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Bombardier Downsview Lands (Northcrest-Canada Lands, Henning Larsen)

ShonTron

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This is my concern too. With the area surrounded by right wing councillors and NIMBY front yard, two-car garage homeowners, I'm anticipating a push for a soulless car-centric cluster similar to the 'Downtown' Markham development. Pre-cast mid rise condos, wide roads, massive public park vacuums that are used two months a year, and street-level retail that includes dry cleaners and Subways.

Uh, Maria Augimeri is hardly a right wing councillor. She’s been loudly complaining about residential development on the Downsview Park lands, preferring parkland, community infrastructure and employment
 

robmausser

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I actually was not aware Bombardier owned the entire runway, always thought they shared it with DND and it was DND/federal land. So...is the runway mandated to remain, or is that being sold too? If the latter it must be worth something like $10 Billion. If the former, anyone think there could be a landswap of sorts where BBA moves to Downsview?

If they own the runway, is there any possibility of someone like Porter scooping it up and using it as an airport for their C-Series plans, now that it isn't happening at the Island?

It would still be a good alternative to Pearson, being closer to downtown and right on a subway and GO line.

It would be like Midway airport in Chicago as an alternative to O'Hare.
 

rbt

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If they own the runway, is there any possibility of someone like Porter scooping it up and using it as an airport for their C-Series plans, now that it isn't happening at the Island?

Yes, Bombardier owns the runway and (I believe) the fire services station for it too. I don't believe there is any chance it would remain an airport.

It would still be a good alternative to Pearson, being closer to downtown and right on a subway and GO line.

As for increasing services at that location, I'm pretty sure that it's close enough to Pearson they would directly conflict. An aborted landing at Downsview by a jet trying to reach altitude would cross pretty damn close to Pearson's East/West corridors (depending on winds). It's possible the combined capacity of both Pearson + Downsview is pretty much equal to that of Pearson alone due to airspace conflicts.
 
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steveintoronto

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I don't believe there is any chance it would remain an airport.
You make excellent points, but this one especially. *Even if* it was kept open, the costs for it to be meaningful in any way would be astronomical, not to mention the limitations of one actual runway now and weather issues. The 'airport' aspect is toast. The locals and City Planning are going to have to accept the need for more housing, and done right, not some tacky condo box set.

But the 'Employment Zone' will have to stay. Some of those buildings are far too valuable as-is to tear down, and the spur off the tracks is just too perfect to not utilize for progressive and clean industry.

Contrary to the claims of absolutism from the local councillor as per "over my dead body" for housing, from the City's Secondary Plan for Downsview:
[...]
3.5
Housing
The large size of the Secondary Plan area and the areas designated for residential uses will
result in a number of new neighbourhoods to be developed over time. To meet the needs of
Toronto’s residents, new neighbourhoods will contain a mix of housing that contributes to
the full range of housing in terms of type, tenure and affordability. Affordable housing and
rental housing are important components of a healthy housing mix. The amount of land to be
developed for new housing in the Secondary Plan area offers an opportunity for the significant
achievement of affordable housing and rental housing. A strategy for providing affordable
housing will be included in the development approvals for each District. The following policies
will ensure the successful development of the diverse, healthy communities that Toronto needs
to thrive.
POLICIES
3.5.1 New residential development will achieve a full range of housing opportunities by type,
affordability and tenure, including purpose-built rental housing, both within Districts and over
the entire Secondary Plan area.
3.5.2 A minimum of 30 percent of new housing units in each District will be in forms other than
single-detached and semi-detached houses. The variety of unit types provided should include
housing with 3 or more bedrooms.
3.5.3 Affordable housing will be required in the Secondary Plan area and all affordable housing units
will be provided within the Secondary Plan area as part of a community benefit under Section 37
of the
Planning Act
and such units will be distributed proportionally across and within Districts
that permit residential uses.
3.5.4 Based on the residential development permissions provided for in this Secondary Plan,
affordable housing will be provided on the Parc Downsview Park Inc. and Build Toronto lands as
follows:
a)
Parc Downsview Park Inc. - a minimum of 720 affordable housing units on lands which
permit residential uses and are under their ownership or authority at the time of the
adoption of the Secondary Plan.
b)
Build Toronto – a minimum of 300 affordable housing units on lands which permit residential
uses and are under their ownership or authority at the time of the adoption of the Secondary
Plan.
10
3.5.5 The affordable housing requirement for each of Parc Downsview Park Inc. and Build Toronto will
be re-evaluated if additional residential development beyond that provided for in this Secondary
Plan is proposed or being considered.
3.5.6 The affordable housing requirement, set out in Section 3.5.4, will be calculated and achieved
on a District basis and will not be based on the size of individual development parcels within
Districts. The City may permit at its discretion a variation in the proportion of affordable housing
provided within a District, provided that a mix of housing is achieved in the District and the
overall requirement for the Secondary Plan Area is not reduced.
3.5.7 The affordable housing requirement, set out in Section 3.5.4, may be achieved by the conveyance
of land in the Secondary Plan area to the City, subject to the City, at its discretion, accepting the
owner’s proposal.
3.5.8 Affordable housing units in each District will be provided generally in the same proportion
(total number of units) and mix (unit type) as the residential units that are not affordable
housing units. This includes providing grade-related units with 3 or more bedrooms if this
type of housing is being provided. A higher proportion of units with 2 or more bedrooms in the
affordable housing component will be encouraged.
3.5.9 At least 50 percent of all affordable housing units will be affordable rental housing.
3.5.10
An affordable housing strategy is required at the District Plan stage that provides for the
achievement of the affordable housing requirements in the District.
3.5.11
Affordable housing strategies will include:
a)
numerical targets by tenure and unit type, and by development parcel or phase within the
context of the proposals for development of the housing that does not include affordable
units; and
b)
the proposed order of development within the District, and the identification of how the
affordable housing will be delivered to ensure that affordable housing requirements are
achieved prior to or at the same rate as development of the non-affordable housing units;
and
c)
proposals to meet any of the affordable housing requirements through the conveyance of
land to the City, at the City’s discretion; and
d)
for Parc Downsview Park Inc., for the second and subsequent Districts, the affordable
housing strategies shall also report on the achievement of affordable housing to date in all
Districts and any proposed modifications to future achievement.
3.5.12
The Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) is allocated 225 residential units to replace their
existing military housing in the Secondary Plan area. For the purpose of determining affordable
housing requirements, CFHA housing is excluded from any calculation of total housing units
or affordable housing units, and is not interpreted to be affordable housing for the purposes
of the Official Plan. The CFHA is strongly encouraged to develop a full range of housing types
to provide for the varied housing needs of the Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their
families.
3.5.13
Implementation of affordable housing strategies as per Section 3.5.4 will be secured through the
use of such mechanisms as agreements between public agencies and the City, conditions for the
release of holding provisions for zoning and agreements pursuant to Section 114 of the
City of
Toronto Act
(2006) and Sections 37, 41, 51 or 54 of the
Planning Act.
[...]
4.4
Employment Areas
The Secondary Plan area contains employment uses with large land area requirements: the
Bombardier Aerospace manufacturing facility and associated runway; the Department of
National Defence; and the Toronto Transit Commission rail yards. The intent of the Secondary
Plan is to continue to support these uses as their surroundings evolve and urbanize.
POLICIES
4.4.1 The Bombardier Aerospace lands, which include the manufacturing operations and the
airport runway, are recognized as a large employment use within the Secondary Plan area.
Development proposals for the Bombardier Aerospace lands will be evaluated to determine
impacts on the aviation manufacturing and testing operations of these lands.
4.4.2 The Department of National Defence (DND) lands are recognized as lands used for military
purposes, including administrative and armoury uses, research and office uses associated
with the military, training activities and supportive uses such as a daycare and family resource
centre. Development adjacent to DND lands may be impacted by DND security requirements.
4.4.3 Notwithstanding the
Employment Areas
policies of the Official Plan, the TTC parking lot on
the south side of Wilson Avenue between Billy Bishop Way and Allen Road, will continue
to be permitted to develop with retail and service uses such as retail stores, restaurants,
supermarkets and complementary retail and service uses.
4.5
Mixed Use Areas
Lands designated
Mixed Use Areas
are located around the Downsview subway station and along
Keele Street north of Sheppard Avenue. These locations are in transit supportive locations,
on Avenues, and can support an increased scale and level of development without conflicting
with flight operations of the nearby airport runway. These lands are encouraged to develop
with intensive mixed use, transit-oriented development. In particular, the lands around the
Downsview subway station are encouraged to develop as a sub-centre with predominantly
commercial and office uses
[...]
https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/902d-cp-official-plan-SP-7-Downsview.pdf

Mention of the BBD runway percolates through the report as it pertains to building height, proximity to residential build, and density.

Maria Augimeri might want to cool her turbines before injecting fuel. This land-use policy has already been signed off by Queen's Park almost a decade ago. It would be best for everyone to comply with it, unless some compelling case can be made to the OMB in their dying days to change it.
 
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dowlingm

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If they own the runway, is there any possibility of someone like Porter scooping it up and using it as an airport for their C-Series plans, now that it isn't happening at the Island?
Porter don’t have that sort of cash, and GTAA would definitely not want that level of conflicts on their flight paths - and given how much money their crown rents put into Federal coffers...
 

44 North

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If they own the runway, is there any possibility of someone like Porter scooping it up and using it as an airport for their C-Series plans, now that it isn't happening at the Island?

It would still be a good alternative to Pearson, being closer to downtown and right on a subway and GO line.

It would be like Midway airport in Chicago as an alternative to O'Hare.

Yeah that's what I was thinking, perfect for C-Series, and our version of Midway. But rbt made the right points about proximity to Pearson and flightpaths, which I didn't even think about.

But the 'Employment Zone' will have to stay. Some of those buildings are far too valuable as-is to tear down, and the spur off the tracks is just too perfect to not utilize for progressive and clean industry.

Contrary to the claims of absolutism from the local councillor as per "over my dead body" for housing, from the City's Secondary Plan for Downsview:

Mention of the BBD runway percolates through the report as it pertains to building height, proximity to residential build, and density.

Maria Augimeri might want to cool her turbines before injecting fuel. This land-use policy has already been signed off by Queen's Park almost a decade ago. It would be best for everyone to comply with it, unless some compelling case can be made to the OMB in their dying days to change it.

I'm all for keeping it as employment/industrial. But do wonder whether there'd be any takers. Such a large site. Places like the Supply Depot have seen interesting mixed uses. But I think this city may have an excess of large-scale industrial land across the board.
 

steveintoronto

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I'm all for keeping it as employment/industrial. But do wonder whether there'd be any takers. Such a large site. Places like the Supply Depot have seen interesting mixed uses. But I think this city may have an excess of large-scale industrial land across the board.
There'll be takers, if the price is reasonable. That rail spur is the deal breaker for the right deal.

Example?
Alstom
May 12 2017 9:11am
00:41

Alstom to open GTA manufacturing plant to fulfill Metrolinx deal
Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced on Friday that French manufacturer Alstom will open a factory in the GTA in order to fulfill a contract for 61 new light-rail vehicles.
<iframe src="https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/3446504/" width="670" height="372" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen scrolling="no"></iframe>
https://globalnews.ca/video/3446504/alstom-to-open-gta-manufacturing-plant-to-fulfill-metrolinx-deal

As much as Bombardier and Alstom are competitors, they are also partners in the Azure Consortium building new trains for the Montreal Metro.

As to land use, I suspect that the City will stick to their Secondary Plan now nine years dated (and of course, signed off by MAH) for residential areas, but might be willing to let some of the 'Employment' zone be changed to 'Mixed Use'.

The City, even if it's unreasonable, rightly wish to retain 'Employment' areas.
 
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Admiral Beez

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Never actually been to Downsview have you
I used to go the Wings and Wheels event there. It was great fun, with rich Americans flying in their personal MiG-15, Vampire and Sabre fighters and displaying them alongside my club's vintage motorcycles and others' classic cars.

https://www.wingsmagazine.com/news/wings-wheels-heritage-festival-has-landed-5011

Why not keep it as an airport? Swap it for Island Airport, return the island to parkland and build rail to Downsview?
 

kEiThZ

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Sad if it happens. Those are mostly highly skilled well paying jobs. Oh well, more space for condos and low-paying retail. My guess is that if they quit Downsview they will quit Ontario.

Real risk. There are actually a lot of aerospace jobs in the GTA. And Bombardier Downsview is the anchor client. Would be terrible for the GTA if they pull out.

But nobody seems to be concerned about the hollowing out of industrial capacity in Ontario. As long as realtors get paid....

The runway issue is interesting. The military doesn't own the runway. But it's a great asset in an emergency for the air force. When I was at Downsview, we had military aircraft use it occasionally. Will be interesting to see what the feds say.

I do remember my CO mentioning that developers had approached DND and wanted to get the corner when the current base is.
 
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lenaitch

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I'm not that up on commercial airport issues but tend to agree that Downsview's proximity to Pearson would create problems if it was to pose any kind of flight volumes. I also don't really see a huge advantage in closing the Island and moving it to Downsview. The Island's attraction seems to be its business proximity to the downtown core. If a passenger has to travel from downtown, where is the screaming advantage of Downsview over Pearson. And would it simply just replace the current people complaining about noisy planes to new people? Would it open the door to jets?

"Employment lands" can mean any number of things but I think the city would be hard-pressed to replace the Bombardier payroll. It's all well and good to talk about 'clean' or 'green' or 'knowledge' in terms of economy, but all of the clean, green, knowledge workers still need manufactured 'things', like planes, trains and automobiles, manufactured by people. And, of course, it is always better that those people be employed here rather than some other country.

I stand by my earlier speculation that if Bombardier leaves Downsview that they will leave Ontario. I simply don't see the numbers in moving from where they are now, which they own, to some new place they would have to build near Pearson. Downsview currently manufactures their Dash and Global series, and they apparently partnering with a Chinese manufacturer. It could well turn out that the manufacturing moves off shore and perhaps the planes being 'finished' in Canada. With part of the C-series moving to the US, the Dash and Global line could also move back to space freed-up in Mirabel. I say that not knowing the order book for either of the lines.

I honestly foresee Bombardier doing a slow Sears-like circling of the drain. They unloaded many of their Dehaviland types and their recreational product lines, and seem to be hell-bent on fumbling their rail division. Time will tell.
 

kEiThZ

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A commercial airport will never happen there. One look at a terminal area chart for the GTA will tell you why. It'd be a nightmare for airspace management, with a lot of low level manouvering happening over the city. If TC doesn't outright say no, there will be tons of study and restrictions before approving this. Noise control would be a nightmare. It would make YTZ look like a walk in the park. Even though the CSeries is remarkably quiet, having its entire footprint over the city, with full power departures right over Yonge on an eastbound departure, would undoubtedly draw the ire of lots of residents. This is a substantially different noise profile that lightly loaded aircraft doing the occasional test/certification run.

And as @lenaitch said, what's the point? With UPE, the value of a secondary GTA airport is limited. Access by subway/GO to a hypothetical Downsview commercial airport would take longer than UPE (albeit, with a cheaper fare). And that's aside from the fact, that there's not much commercial development near Downsview to drive passenger numbers.
 

Avenue

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Access by subway/GO to a hypothetical Downsview commercial airport would take longer than UPE

Actually, this is not true. Sheppard West station takes less time to get to for many more people than the UPE platform at Pearson. Not everyone lives on top of Union Station.
 

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