New housing development announced for Downsview Park

TORONTO-Canada’s largest homebuilder has a deal to break ground in Downsview Park.

Mattamy Homes has partnered with real estate developer Urbancorp in an attempt to kick-start the construction of the first residential community in that neighbourhood.

“At Mattamy we are extremely excited about the opportunity the future holds with this community and working on such a unique and compelling project with our new partner Urbancorp,” said Brad Carr, President of Mattamy Homes Canada. “We are looking forward to bringing the Downsview project to life and helping the community reach its full potential.”

In 1999, the federal government said the former military base would be converted into Canada’s first urban national park. Many community members are angry that promise has been broken.

“It’s not fair, instead of Canada’s first large urban park, we are getting a mini city of apartments and town houses,” said Maria Augimeri, city councillor for ward 9. “This is not what was promised to the community.”

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Augimeri said her community has been fighting this plan for 17 years but while she’s unhappy, the decision to add Mattamy to the construction team is a positive.

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“I understand that those who have worked with Mattamy Homes have been very pleased with their work and so I welcome them to the Downsview community.”

The plan calls for one thousand units, consisting of 487 townhomes, 29 single-family homes and approximately 550 mid-rise apartment units. They are to be built next year.

The project won approval earlier this year from the Ontario Municipal Board.

Augimeri said changes to infrastructure, including bigger roads, will be needed to accommodate the new residents. She added community members in the area are still opposed to any further housing development on the other 4 portions of the grounds.

The other four areas of land are owned by the crown, putting them in the control of the Federal government. The rest of the land at Downsview Park is operated by the Canada Lands Company– the federal government’s property management group. In a statement to released to Global News, the group said they are having consultations in 2014 regarding further development in Downsview Park.

“With any of its activities Canada Lands implements a process of analysis and study, and it also engages in extensive consultations with stakeholders. A considerable amount of time is needed to create a carefully thought out development plan. ,“ Canada Lands Company said in a statement. “In the case of the Downsview lands… It will begin its formal consultation process this fall.”

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Other local activists have also voiced their concern with the effect such a project would have on the region.

“There’s a lot of problems with infrastructure. This area is very busy with traffic so (it’s) a safety issue,” said Albert Krivickas, Vice president of the Downsview Lands Community Voice Association. “We need wider roads.”

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