Downsview continues to be a place where people want to live work and play.
We have great access to transit, a great quality of life, tight-knit communities, and wonderful spaces for families to grow.
It is no wonder Toronto Life rated Downsview in the top 20% of best places to live in Toronto.
More than ever people are flocking to Downsview. This means there is pressure to change, and revitalize old properties into more livable spaces.
While change is inevitable, the community is vital to guiding that change, which is why I look to our community to help whenever change is proposed.
How it Works
Each time a new development proposal is put forward called an “application” it is sent to the City. I am informed if there is a zoning change necessary. I typically form a panel of community members consisting of people who would be directly affected by the change.
These proposals aren’t final, they are simply the first stage of an “ask” of the City. If that ask requires an zoning amendment/redesignation it usually results in a public meeting called a “statutory public meeting” held by the City as is required by law.
It is at these statutory public meetings that I ask interested members of the community to form the panel which will guide the process.
Together, we work through the application with City planning staff to determine what is best for the community.
If all goes correctly, the community and the applicant are satisfied that the change meets community needs, as well as the needs of the property owner.
When it Doesn’t Work
Sometimes the developer or “applicant” does not assist or cooperate in this process. This can result in an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) challenge. The Ontario Municipal Board is an agency of the Provincial Government. It is like a court where unsatisfied or frustrated applicants who don’t like the decision made on their application at the City level can ask to have them reviewed (and possibly overturned).
When an applicant is successful at the OMB, a municipal By-law is automatically written allowing the development. This removing any ability for the local community or the elected representative from providing input on the change. It gets no further input from those affected.
Many have criticized the OMB for making bad decisions that hurt communities. This is why I have been part of an effort to remove Toronto from the OMB’s jurisdiction. I believe we have expert staff and leadership necessary to properly guide community changes. We do not need a Provincial agency deciding whether to overrule local decisions. The OMB challenge constantly hangs over the head of communities who simply wish the best for their neighbourhoods and is sometimes used punitively by the applicant against a community who is simply trying to get the best outcome for all.
Below are the most prominent development-related changes to our community. External links may not be up-to-date. For a more comprehensive and historic list, please use this City of Toronto search.
DESCRIPTION: The Federally-Owned Downsview Park plans to develop 572 acres of land into 5 distinct neighbourhoods and a “national park”, consisting of approximately 10,000 units of mixed residential, commercial, and industrial lands.
STATUS: Secondary Plan and Stanley Greene District Plan Approved by OMB Decision.
2737 Keele Street
DESCRIPTION: A 239 unit, 10-storey apartment building with commercial uses as a standard condominium. The building was a conversion of a former hotel parking lot to residential/commercial use.
STATUS: Approved by OMB decision
2800 Keele Street
DESCRIPTION: Proposed 11 storey mixed use building containing 18,890m2 of gross floor area comprising of 237 residential units and 695m2 of ground floor commercial space.
STATUS: Community Panel Formed, Application Pending Review, OMB Application Filed, Notice of Approval Conditions Issued by City Staff (Jan 2015)
3100 Keele St
DESCRIPTION: Proposal is for 19 storey mixed used building with 422 residential units and 380 square metres of commercial space on the ground floor with 2 levels of underground parking, 4 times density of the area of the lot. Townhomes and apartments.
STATUS: Community Panel Formed, Application Pending Review, developer scheduled an OMB Prehearing, REDUCED PLAN APPROVED by Council on July 10, 2015 for a reduced 12-storey, 36 metre high building with 312 units, and a reduced density of 3.3 times the area of the lot. Stacked townhomes were removed from plan.
UPDATE TO THE COMMUNITY
855 Wilson / 877 Wilson Ave
DESCRIPTION: 855 Wilson – To construct 99 stacked townhouse dwelling units and 692 square metres of retail space and demolish existing commercial plaza. 855 Wilson (Phase 1). Construction of 75 multiple attached stacked townhouses dwelling units and 192.2 m2 of street fronting retail space complte.
STATUS: 877 Complete, 855 Construction in progress.
3621 Dufferin St
DESCRIPTION: A mixed-use development consisting of a 207 unit, 11-storey residential building with 672 m2 of at-grade retail at the corner of Dufferin Street and Billy Bishop Way and 6 blocks of 4-storey townhouses containing 186 units. A new public road and a park are also proposed.
STATUS: Application Pending Review
190 Exbury Rd
DESCRIPTION: Application to permit proposed infill development consisting of 21 two-storey townhouse units fronting onto Monclova Road. Each unit will have two parking spaces – one driveway and one in integral garage. The subject area will be severed at a later point from the 2 existing twenty-storey apartment buildings. (Note concurrent re-zoning application).
STATUS: Application Pending Review
2945 Keele St
DESCRIPTION: Proposed new 1-storey 1,200 sq metre fire station – to be known as “Station 114″, at south-west corner of Parc Downsview Park lands and within larger development block known as the “Stanley Greene Neighbourhood”. Site fronts onto Keele Street with south flankage on future “George Butchart Drive” municipal road.
STATUS: Site Plan Approval
To see the latest info on developments in Toronto , check out the City of Toronto Development Application Database