Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)
Back in December 2004, there was this newsletter item: BUY A CITY SECRET in Dufferin park newsletter
Pick your topic from our list. It's a shame that it had to come to this. But in case you have someone on your Christmas list who has everything, buy them a Freedom of Information appeal, for $25. It's a highly original present, and it's a gift that keeps on giving - sooner or later, if we can afford to buy enough appeals, the city will begin to answer the citizens' questions directly. (The gift appeal comes with a gilt card featuring one of Jane LowBeer's original park illustrations, and as we get each answer, the sponsors get a loaf of fresh park bread and a framed record of the answer put up on the rink house wall).
Four “city secrets” appeals were sold that month. One was settled almost immediately, and the other three have now – after 4 years – been settled (well, one is almost settled). It's been so long that the interest on the “city secrets” purchase has compounded -- by now the loaf of bread has multiplied into two loaves of bread, a block of cinnamon buns, a Dufferin Grove farmers' market calendar and a dozen park cookies. The display of the answers will be posted on the rink house wall on Dec. 27, and the payouts to city secrets purchasers will be delivered the same week.
The “city secrets” concerned how playground replacement/repair funds were spent, how many injury claims (playgrounds and rinks) have been made, and their details (no names), and what the settlements were. The information will be posted on the rink house wall on the Dec.27 weekend, for the rest of rink season.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION RESPONSE: TORONTO PARK PLAYGROUND INJURY CLAIMS AND SETTLEMENTS.
Information was requested August 12 2004, final information received Sept.29 2008
Playground injury claims summary, NO INFORMATION AVAILABLE BEFORE AMALGAMATION, A TOTAL OF 9 CLAIMS, AMALGAMATION TO 2006
April 29 1998. Coronation Park, Etobicoke. A swing broke. A girl fell off, got bruised and got a concussion and “was unconscious for a short period of time.” Claiming $1.5 million. Not settled.
May 7 1998. Stone House Park. Suing for 1.65 million. Sounds like a swing broke. The statement of claim is illegible. Not settled. August 28 1998, Indian Line Park in Etobicoke. Swing seat broke, so a girl fell and injured her (?) spine and got otherwise bruised. Claiming $825,000. Not settled.
May 12 2000. Park Lawn Park. Girl was swinging and the swing broke. She fell and broke her leg. Claimed $500,000 damages. Settlement: $9000. Paid by: City (not insurance: in 2000, City paid $5.2 million insurance premiums, deductible was $500,000. Total payments by insurance companies for ALL City claims in 2000: $62,598.74)
August 1 2004. Kitchener Park, Child was swinging on a baby swing when the top chain came undone and the swing twisted around and the child struck a post. No claim amount mentioned. Not settled.
June 13 2000, playground near York Mills Arena – 8 year old girl was hanging from rings suspended on a beam and one side of the beam collapsed. She had to have stitches to her face and head. Settlement: July 2003, she was awarded $9,937.50, also the Ministry of Health was awarded $218.78 and the City had to pay $3000 for the girl’s lawyer. Paid by: City (not insurance: deductible was $500,000, see above).
Sept.8 2002. Splash water park at Toronto zoo. Girl fell and cut her chin on a protruding screw on the “seal.” The girl had “extended hospitalization” and has to take medicine for her “accident-related symptomatology.” Settlement: $6500. Paid by: City (not insurance – in 2002 City paid $1.12 million insurance premiums, deductible was $2 million. Insurance company payments for ALL City claims in 2002: nil.)
Oct.6 2003. Kenneth Parkette. A woman “got on the track ride and grabbed a metal handle attached to the underside of a beam spanning between the two platform towers which supported the slider mechanism. Suddenly without warning the slider mechanism proceeded on the track at high speed and stopped suddenly and without warning, causing the plaintiff to be thrown to the ground.” She broke her tibia and had to get a plate and screws put in. Claimed $2 million. Settlement: $288,634.92. Paid by: City (not Insurance –In 2003 City paid $1.8 million insurance premiums, deductible was $3 million. Insurance Company payments for ALL City claims in 2003: nil.)
Aug. 6 2006, Thomson Park in Scarborough. A girl was on a spring teeter totter and her hand was jammed in the springs. She had two broken fingers plus stitches for two other fingers. She is suing the City and Henderson Equipment for $100,000. The City is claiming against Henderson. Not settled.
July 24 2005 a girl hurt her tooth while playing on a spring teeter-totter at Kennedy Margon Park. Claiming $10,887.93 for pain and suffering and present and future dental work (small claims court). Not settled, and the City rejects all of it, and wants legal costs.