Friday, March 11, 2011

Showdown expected over future development for Downsview

York Centre Councillor Maria Augimeri is bracing for a showdown over the Downsview Area Secondary Plan at the Tuesday, March 22 meeting of North York Community Council.
The fight will be over the amount of development that will be allowed in the community, she said.
Augimeri said she agrees with residents who fear proposed densities, which will bring thousands of residents and workers in new homes and employment places, will overwhelm the area.
"The local communities in Wards 8, 9 and 10 are extremely agitated and angry," she said.
"It will be an over-saturation of density and it will create traffic chaos in Downsview. They are virtually planning a new city."
Major landowners in the area include Bombardier Aerospace, the Department of National Defence, the City of Toronto and Downsview Park, which hopes to develop its property into a national park and new residential community.
This is the third time the issue is coming before community council.
While it has been deferred twice, Augimeri said there is now pressure coming from the mayor's office to get the issue resolved.
"The previous two times, I deferred it as per community wishes," she said.
"The mayor's office has made it clear he wants this settled once and for all. I don't believe I have the votes at community council to delay it any more. If I win or lose this vote, it goes to city council. Who knows what will happen there? It is coming to a head at this point. Will councillors from Scarborough and Etobicoke understand the plight of Downsview residents? I hope they will."
The debate over the secondary plan is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. March 22 in the council chambers of the North York Civic Centre at 5100 Yonge St., five blocks north of Sheppard Avenue.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Developer who tried to save Downsview hangars killed in plane crash

A heritage developer who once had hopes of saving two airplane hangars at Downsview Park has been killed in a plane crash.
Paul Oberman, president of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties, was flying in a private four-seat plane with another man over Maine the night of Tuesday, March 7 when they hit an ice storm.
The other man was airlifted to a hospital in Quebec City after the crash.
In December 2009, Oberman spoke to The Mirror about his hope of saving the historic hangars so they could be used for private aircraft in the Greater Toronto Area and to house an aviation museum.
He had noticed the Second World War-era hangars were in the initial stages of being demolished as he was driving along Allen Road.
"They are important to our heritage. It would be a shame to lose them," Oberman, a pilot, said at the time.
"They played an important role in our war efforts."
With the help of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Oberman began lobbying the federal government to save the hangars.
However, they were torn down about a year ago when Downsview Park and the Department of National Defence could not reach a deal.
Oberman was no stranger to saving Toronto's history.
His notable restoration projects included the Gooderham Flatiron building and the Summerhill LCBO store. He was in the process of redeveloping Market Square near the St. Lawrence Market.