Residents compile wish list for Booth Street site

A grocery store, small businesses, affordable housing, green space, art and culture hub, and family-size homes topped the list of requests from residents interested in the future of Natural Resources Canada's former Booth Street campus.

Canada Lands Company developing plan for 2.5 hectares just north of Dow's Lake

The Canada Lands Company held a public meeting Tuesday night to collect opinions from residents about what they'd like to see at the former Booth Street campus of Natural Resources Canada. Some of the buildings at the site have federal heritage designations. (Joanne Chianello/CBC)

More than 100 people turned out Tuesday night for the first in a series of public consultations about the future of the former Booth Street campus of Natural Resources Canada.

After giving a brief presentation, officials from Canada Lands Company — the Crown corporation developing a plan for the 2.5 hectares just north of Dow's Lake — invited residents to share ideas about what they'd like to see in the future community.

Early feedback via sticky notes tacked onto a large photo of property call for a grocery store, small businesses, affordable housing, green space, art and culture hub, and family-size homes with three bedrooms.

In October 2015, Canada Lands acquired the large city block bordered by Booth, Norman, Rochester and Orangeville streets, and includes five brick structures recognized as federal heritage buildings. 

Residents used sticky notes to pin their ideas to a map of the redevelopment site. (Joanne Chianello/CBC)

'We're just at the beginning'

While the city and the Crown corporation try to re-use heritage buildings, there's no guarantee all five will be incorporated into a new plan that will likely be a combination of homes and businesses.

"We're just at the beginning of the process," said Rodger Martin, Canada Lands' vice-president of real estate in Ontario. "Before we even know what the uses might be, we can't say what uses the buildings might have."

The next major public meetings will be in the early summer, when a concept plan will be presented for feedback from residents, and another in the fall to show us the draft "preferred plan."

But officials said Canada Lands will have additional public sessions — or more smaller sessions — if there's enough demand for them.

The process will eventually end in a formal rezoning application to the city by the end of the year.