CONSULTATION ROUND 1 WRAPS UP
Northcrest and Canada Lands are working to develop a Framework to guide the future development of 520 acres of land at Downsview. We kicked off discussions with the public, community groups, and stakeholders in May 2020 to introduce the project and process, and to seek feedback on:
• what people value in the neighbourhood, to help Northcrest and Canada Lands understand the area’s strengths,
• the challenges people see or experience, to help us identify what people don’t like and wouldn’t want repeated, and
• opportunities that people would like Northcrest and Canada Lands to consider for the future of these 520 acres.
Between May 20 and June 30, we heard from over 550 people, including representatives of over 60 organizations who represent a wide range of perspectives and interests. All of this feedback is informing how we think about the future. We’ll be sharing our early ideas and seeking feedback during Round 2 of the consultation, which will happen in the Fall of 2020. Round 3 will follow in early 2021, when we’ll share a draft Framework Plan and again seek feedback from you.
This is just the beginning of what will be a decades-long development process that will see this area evolve in response to community and stakeholder priorities, public policy priorities, and our priorities as landowners. We look forward to digging deeper during Consultation Rounds 2 and 3, and are still hoping to meet you in-person—at a distance—when permitted by public health authorities.
Read on for highlights of the feedback received or download our full report here.
WHAT PEOPLE VALUE & CHALLENGES
Knowing what people value in the neighbourhood and what challenges they face helps us understand the area’s existing strengths and weaknesses. People told us they love Downsview Park. They also appreciate the diverse, locally-owned businesses around Downsview and how existing buildings have adapted to new uses. The challenges that people identified include: the lack of safe, direct neighbourhood connections; a history of job losses; the lack of space for social connection among the area’s diverse communities; access to food; systemic issues related to equity and inclusion; housing affordability; and particular issues impacting seniors and youth.
What people value
in the neighbourhood
Challenges people see of experience in the neighbourhood
12 OPPORTUNITIES IDENTIFIED BY THE PUBLIC & STAKEHOLDERS
Building from what people value and the challenges they face, the vast majority of discussion focused on opportunities for Northcrest and Canada Lands to consider as they plan the future of these 520 acres.
(Click on items to expand)
These opportunities included the need for considerable employment and for neighbourhoods that are walkable, bikeable, and connected.
Participants imagined a future with improved access to usable green space and more community facilities and walkable amenities. Housing was also discussed as an opportunity, including affordable housing. We were told to recognize the history and heritage of the area and to be proactive in looking at issues of equity, inclusion, and power. Many participants asked us to take a lead in sustainability, ecology, biodiversity, and hydrological function and to support aging in place.
They told us to be bold, ambitious, and unique with design and architecture. We heard that Downsview has a real opportunity to attract people. To do this, participants told us to look at the area holistically and at ways to push boundaries and deliver a truly innovative approach to planning and design.
WHO PARTICIPATED DURING ROUND 1
Over 550 people shared their feedback during Round 1, the bulk of whom live within a 2-kilometre radius of the site, as seen in the adjacent map. During this round we invited over 80 organizations (many who represent dozens, hundreds, or thousands of others) and heard from over 60 organizations locally and city-wide who represent the interests of thousands of people. We also had over 5,000 visits to our website and over 30,000 engagements on our social media channels in June alone.
During Round 1 we had a total of 557 participants.
112 Mail-in Responses
97 mail reply cards
15 Workbook submissions
These postage pre-paid reply cards were distributed to all homes, apartments, and businesses within 2 kilometres of the site and the postage pre-paid workbooks were available by request.
Roughly two-thirds of these responses came from houses and the other one-third from apartment addresses.
215 Virtual meetings attendees
145 Virtual Townhall attendees
27 Small Group Discussion attendees
43 Focus Group attendees
Participants of online meetings represented a mix of ages, genders, ethnocultural backgrounds, and interest areas represented.
Fifteen online meetings were held, eight of which were open to the broad public including one large Virtual Townhall and seven small group discussions, which had up to six participants each.
Seven online focus groups were held with representatives from over 80 organizations to dive deeper into a range of topics and interests.
230 Online Feedback Responses
185 unique visits to Social Pinpoint
45 Email, Phone calls, and website
Of the demographic information shared by these participants, almost half were between 21 and 35 years old, with over one-quarter between 36 and 50 years old.
Location of participants
Canada Lands property
& Park Commons
Flyer mail-out boundary
(Over 63,000 flyers were mailed out to houses, apartments, and businesses within 2km radius of the project site)
* Note that the dots on the map show only those who provided their postal code information. The actual number of respondents is higher than those captured on the map. Not pictured: Feedback from Caledon, Otonabee, Montreal, Hamilton (GTHA), Bailieboro, and Calgary.
Many participants said they support and appreciate the id8 Downsview engagement process and there was a lot of interest in staying connected as the project unfolds. Several process suggestions were shared, with many focusing on the importance of involving people before decisions are made, as well as collaborating with community organizations that represent and serve the local communities. Intentional engagement with the Black community and local youth was suggested, along with advice to stay away from planning jargon and recognize the power of storytelling.
Round 1 Feedback
Public Small Group Discussions
Stakeholder Focus Groups
2020/06/02 Educational interests
2020/06/03 Community Services and Facilities
2020/06/01 Business and commercial interests
2020/06/04 Local Community Development
2020/06/05 Aging in Place & Health
2020/06/08 Resident and Tenant Associations
2020/06/09 City-Wide Stakeholders
ENGAGEMENT SUMMARIES & REPORTS
During Round 1, we invited feedback from local communities and stakeholders through id8downsview.ca, by email, phone, and mail. Our online engagement included opportunities to provide written feedback on the future of Downsview and to map opportunities and challenges in and around the site.
During the period, we invited the public to a Virtual Townhall and to seven small discussion groups to share their thoughts about the future of Downsview. We also held seven focus groups via video conference with stakeholders involved in particular local and city-wide issues.
Our engagement team drafted summaries of these activities and shared them with the participants. Participants provided feedback on these summaries before we shared them with our design and landowner teams and posted them here. Have a look!