Councillor Maria Augimeri said she has it “on good authority” that aerospace and rail giant Bombardier is exploring the possibility of selling some of its 152 hectares of property in Downsview for a “massive housing project.”
Hey @bombardier. Got it on good authority that you're secretly courting developers in scheme to turn #Downsview plant into a massive housing project. Forcing NDAs etc. 1. Care to comment? 2. Over my dead body. #whistlebloww #TOPoli @torontostar @nationalpost @torontosun @cbcnews— Maria Augimeri (@MariaAugimeri) January 12, 2018
In a statement released Friday, the company said it is exploring possibilities for the land. The property currently contains a manufacturing plant, hangars and runway north of Wilson Avenue and the Ancaster neighbourhood.
“Bombardier is in the midst of a five-year turnaround plan to ensure our long-term success as a company,” spokesperson Olivier Marcil said. “As part of this turnaround plan, we have been reviewing our facilities worldwide – including Downsview – to ensure we have the most efficient and cost effective operations necessary to support our growth objectives.”
The company says they currently use about 10 per cent of a 375-acre site and bears the entire cost of operating a 7,000-feet runway.
“We understand that the property’s unique location, proximity to public transit, major highways, universities and shopping make it an ideal location for employment and other uses, and we will work with all stakeholders throughout our review process.”
The Downsview Bombardier plant produces the Q400 passenger plane and components for several business jets sold by the company.
Bombardier also would not comment on long-term plans for manufacturing planes at the site. Last year, the company laid off 400 employees at the site as part of a wider cost-cutting move.
“We want to underscore that Bombardier is committed to a successful aerospace sector in Ontario and to supporting the Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research Initiative.”
The company says the sale process will begin this year.
“Before any sale can take place, a number of conditions will need to be met, including completing a due diligence, engaging with various stakeholders, identifying an appropriate buyer and obtaining a fair offer that is advantageous to our company and employees. This process is running its course and we expect to make progress in the first part of 2018.”