Councillor drafts plan to purchase DDO lands

Coun. Perrelli said the lands should remain development-free

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.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO