North York residents who live near the former CFB Downsview were dismayed to learn last week that a large section of the property will be turned into a 25-hectare planned community, despite assurances from the federal government in 1999 that the land was to be turned into an urban park. Local concerns about traffic congestion and inadequate infrastructure are being downplayed by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), who have given builders Mattamy Homes and Urbancorp the green light to proceed with plans to develop Downsview Park.
The project, initially conceived by Urbancorp, is a change from Mattamy's usual style, which is to buy up large parcels of land and drop big single-family homes on them. Downsview Park will incorporate a variety of housing styles, including townhomes and mid-rise condo buildings. The seven different townhome collections are named after trees (Maple, Aspen, Oak), although the renderings on Urbancorp's site show them looking less rustic then you would be led to believe. Prices will range from $299,900 for the smallest condo to $689,900 for a semi-detached house.
Since CFB Downsview was decommissioned in 1996, the site has hosted music festivals, the roller derby, and even a Pope. In 2003, the Rolling Stones headlined a massive concert there to bring wary tourists back to Toronto after the SARS epidemic. Will Downsview Park bring gridlock-exhausted downtowners to North York?
·Downsview Park [Urbancorp]
·Mattamy and Urbancorp to Build Homes in Downsview Park [InsideToronto]
·OMB Approves 10,000-unit Plan for Downsview Lands [Toronto Star]
·Molson Canadian Rocks (SARSstock) [Canadian Music Hall of Fame]