Park People release inaugural report.

Last week, Toronto park advocates Park People released their inaugural report timed to coincide with the City budget deliberations and consultations on a new Parks plan. You can download the four page report here – http://www.parkpeople.ca/storage/PP%20Paper%20No2-Singles.pdf

Some of the key recommendations include: our parks would be better if they were staffed with a dedicated city worker in each park, had an active local “Friends Of” group and were supported by private donations.

Some great recommendations, but what does it say about the city’s priorities when parks that in years past had full time employees in charge of their maintenance and upkeep must now rely on citizen run volunteer groups to help keep them running smoothly? Here’s some numbers from the report to underscore how important parks are to the people of Toronto:

  • 1600 parks in Toronto
  • 84 sq km or 20,500 acres of parkland and natural spaces in Toronto
  • 13 per cent of the city is occupied by parks and natural spaces
  • 1.3 million Toronto residents visit a park at least once a week
  • 365,000 visit a park every day

Upcoming community-related events

A couple of great events coming up that neighbourhood residents may wish to attend:

Tuesday, Nov. 8: Park People meeting to discuss budget cuts at Sorauren Park. Learn more: http://www.parkpeople.ca/upcoming-events/

Instead of cutting park budgets and staff, what would you do instead? Park People has prepared a list of draft ideas that we’d like to present and discuss with people who care about our parks. Give us your feedback and provide input into an important report to be released in the coming weeks.

The evening starts with our hosts, the Sorauren Park Advisory Committee, giving a talk on the great projects and activities they’ve brought to their local park. The highlight will be discussing their plans for a great new town square in their park. Come and learn how they are moving forward on this very cool idea.

Thursday, Nov. 10: Community Visioning Charette with Councillor Layton.

To discuss future development in Ward 19 and help to create a development plan for the community. Heights, density, open spaces, uses, community benefits, streetscape improvements.

Thursday, Nov 10th
7pm to 9pm
Trinity Community Recreation Centre

RSVP to: councillor_layton@toronto.ca
416 392 4009

Update on the ML Lumber development

Here’s a link to a news item at a Toronto condominium blog about the redevelopment of the ML Lumber site into a midrise apartment building and set of 10 townhomes, located at the intersection of Dundas and Manning. TBCA executive members Anne Keary, Chris Shulgan, Chris Walker and Lois Schklar, along with other community members, met with ML Lumber owner and site developer Renato Silva earlier this week at a meeting organized by the office of Mike Layton.

An earlier petition drive led by Anne Keary and Lois Schklar as well as other community members, and lobbying by Mike Layton’s office, the TBCA and the City of Toronto’s planning department, had led the developers to decrease the height of the building a single storey from the proposed eight storeys. At the meeting this week community members voiced their concerns primarily about the building’s sun shadow and the overall height. While we recognize the need for development in the area, particularly along that stretch of Dundas, we worry that Dundas’s indie character will be compromised if the street becomes a canyon in the midst of a series of midrise condos.

Renato and the ML Lumber development team have used the presence of other midrise buildings in the area to argue that their current seven-storey height is reasonable and fits the community. But each of the other midrise buildings they mention have been built on the south sides of their streets—causing sun shadow to fall on College Street, say, rather than any pre-existing resident homes.

The tricky thing with the ML Lumber development is that, while the ML Lumber development is on the street’s north side, the sun shadow it creates mostly falls on other components of its own development—namely, the 10 townhomes, as well as some pre-existing resident homes. In future, one community concern is that this may set a precedent that allows other seven-storey midrise apartments on Dundas Street’s north side—and that these future midrise developments cut off the sun from residents who live north of Dundas. It’s a matter the TBCA will have to monitor in future.—Chris Shulgan

Patios a hot topic in Trinity Bellwoods

Here’s an interesting story about Coun. Layton’s efforts to make the patio licensing process in the neighbourhood more user friendly. (Also notice the sidebar that mentions the TBCA.) Some excerpts:

Trinity-Spadina Councillor Mike Layton has launched a working group to look at how patios are licensed in his downtown ward… Moratoriums on Ossington Avenue and on College Street both lead to area-specific bylaws prohibiting backyard patios. That means if an establishment doesn’t already have a patio then they have little to no chance of getting one, Layton said.

… For the working group, Layton pulled together representatives from local Business Improvement Areas, interested building owners, people who run patios that work with the neighbourhood, and residents associations from across the ward. “I brought people in the room who don’t normally get along,” Layton said. “And then we brought in city staff from licensing and from Planning and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).” … Layton said the next meeting will be held in the new year.

To learn more: http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/local/article/1235945–ward-19-meeting-hopes-to-change-patio-licensing-system