Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hockey Arena Proposed for Don Valley Site

Aerial Photo of site proposed for hockey arena (click to expand)

This past fall has seen some rumblings in North York about locating a new hockey arena on a site in the Don Valley right next to the East Don River. The site is partially wooded and has been an active location for a number of tree plantings. The proposal has been put forward by the Don Mills Civitan Community Service Club. From their website it appears their primary purpose is to run youth hockey leagues. They currently use the Don Mills Civitan Arena at Don Mills and Lawrence. The arena is 47 years old and is in poor shape. Rather than rebuild or renovate at the current location they are looking for a new location because the club maintains that there is very little parking available.

Several sites have been proposed but the Don Valley site is the largest contiguous space available. The land was formerly owned by the province but was transferred to the city when the 401 was constructed. One of the main stumbling blocks with development on this site is that the province placed a covenant on the land expressly forbidding any development.

This has not dissuaded local councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong from pushing this idea through North York Community Council. In a meeting on November 18, the council decided to get Parks, Forestry and Recreation to report on the feasibility of using the site. This report will be tabled in the spring of 2009.

Minnan-Wong thinks he can get the province to remove the covenant. Besides this little detail the location is not without some issues. It borders Don Mills Road on the east but this stretch just so happens to be at the top of a steep hill as Don Mills Road climbs over the 401. A steep embankment (see map) is the only egress to get into the site.

The Task Force to Bring Back the Don is studying the issue and will no doubt issue a position some time in the new year. There is also a local ratepayers group called Don Mills Friends fighting the closure of the arena. Their position is that the arena is an historical structure and deserves to be retained.

We'll have to wait for a few more months to see how this plays out.

No comments: