The problem-plagued Bayview-Carling CDP has been stumbling along for years. The City turns it on, then off again, then on, but starves it of staff. Then it imports an outsider (has anyone see the terms of engagement??) to produce a report in a hurry, and fast-tracks their implementation. Residents are up in arms, developers are in an unseemly riot to snap up redevelopment rights, the study boundaries show flexibility that would make Gumby look petrified. And now comes some more embarrassing developments.
The study boundary presently ends at Rochester Street. The community has repeatedly suggested it should go to at least Bell Street, to include the large vacant lots there and the eminently developable lawn running between Booth and LeBreton. But the study didn’t, and doesn’t. Now two of those very lots are up for sale by the Feds.
Are we in for another deja vu all over again of the Champagne Avenue land stampede, and then the Carling stampede, whereby developers snap up the land and apply for rezoning before the city can even lick the lead of its planning pencils? Once again, will the planning department be chasing the developers to write a plan that meets a bunch of ad hoc rezoning decisions? Is it really better to plan after the fact?
Recall too that the parking lot shown beside the Fitzsimmons building between Cambridge and Bronson, already has a Taggart proposal in the planning works for a condo building.
If the major frontage along Carling running east and west from Preston is fine with the City for high rises, there is little reason to expect those two Federal lots now on the market not to be treated similarly by developers and planning staff.
While I think it is bad-embarrassing for the City to have major highrise potential development sites pop up right beside a supposedly-comprehensive CDP, it could turn out to be a blessing-embarrassment.
Because if the city bows to “community wishes” and leaves the low rise Little Italy neighbourhood as low rises, then wouldn’t it be nice to deliver a consolation prize to the developers by opening up these parcels which are sure to delight condo buyers? *
And strangely enough, the following drawing from summer 2012, not publicly released by the City ** , shows the opportunity to fill in the missing towers to complete the skyline.
Note to readers: this is part i. More embarrassing news follows in Part ii as soon as I can write it.
* not everyone will rejoice, of course. I have already been approached by a resident who thinks that the Dows Lake Road and Madewaska Drive residents are severely deprived of park land, what with the tulip fields and lawns of Commissioner’s Park, views of Dows Lake, boat parades, etc being inadequate, and who wants those federal lands to be bought by the city for parkland, maybe a nice lawn.
** note to Lee Anne Snedden, and Ted Fobert, of Fotenn, who got upset at this site releasing some previous documents. The profile charts were not leaked to me by a councillor, or city staffer. And they were first put up on WSA last fall. Old news.