Plans are still in the works and details are sketchy - it's been ever thus at Parc Downsview Park (PDP) - but it seems the urban park promised by the federal Libs back in 94 is about to be served up to developers.
And there's little the city can do about it, even if it wants to.
With a proposed subway extension on its way and the appointment of former councillor David Soknacki as chair of the PDP board, talk of development on the 572-acre site at Allan and Sheppard has shot into overdrive.
What has area councillors and city planners freaked is the possibility of a major selloff of the Crown-owned land. The city would have next to no control over plans for the property.
"As an agency of the Crown following its mandate from the Crown, [PDP] can do what it wants without following our bylaws," says city solicitor Terry Denison.
The city is paying particular attention to a recent court case involving a proposal by cement giant LaFarge to build a processing plant on Vancouver Port Authority lands. The court is reviewing the Crown's prerogative over municipal laws in that case.
"Where the city does have an interest in regulating things that have an impact on our city systems, we want to do so," especially on matters affecting residential roads and sewer systems, says Denison.
Tony Genco, CEO of Parc Downsview Parc Inc., says PDP plans to follow the city's Official Plan from the early 90s, which allows residential and commercial zoning on the site. But he says we needn't fear a concrete bungle.
Genco says preliminary plans floated at a community meeting some weeks back will preserve more than half the site for green space.
Since the park is mandated to be self-financing, he says, development would generate ongoing revenue instead of the bank loans it uses now.
The Downsview Lands Community Voice Association, meanwhile, has asked Grit MP Ken Dryden to read a letter in the House of Commons opposing any development on the site.
But Dryden seems reluctant to state his position on the issue and suggests residents should feel fortunate to be getting any green space.
"When I was on a recent visit in Winnipeg, people I spoke to were surprised when I told them about Downsview Park [protests], because every other [military] base in the country is up for development," he says.