July 25, 2014

Councillor drafts plan to purchase DDO lands

Coun. Perrelli said the lands should remain development-free

Coun. Perrelli said the David Dunlap Observatory lands need protection

Coun. Perrelli said the David Dunlap Observatory lands need protection

In the midst of the ongoing battle between developers and defenders of the David Dunlap Observatory (DDO), one Richmond Hill councillor has drafted a plan that would save the land from development.

“I have always stated that, if this council wants to provide a level of protection that keeps all development off observatory lands, the town must own them,” Coun. Carmine Perrelli said. “We should not leave the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board [OMB],” he added.

In a post on the councillor’s website, Perrelli explains the lands would cost the town about $70 million, which could be purchased with the town’s “parkland cash-in-lieu” funds.These funds are paid to the town from developers, who provide cash instead of the land for a park.

While Perrelli would like to see a central park instead of a development on the lands, Mayor Dave Barrow is skeptical.

“Council has never ever dealt with purchasing the lands,” Barrow said. “There has to be a willing seller, and as far as I know, there’s not.”

The DDO lands, purchased by Corsica Development Inc., have been at the centre of a fight at the OMB. The fourth round of mediation is slated for March 9.