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-The first thing we need is a change of attitude towards parks. I see Dufferin Grove Park as a big community centre without walls. This is not only a park where people come for a walk. Thereís so much activity and programs done here. This is a community centre, and thatís what we need to have in other parks in the area. We need our youth involved, we need our seniors involved, we need our artists involved... Read More >>
-One of the problems with Parks and Recreationís new policy of non-consultation is that itís not capped in time. I can understand staff working against a deadline and the pressure that creates, and wanting to streamline things and make sure they get done, because otherwise the money wonít be there to pay for it. But that doesnít mean you cut out consultation. It means you define things properly, you share with the community what the pressures are, you say, look, we have to arrive here together by whatever time. I think you have to trust people to go along with that. Read More >>
-I want to talk about the park benches. Hereís a local park, and hereís a broken local park bench, and hereís a bunch of people that know how to fix park benches. Theyíre all standing around this bench, but this bench doesnít belong to anybody here, it belongs to an organization called the City if Toronto, which a few years ago would have been one of our best friends. At the moment itís a large hierarchical structure with a whole lot of rules that apply to stuff like allocating resources to get benches fixed. Read More >>
-We live on St.Helens Avenue and I go back and forth through MacGregor Park every day on my way to teach at my school. I was watching the Stimulus-Grant work being done for a couple of months as they dug all around it, thinking, thatís good, the basement will be sound and dry. And then they put up those window screens that made it look like a fortified castle! Brutal. Read More >>
Parks and Recreation is massively underfunded and itís massively understaffed.
JM: So you feel like $360 million is not enough.
Joe MacDonald: No, I donít think itís enough. I wouldnít want to say, letís make it a billion, but Parks is one of those divisions thatís last in line for just about everything and theyíre kind of okay with it. An $180,000 project in the grand scheme of things is not even spit in the wind. But the $180,000 has real resonance locally. Thatís a lot of coin at the local level. Read More >>
- If a public building, like MacGregor field house, has water leaking into the basement, the city has to take steps to preserve the building. Itís old, itís of value, itís being used. So the leaking has to be stopped. But the whole process was flawed from the very beginning. What is happening is that the City is going with a one-size-fits-all approach. But all the parks are different. People who use the parks tend to have good ideas of what needs to be done. So as councillor Iíd want to talk to park users. We should have meetings in playgrounds. Community consultation is everybodyís buzzword, but how do you do it? Read More >>
Jutta Mason: So what would you do on Dec.1 if you get to City Hall as councillor, and we call you and say Ė ďthe floor at MacGregor Park field house wasnít properly painted, the paint is too thin, we need a few more coats of paint thereĒ?
Ken Wood: My job as City Councillor would be to listen to residents' concerns on ANY isssue and facilitate resolution in any way possible. First step would be to contact senior management in Parks and Rec/Works to see how quickly it could be rectified. I believe that the bureaucracy at City Hall is there to advise on policy when asked and to implement when directed. If action is not taken within a reasonable timeframe (less than a week), I would try to escalate. Failing that, I would use any means necessary which would include taking money out of Councillor Office budget and paying to get it done, hopefully with help from the local community. If it went that far, there would have to be some serious followup as to why, but get the job done first. Read More >>