The future of Keele Street: The Keele Finch Plus Study

On Thursday, 28 September, 2017, a public consultation was held to discuss proposed changes to the Keele Street and Finch Avenue W intersection. The City of Toronto Planning staff presented three propositions for changes to the area, each presented separately in different stations.

The event had an impressive turnout with approximately 70 to 80 local residents and DUKE Heights BIA members.

We spoke to resident Talisha Ramsaroop-Godinho and asked about her impression of the changes; she said, “I think the city plans are interesting and can benefit the community in many ways. My community will be more lively and walkable, and it also brings about more opportunity for residents and development. For me, it’s important that the community is there throughout the process and that their input continues to be taken into account and the community needs and benefits are being acknowledged as well.”

Former Deputy Mayor, Joe Pantalone, however, took issue with the plans’ general direction and their concentration on commercial development which he thought was facilitated at the expense of more residential development. He stated that, “the Keele Finch Plus Study could have understood and reflected how the corridor has the potential to transform into the heart of the area. It is a unique location, because this is where two major Toronto roads intersect, and there will be extensive access to transit with the completion of the Finch LRT and the Toronto York-Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE).” Pantalone went on to say that, “Given these changes, it is disheartening to see these plans focus on employment use of the land rather mixed use which includes residential development.”

The plans proposed by the Keele Finch Plus Study will surely engender many improvements in the neighbourhood, but they leave some wondering if they fully capture the exponential growth that is expected to occur in the community with the changes in transit.

For more information about Keele Finch Plus and the related public consultation, you can visit the Planning Study’s website and the Consultation Summary. If residents and business owners have any questions or concerns about the proposed changes to the Keele Street and Finch Avenue W intersection,  they are encouraged to contact the local business improvement area, DUKE Heights BIA, and Matt Armstrong of the City of Toronto’s Planning Division; he can be reached at 416-392-3521, or via email at matt.armstrong@toronto.ca

 

Keele Street to get a makeover

On 21 September, 2017, the  residents, business owners and property managers of Downsview, University Heights, and Black Creek  communities were invited to discuss the beautification plan and business improvement strategies being implemented by Councillor Anthony Perruzza and Matias de Dovitiis, the Executive Director of DUKE Heights BIA, for Keele Street, Toro Road, and Tangiers Road.

The proposed plan included but was not limited to: new public seating areas, signs, bike racks, garbage and recycling bins, and the addition of green spaces. This plan will essentially change the face of Keele Street.

The objective of these improvements is to create communal spaces to encourage outdoor activities, enhance neighborhood aesthetics, make the BIA more attractive for business investment, encourage people to visit DUKE Heights for leisure and, ultimately, to make it more enjoyable for residents to spend time in the neighborhood. Through these enhancements, Keele Street will look bolder, more beautiful, and more attractive for businesses and residents.

Free Wi-Fi at Keele & Finch

We are proud to be launching this new program to make Wifi more accessible in the neighbourhood and better serve our business owners.

We are excited about our DUKE Heights Free Wifi project and we encourage you when you see the DUKE Heights Wi-Fi signal near Keele and Finch to sign on and try it out. This is a 6-month pilot project before we start spreading the program out across DUKE Heights. This means that we want your feedback! If you are using this service and you have any comments or suggestions, please contact us at info@dukeheights.ca .

On July 4th, this Summer the DUKE Heights BIA officially kicked off a Free Wi-Fi program at the corner of Keele and Finch. This is the start of a 6-month pilot program that will be introduced across the entire DUKE Heights neighborhood over the next 2 years. Free Wi-Fi is an initiative that has been brought in over many other municipal areas over the years, and yet in Toronto it can still be difficult to find readily available. The DUKE Heights BIA wanted to help bridge that gap, by providing this essential service for business owners, their customers, and the community.