Downsview Park, Sunday, 3:30 pm
There's no set-aside for a car dealership in the utopian design concepts found in Downsview Park's 2005 annual report. But these days it's looking like one; Chrysler has leased a huge swath of the former military base to store hundreds of cars.
Park communications coordinator Garth Hardie isn't anxious to answer questions on the matter.
"Basically, nothing is being done with the land right this minute, and it's an opportunity to help the car manufacturers with storage."
Can't blame locals for feeling like they've been run over yet again -- they were promised a "unique urban recreational green space" during the federal election 11 years ago. Imagination hasn't been the park management board's strong suit. There's already a flea market on the site, and plans for a discount furniture store have also been floated.
According to Hardie, the latest Downsview snafu is the work of the Department of National Defence (DND), which still owns land that was supposed to be transferred to the park but in all likelihood won't be until a new government is formed. And even then it's not a sure thing.
Douglas Drever, a spokesperson from DND, makes no apologies for the Chrysler eyesore -- or for the fact that DND's making money on the deal. "The revenues are going into our coffers to help defray the cost of maintenance of the park through this transition period," he says.
Can it get any worse?
Local councillor Maria Augimeri says she's fearful of plans for high-density development on the property. She says she walked in on a meeting of park boardmembers as they were being discussed. "If the community ever found that out they'd tear out their throats," she says.
So much for those green dreams.