Developers look to turn North York golf course into 40-acre public park with housing

A group of developers have come together with a plan to redevelop the golf course into public park land along with four residential towers. Mark McAllister reports.

By Mark McAllister and Meredith Bond

Three major developers have come together in hopes of transforming a private, nine-hole North York golf course at the Don Valley Parkway and Eglinton Avenue into 40 acres of public parkland.

Five per cent of the residential development plan on the land is expected to be four towers alongside St. Dennis Drive near the Wynford stop on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.

The Don Valley Partners intend to turn Flemingdon Park Golf Course into a park the size of Trinity Bellwoods, but the golf course has yet to be sold. Owner Enzo Schiavone tells CityNews they are “waiting to see what happens.”

“There are plans of putting towers here, but this is just a proposal,” Schiavone said.

Joe Valela, President of Tercot Development Group – one of the developers involved in the project – said they are currently looking for community responses about what they believe should happen on these lands.

“In the end, the whole concept here is that the city will have this amazing space that’s a generational opportunity as I see it, the missing link, and so the City [of Toronto] has to be there. They’ll be a large part of how this will roll out.”

Valela said they hope to have the city involved and sit down with them once the application process for the development has begun. They expected the application process to start in 2023.

New project still in early stages

Craig Lametti with Urban Strategies, the company hired to design the project, said they were approached about a year ago by the Don Valley Partners.

“Right away, they saw the opportunity to not only do the development but give back significantly to the city as a whole,” said Lametti.

“What this parkland will do is it will enhance access to the Don Valley, particularly for the Flemingdon Park community. It will have to complete the missing link in the trail network along the Don Valley river system there.”

The ownership of the lands will be determined through the approvals process.

“It could be the city. It could be the TRCA. It could be the Indigenous communities. And so, all of those are up for discussion at the moment,” added Lametti.

Dale Booth, a consultant and the President of Innovation7, said they are still in the early stages of the project and engagement.

“We’re just doing some of the initial outreach now to gain access to the communities and see how they want to be involved, see how they want to be engaged.”

Booth said it’s an exciting opportunity for inclusion because it is an historical area for all three Indigenous nations in Toronto.

“I hope there’s lots of opportunity for inclusion,” said Booth. “I hope there’s lots of opportunity for cultural inclusion. I also hope there’s an opportunity for storytelling and to relate to that area’s history to the local community and the people of Toronto.”

Lametti says the land isn’t publicly owned, which could complicate matters.

“It’s taking land, which is currently not accessible unless you’re playing golf, land right next to a new transit station, unlocking it not only to deliver new homes.”

The proposed residential buildings in the development would include around 2,400 units close to the new Eglinton Crosstown station.

“The precise mix of affordability is still being locked down at the moment, and that will certainly be revised throughout the process,” said Lametti.

“I think everybody realizes the importance of delivering in affordable homes, particularly in proximity to transit.”

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