Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





Park Furniture 2002 To 2010

Dufferin Grove Park Outdoor Furniture 2010

September 3, 2010

September 2010 inventory update

There are 29 tables. One of those is collapsed on the ground (needs welding in order to stand up), 8 need new boards, 12 need paint, and one was donated by a park neighbour.


The count as of April 28, 2010

Number of tables, location, and condition
1 east side of rink, under tree looks great, sturdy, some chipped paint
1 east side of soccer field sturdy, some chipped paint, needs some sanding and a replacement panel for seat
1 east side of main path sturdy, some chipped paint, needs some sanding and a replacement panel for seat
3 surrounding City bathrooms sturdy, lots of graffiti and carvings, maybe sanding, and repaint?
2 north of playground, under trees are fine
2 east of wading pool wobbly, need tightening
1 north of cob foodcart wobbly, needs tightening
2 west of foodcart, by fire pit wobbly, need tightening, one table is missing a chunk off of a top panel
1 the dip wobbly, needs tightening
3 southwest of main firepit under the trees wobbly, need tightening 1 by main fire pit one seat panel broken entirely in half, some park goers report this as a hazard
10 by bake oven many are wobbly and need tightening ( especially seats; 2 are totally loose)
1 mini dip, west of rinkhouse, north of gardens wobbly, needs tightening

29 TOTAL (Picnic tables)

needs wood



needs paint

whole bench part missing

bench needs a slat and PAINT

From Jutta Mason to Recreation supervisor Dave Hains, May 5 2010

As you can see from this link http://celos.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=StateOfGoodRepair.ParkFurniture2002To2010, the supply of picnic tables at Dufferin grove has fluctuated from a high of 45 tables to a low of 29 right now (program staff counted last week). Many of those 29 need repair, the sooner the better.

Michelle Webb has held a picnic table painting day for some years. She says she can do it again this weekend (weather permitting). Could you ask Parks to supply the paint and brushes for this weekend, as they have done in other years?

What are the plans for replacing rotting or broken slats (on both the tables and the benches)? If there are no plans, could Parks pay for the wood, so that park users could join with program staff and CELOS to do the repairs?

(Note that last Sunday there were over 500 people in the park in the afternoon. Taking the tables downtown for repair won't work if they don't come back for two months -- at least most of the broken park furniture is still available for sitting).

From Recreation supervisor Dave Hains to Jutta Mason, May 5 2010

We have worked out an arrangement for Dufferin where these types of issues go through Mayssan to Chris. I've copied both of them on this email.

From Jutta Mason to Ward 18 Recreation supervisor Dave Hains, May 5 2010

Sorry Dave, I was under the impression you had said I should send this to you. I will send all concerns to Mayssan from now on, she can tell them to Chris, Chris can contact whoever is responsible for it, that person can tell her what the situation is, Chris can tell Mayssan, Mayssan can tell me.

Everybody will keep busy. The tables may not get done, as they haven't been done in many other years. However it will be an interesting thing to cost out this process (above). That's part of our inquiry at CELOS.

From Michelle Webb to Ward 18 Recreation supervisor Dave Hains, May 5 2010

I'd like to plan a picnic table painting and repair the last weekend in May, after the clothing exchange (as we can get rags and old shirts to use as 'smocks' from that event). Other than paint and brushes we would need bench slats, picnic table slats (seats) and the right kind of bolts to attach both.

The last two times we did this it was extremely successful. In the past we did it in the autumn so as to weather proof the tables to ensure they lasted the winter. However, there are enough tables needing repair now to warrant a spring event.

From Ward 18 Recreation supervisor Dave Hains to Michelle Webb, May 5 2010

That sounds like a great idea - I've copied Chris Kennedy on this email as well - we will make sure that we have all of the necessary supplies for that weekend. From what I understand the number of tables has decreased over the years - it would be great to figure out a plan to get some new tables as well.

From Michelle Webb to Christine Kennedy, Dave Hains, Dufferin Park program staff, and Jutta Mason, May 15 2010,

So how does Saturday May 29, for picnic table repair and painting? Say 11-2pm? Sunday May 30th as a RAIN DATE.

What exactly will be provided? Brushes? Paint? Items for repairing broken benches/tables?

Should I meet up with someone in the next week to do a quick audit?

We have a bunch of rags and old shirts from the clothing exchange to use on the day.

Anything else we need?

From Jutta Mason to Michelle Webb, May 15 2010

Hopefully Chris can get you the paint, the brushes, lumber, etc. As for doing an audit -- no need. The tables are in such bad shape that there are more than enough to deal with -- may as well just begin at the beginning.

From Chris Kennedy to Michelle Webb, May 18 2010

I will look into this for you.

From Michelle Webb to Chris Kennedy, May 18 2010

In just hanging at the park this weekend I was very aware of the many Benches that are missing slats. They may be a priority in the repair department. it is very uncomfortable to sit on a bench that has only two slats, AND it seems to undermine the stability of the whole thing.

Any help you could provide would be most appreciated.

From Christine Kennedy to Michelle Webb, May 21 2010 10.34 a.m.

sorry to take so long to get back to you. In the past city benches have been painted by the public in various location - I will be able to facilitate getting some of the parks green paint. I'll check with Dave re: other supplies when he is in next week. I don't think that carpentry repairs have been done by the public in parks - I will check with our carpenters re: this and get back to you.

From Michelle Webb to Chris Kennedy and Jutta Mason, May 21 2010 11.27 a.m.

If we cannot do the repairs, is there some way to get a park carpenter out ASAP so we can paint fixed benches and picnic tables. I do know that is asking a lot. But it would make so much sense.

From Chris Kennedy to Michelle Webb May 21 2010 11.34 a.m.

I'm already on this and may be able to get some picnic benches that have been repaired as replacements. I'll let you know once I have come up with a solution.

I'm on my way to Dufferin Grove now and will note how many benches need to be replaced. As you can imagine a lot of staff have taken today off to have an extra long weekend so I'm unable to speak with a couple of people until Tuesday. I'll order the paint on Tuesday when we'll know exactly how many cans we'll need.

Michelle Webb to Chris Kennedy and Jutta Mason, May 21 2010 11.42 a.m.

Would you like me to meet you at the park?

If the paint is coming, I will start advertising.

From Jutta Mason to Michelle Webb, May 21 2010, 12.40 p.m.

as you know, the picnic table supply at Dufferin Grove has plummeted from 45 in 2006 to 29 currently, many of those in need of repair. However, the number of eager picnickers at the park has not taken a corresponding dive.

For the past few years, CELOS has bought wood to keep the "Piper" benches in repair, sending the photos of these repairs to the Parks staff. Every few years, Parks staff have carried out repairs of the other benches and tables, usually after some urging through the Councillor's office.

The problem is that when tables are removed for repair, they apparently join a long queue at the carpentry shop, and as you see from the inventory web page on celos.ca, they often don't come back. I recently asked to find out the current plans for repair, but I'm guessing that the request was not clear enough. I will now ask again, making the questions more specific, also to find out whether the carpentry staff has been cut, even as the 2010 operating budget has increased to $360 million.

Meantime, let's make it work as best we can, without losing any more tables. The painting will be a big help. Paint and brushes from the City are a good start, together with the gift of labour from the people you round up. You may want to specify latex paint; last time one family was unhappy about the oil paint fumes, even out of doors.

Michelle Webb to Jutta Mason and Chris Kennedy, May 21 2010, 12.50 p.m.

Thanks for the added info Jutta,

Given that Chris, we don't want to lose any more benches or tables. Seriously!

We will make it work!

Latex paint, gloves and brushes would go a long way toward what we need!

From Chris Kennedy to Parks Supervisor Peter Leiss, cc Michelle Webb and Jutta Mason, May 21 2010, 1.10 p.m.

as per our earlier conversation - thanks for letting me know that the Parks green paint only comes in an oil-based formula. I'll order 10-15 Gallons next week from stores. Thanks for letting me know that Danny will be at Dufferin Grove next week identifying picnic benches that can be repaired by your staff on site and those that are in such a state of disrepair that they need to be taken into the shop for repair. Benches that need repair will not be painted only the ones that are in good shape. Thanks for your assistance on this.

From Parks Supervisor Peter Leiss, cc Michelle Webb, Jutta Mason, and carpentry staff, May 21 2010

Parks typically will make repairs if we are able. For other repairs the benches/tables are taken to the carpenter shop for repairs/painting and returned once completed.

From Jutta Mason to Chris Kennedy, May 21 2010, 1.22 p.m.

Can you help me find out what I need to know about bench and table repair?

1. what is the current park furniture repair budget for Dufferin Grove Park?

2. what is the current park furniture repair budget for Ward 18?

3. what is the picnic table and bench allotment from Dufferin Grove Park?

4. What is the picnic table and bench allotment for all the Ward 18 parks?

5. How many carpenters are assigned to work on park furniture repair, for Toronto/EY? Has the number of Parks carpenters decreased over the past 10 years, and if so, where can I find those numbers?

I'm asking you these questions because Malcolm Bromley urged me last week to ask for information directly, instead of going through FOI. If any of these questions need to go to Corporate Access, please let me know as soon as possible, so I can get going on it.

From Chris Kennedy to Jutta Mason, May 21, 2010, 2.10 p.m.

I will try and get this info for you. I have been informed that Dufferin Grove has more picnic benches than all the total benches combined in the rest of Ward 18. Will get back to you as I get answers from the appropriate people.

From Chris Kennedy to Jutta Mason, May 21, 2010, 4.05 p.m.

I have just found out that Parks staff will be identifying numbers of benches in all parks next week and once the information has been collated I will have info on # of benches.

From Jutta Mason to Chris Kennedy, May 21 2010, 5.18 p.m.

I thought from your last e-mail that the numbers are already in, since someone told you we have double the number of picnic tables as all the other Ward 18 parks combined? How did they know if they didn't count?

I'm going over to Christie Pits tonight anyway, so I'll count those tables. Christie Pits is slightly smaller that Dufferin, but comparable. Beyond that: the Dufferin Grove baseline number was 45. If the other parks have a shortage, there needs to be a plan. It's the plan I'm asking for. With numbers attached, including the numbers of carpenters. Not enough carpenters = not enough table repairs. :-)

From Chris Kennedy to Jutta Mason, May 25, 2010

in response to question 5), there are 3 Parks carpenters to service the whole Toronto/ East District

- I'm not sure if there has been a decrease in staffing of parks carpenters over the past 10 years

From Jutta Mason to Chris Kennedy, May 25 2010

Thanks for that first response, Chris. Will you be able to find out the other answers, or can you recommend someone else I should ask?

From Chris Kennedy to Jutta Mason, May 25, 2010

I'm seeing Sandy Straw on Thurs will try and get some of this info then

From Chris Kennedy to Jutta Mason, May 28, 2010

I've been informed that all the budget information/details are contained on the City's website at www.toronto.ca.

You can search 2010 operating budget and this will lead you to all documents you need. In addition, the user fee increases were for 'subscriber' programs not drop in programs. This information is on the budget web page too.

hope this helps

From Jutta Mason to Chris Kennedy, May 28 2010

you sent me the suggestion to look up the budget info myself, and sent me only the general city website link. I'm not sure which of my budget queries you were referring to.....I need to confirm that you mean that both of my queries -- about the table repair budget for Ward 18 and about the cost recovery staff report Costanza referred to at the community engagement meeting -- can be answered if I hunt around in the 2010 operating budget. Since that information is unlikely to be found there, I will then ask Corporate Access to help me....I've cc'd our councillor and two of the election candidates as well, in case they would like to comment.

From Kevin Beaulieu, candidate for Ward 18 city councillor, May 31 2010

I've done a bit of checking at http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2010/bu/bgrd/backgroundfile-28227.pdf and it seems that the repair budget and allotments are so specific we really will need PF&R to provide them. Bench repair seems to be captured under "General Services" on page 8, but so are several other things, and there appears to be no further costing or breakdown in the document.

I'm not sure if this provides you with anything new or useful, but unless I'm mistaken, it does confirm that the information is not, in fact, available on the City's website.

From Jutta Mason to Kevin Beaulieu, May 31 2010

As we all know, the budget does not usually include line items, and clearly what I was asking for is several line items (I think that's what they're called?).

I'm just finishing a project, and I'll have time to attend to this on Wednesday. If I haven't received the information by then, I'll send my question to FOI. They will not be pleased, since they have been struggling to get PFR to release simple information without racking up extra FOI staff time. However, that is -- sadly -- the pattern that continues here.

From Ana Bailao, candidate for Ward 18 city councillor, to Jutta Mason May 31 2010

This clearly exemplifies the need to have a more open, participatory and equitable budget process in the City - something I am strongly in favour and committed to! City Budgets reflect the priorities and directions of a city and with a more open process I believe we would have greater mutual understanding and a stronger commitment to the city from residents.

I tried to look for the information that you were asking and found nothing resembling it!

From Chris Kennedy to Jutta Mason, June 1, 2010

I just received the results of the inventory count of Picnic Tables for Ward 18 from Parks

Dufferin Grove 24 tables (3 tables require repairs)

Ward 18 total without Dufferin 18 Tables (2 require repairs)

From Jutta Mason to Chris Kennedy, June 1, 2010

I'll check to make sure that Dufferin Grove has really lost 5 more picnic tables since May 5 (at that time there were 29).

Only 18 picnic tables in all the other Ward 18 parks put together -- that's pretty depressing!

I counted at Christie Pits last weekend: 34 tables altogether. Plus 25 free-standing benches, plus 2 tree-surround benches, plus 2 sets of bleachers. Most are in quite good shape -- I saw no picnic tables that looked like those at Dufferin Grove.

Of course, 9 at Dufferin Grove look better now because of Michelle-and-friends painting them last Saturday.

To repeat one of my questions: what determines the number of tables allocated per park? It can't be size, since Dufferin is bigger than Christie. Can you let me know?

From Chris Kennedy to Jutta Mason, June 2, 2010

I am still waiting for answers from Parks re: these questions as far as I understand the budget is not broken down into such specifics bench repair would come out of the areas operating budget Before amalgamation the parks carpenters would have staff assigned in the winter to fix, paint and build new benches - this has not been in practice for many years - I presume due to budgetary constraints

Chris Kennedy at a "community engagement" meeting with recreation managers Costanza Allevato and Kelvin Seow, June 2 2010

Chris reported that there is NO budget line for table or bench repair, and possibly no direct report of any ad-hoc repair work done either.

Complete Dufferin Grove Park picnic table inventory June 4 2010

This (below -- click on "read more") is the complete inventory of the picnic tables at Dufferin Grove Park on June 4 2010. On April 28, program staff counted 29. Six weeks later there are 28. Park staff reported that only 3 of the tables need repair. That depends on your point of view.

Michelle Webb and a few friends painted nine tables at the end of May.





Content last modified on September 06, 2010, at 07:42 PM EST