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Councillor asks feds to give Downsview back to the city

Coun. Maria Augimeri is asking the federal government to hand Downsview Park back to the city after a leaked memo showed an intention to sell off a portion of the park to developers.

The Ward 9 councillor says the leaked memo is from Public Works Deputy Minister Michelle d’Auray to the minister at the time, Rona Ambrose, and discusses the possible future of the park.

“It points toward the fact that Canada Lands, the real estate arm of the federal government, is looking at reopening the plans for Downsview Park with the intention to intensify the 10,000 units that are already able to be built in the park and that’s a source of concern for many of the residents,” explained Coun. Augimeri.

She says the memo also has d’Auray posing the possibility of the park being returned to the city. Augimeri says she has asked Canada Lands to release the reply to the memo, which would give some indication as to the direction of the future of the park, but they have refused.

“We’d like that memo – the response- and Canada Lands is not making it public and we have concerns about that,” she said. “We have no idea what the future of Downsview is with respect to Canada Lands. We want Canada Lands to come clean and tell us what the future is of our community.”

In November 2012 the federal government put the 231-hectare land under the control of Canada Lands Co.

Coun. Augimeri is hoping the federal government will listen to the community return the park to the people. She has set up an online petition residents can sign as part of her ‘Set Downsview Free’ campaign.

“We want the federal government to stop development on the Downsview lands. We want Canada Lands to listen to Downsview. You wouldn’t do it to High Park why do it to Downsview Park,” Coun. Augimeri said.

A public consultation will take place on Wednesday to discuss the future of the park.