreational vehicle parks...

Privy Council Order-in-Council

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