Archive for December, 2008

When is park play equipment the right park play equipment?

play-structure-halifax-102

Landscape Structures Playground equipment in Halifax NS.

The improvements to the playground equipment in Vine Parkette and Sir Casimir Gzowski Park, were much welcomed efforts by the Toronto Parks department. The Sir Casimir Gzowski Park project stands out for the wonderful and successful work of the Toronto Parks department — Manager Partnership Development, as the project was funded and organized by the Partnership Development section in the amount of a $80,000 donation from “Bay Street Fore A Cau$e”. Securing these funds where no monies were available in the Toronto Parks capital budget was a great achievement. {full report in link opens in new window}

Toronto Parks has a good Partnership Development Department. But one wonders if the department in charge of the choice and installation of the play structures could seek out more innovative and creative equipment for our community parks. The City of Toronto has to be highly concerned about the liability and safety issues of all children’s play structures, but does safety not need to be balanced with child motor skill development, creative play and mostly fun.

Landscape Structures Inc's "Evos" climbers slide

Landscape Structures Inc's "Evos" climbers slide

Enhancements that would have particular benefit of our inner city parks:

  • a challenging playground for the creative mind and body
  • provide physical fitness benefits which would help combat the rise in childhood obesity
  • a well designed structure which encourages social interaction and builds positive interpersonal skills
  • an environment which is inclusive to those with different abilities
  • scenarios which would promote parent-child play

To achieve this goal the City staff whom are responsible for design, safety and management of play structure installation will have to work alongside several other key City departments. Consultation needs to be done with the Risk Management Department and the City Solicitor to examine how to create play structures which ensure the utmost safety for children yet does not sacrifice the creative and physical development of the child.

An example of a company which has a very reputable history of designing challenging yet, safe play structures for children is Landscape Structures [link] which is located in Delano, MN. The company is represented in Canada by ABC Recreation of Paris, Ontario [link]

Landscape Structures statement on their site

Research shows that children who have opportunities to play in natural settings are typically healthier and more likely to become adults who will respect and protect the earth.

Landscape Structures, the premier provider of innovative playground [Link opens in new window]

Xwave park play toy

Xwave park play toy

Another interesting company is Xccent’ playground components [link] one of their products the x-wave is similar to an old seesaw but can fit up to 20 kids.

Green13 Earth Hour Saturday March 28th 2009

West Toronto environmental action group Green13 is holding a earth hour on Saturday March 28th 2009.

…also they are having there next meeting at 7 pm on Tuesday, January 6th at the West Toronto Baptist Church, 3049 Dundas Street West.

Below is their information notice. (Please Note they would like people to RSVP contact info listed below)

Greetings,

Green13 would like to invite you and members of your organization to attend a meeting to discuss Earth Hour 2009, planned for Saturday March 28th. As you will hopefully recall, Earth Hour 2008 was a tremendous success, particularly so in our community as an estimated 500 people participated in a candle-light walk through Bloor West Village. We would like to make this year’s event an even greater success!

Some ideas that have already come up include further involvement of youth and schools, additional participation from local businesses, incorporating an advocacy component into Earth Hour and organizing a town hall meeting to discuss ongoing environmental initiatives and community participation.

We would very much like to hear your thoughts on how we can expand Earth Hour to include a number of events and reach even more members of our community.

We are holding our planning meeting at 7 pm on Tuesday, January 6th at the West Toronto Baptist Church, 3049 Dundas Street West. The meeting location is wheelchair accessible. Please let us know if you are able to attend, or if you are part of a group, if a colleague will be able to attend. We are striving to make Earth Hour 2009 as inclusive and successful as possible, and we need your help to do it!

If you have any questions and to RSVP please contact Chris Holcroft at Chris_Holcroft@yahoo.com or 416-996-0767.

Thank you!

Green13

Junction parents Blog SPRING EQUINOX idea

Over at the Junction Parents Blog this post details an idea for a spring equinox event at the Junction City Square.

Junction parents blog spring-equinox

Junction parents blog spring-equinox

This is an exceptional idea, The beauty of the idea is that that it creates a further grasp of how small groups can create a special places and memories as a adhoc team to enhance and build their community at street level for everyone. Hopefully efforts like this will radiate in the minds and actions of many more peiople in the community. The quality of the of the Junction has been it’s community actions – such as the doubling of the size of Vine Park during the 70’s to the un won but not lessened effort to save the CPR Station at Annette St and Dundas St.

Hopefully people are drawn to this creative, and alternative, idea to make it a big success.

Jane Jacobs video and the Junction

Jane Jacobs video at the CBC Site

Jane Jacobs video at the CBC Site

The CBC archive site has a 1969 video clip of about 11minuites that has some sections that are very pertinent to the Junction area right now. She speaks  towards issues that people want in their community and how the past and current built environment has and will affect current issues. All of her comments are equally as important as possible.


from their site…

With her astute observations about the way we live, Jane Jacobs dynamically changed the urban landscape. The author, activist, theorist and self-taught philosopher challenged the establishment with her ideas about cities and the economy. In this CBC Television clip from 1969, Jacobs, a new immigrant to Canada, discusses Toronto’s quirks and Montreal’s creativity.

Remembering Jane Jacobs.

The CBC Digital Archives Website.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Last updated: March 13, 2008.

[Page consulted on Dec. 16, 2008.]

Additional information can be found in the article by Robert Fulford [Link opens in new window]

Christmas Parties in the Junction

Annual Party at Linda’s and Ken’ s house at Mc Murray Ave.

Every year around Christmas time we receive an invitation to join our neighbors at their annual Christmas Party at their house. We always look forward to this neighborhood event because Linda and Ken, and of course their kids, are very cordial and caring people.
Again this year the party was amazing with wonderful festive atmosphere, so friendly and cozy that we didn’t want to go home. The Family and neighbors prepared great delicious meals. We shared not only receipts, but also stories about Christmas, old customs and jokes. We didn’t need any official entertainers, everybody was contributing to this joyous night. But there is always an end.
With the snow falling and Christmas lights everywhere, with love and peace in our hearts, we said good night and slowly went to our homes.
We would like to thank to Linda and Ken for hosting this celebration that brought all of us together little bit more and left us with memories we will cherish.

Wishing you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2009!

Adriana Soudek

Junction industrial job posting at Canadian Rogers Eastern Limited on Vine Ave.

from their listing…

Specific Skills: Read specifications or follow verbal instructions, Lay out, set up and operate one or more light or heavy metalworking machines, Cut, bend, roll, ream, punch, drill, weld or otherwise shape and form metal stock into parts or products, Check products for correct shapes, dimensions and other specifications, Troubleshoot, perform corrective action or minor repairs, Document work completed, Clean and lubricate equipment

Bending press operator – metal fabrication {complete job listing opens in new window}

why it’s more important than you may think…

Canadian Rogers Eastern Limited a venerable metal fabrication business [and design? don’t know] has posted a job offer on the federal Jobbank site. This is great, as the Junction needs more and even more industrial jobs. Other than the few that were created in the Junction – when ST Mary’s cement opened a distribution site at the old Monarch mills site on Junction Rd earlier this year, and which may have been people brought in from their other locations, there probably were not many created.

In terms of skilled industrial businesses Canadian Rogers Eastern Limited is one the few remaining in the Junction and the last below the tracks. Above the tracks there still is NRI (rubber), Canada Bread, Andrew Merrilees Limited (railroad track and materials), and a number of enterprises on Gunns Rd.

More listing hightlights

Salary: To be negotiated, Other Benefits, Medical Benefits, Dental Benefits, Life Insurance Benefits, Group Insurance Benefits, Vision Care Benefits, As per collective agreement indicating that at least some of the plant is unionized.

Work Conditions and Physical Capabilities: Fast-paced environment, Repetitive tasks, Physically demanding, Manual dexterity, Attention to detail

posted by Robert

400 KEELE ST Sign Permit update

Click image for full size view

Drawing of sign details - click image for full size view

Drawing of sign details - click image for full size view

Project update: Toronto parking Auth. plan for new sign at 400 Keele Street. Lot

Sign Permit; 400 KEELE ST

Aplliction #:08 231093 SGN 00 SP

Proposal to remove one existing four-sided pedestal sign and erect one single-sided third party, illuminated billboard ground sign 10′ x 20′ (18.68m2) on South-East corner

The existing 4 sided column will not be replaced by the new 2 sided column as previously indicated.  Instead the small scale 4 sided column be replaced with an “Illuminated, Tri-Vision Ground Sign” which translates into a 20 foot high billboard.

I fail to see how this meets the programs directive to improve “overall aesthetics” and “reduce the overall square footage of the advertising space”

Sign Variance – 400 Keele St Oct 08 [link opens in new window]

submitted by Martin Lennox

1st post of this subject on the blog

Toronto parking Auth. plan for new sign at 400 Keele St. Lot

Irving Tissue Corp. – gains right to demolish Weston Rd plant building

City Council has approved  the application to demolish the buildings at 1415 Weston Road (Irving tissue)
pursuant to By-law No. 3102-95 of the former City of York, subject to a beautification program.

1415 Weston Road  Irvine Tissue

1415 Weston Road Irving Tissue Corporation

This blogs post with the application information

Irving Tissue Corporation  – seeks to demolish Weston Rd plant building

posted by Robert

Note: City reports list the company name as Irvine Tissue while the company site usses the name Irving Tissue.

what's it cost to rent a cell tower site from the city? …and what if the city thinks it ugly

The tower and it’s rent

Rogers tower at the corner of Allen Road and Transit Road

Rogers tower at the corner of Allen Road and Transit Road

Schedule “A”
Major Terms and Conditions
Licensee: Rogers Wireless Inc.
Licensor: City of Toronto
Premises: part of land at the corner of Allen Road and Transit, an
approximate of 48.26 square meters
Term: License agreement for Five (5) years with Five (5) year renewal
option, commencing on Jan 1, 2007 to Dec 31, 2016
Rent: Jan 1, 2007 to March 31, 2013 at $21,500 per annum or $1,792 per
month
, net, plus all applicable taxes. The rate is to be escalated at
2.5% per year.
Termination: City reserves the right to terminate the
the license, for municipal
purpose, with one year in advance notice.

The problem

City Council on December 1, 2 and 3, 2008, given the prominent location of this tower,
referred this Item to the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning:
1. to enter into discussions with Rogers Wireless Inc., with a view to enhancing the
appearance of the installation; and

2. to negotiate, in consultation with the Chief Corporate Officer, a public art component of
the lease agreement for this structure
, which can best be described as a “finger of jagged
ugliness thrust into the Downsview sky”.

all text in italics City of Toronto

Site Licence at the Corner of Allen Road and Transit Road Full report [opens in new window]

Posted by Robert

Business Improvement Areas expenditure requests and levy for 2009

BIA approved budgets

BIA approved budgets

Council approval is required to permit the City to collect funds through the tax levy on behalf of the local BIAs. Approval is goverened under The City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 19 and the City of Toronto Act, 2006.

This blogs past post on What is a Business Improvement Area?

Selected Comments from the cities report with some highlights.

The Bloor West Village BIA 2009 Operating Budget was approved at meetings of the
BIA’s Board of Management on September 17, 2008 and its general membership held on
October 7, 2008. The balanced budget of $386,665 in capital and operating expenditures
will be funded by a levy requirement of $338,851 and the appeal provision surplus of
$38,814, plus other anticipated revenues of $9,000 from festival events, GST recovery
and interest. The 2009 expenditure budget provides for a similar level of general BIA
administration, maintenance and promotion/advertising activities as budgeted in 2008. A
proposed increase in capital expenditure in 2009 is required to complete the gas lamp solar
conversion capital project
.
Blog Comment {interesting and thoughtful project in many ways} In 2008, the BIA had to reduce spending in BIA
administration, capital projects, advertising and promotion, so that current funds can be
used to cover the 2007 operating deficit. It is recommended that the Bloor West Village
BIA’s 2009 budget of expenditures totalling $386,665 and a BIA levy of $338,851 be
approved.

The Corso Italia BIA 2009 Operating Budget was approved at meetings of the BIA’s
Board of Management on August 11, 2008 and its general membership on October 6,
2008. The BIA proposes to increase the levy by 30% to $214,951 in 2009 after reducing
Staff report for action on 2009 BIA Operating Budgets 7
the levy by 20% in 2008 to assist the local merchants through the TTC construction
period. With its accumulated surplus funds used up in 2008, the BIA has to rely on new
levies to fund operating expenditures in 2009. Other revenue sources include the appeal
provision surplus of $15,741, expected GST recoveries of $10,000 and other income of
$259. To offset the negative impact that the TTC right-of-way and roadwork
construction along St. Clair Avenue has on the area, the BIA will increase advertising and
promotion of the area; the BIA expects a grant of $30,000 from the City’s “Shop Local”
campaign on St. Clair Avenue West to assist in this endeavour
. The BIA proposes to
maintain the same spending level as in 2008 for BIA administration, promotion and
advertising, and capital maintenance. Capital projects planned for 2009 include new BIA
banners and flower planters. The pedestrian lights capital cost-share project is expected to
be completed by the end of 2008. It is recommended that the Corso Italia BIA’s 2009
budget of expenditures totalling $270,951 and a BIA levy of $214,951 be approved.

The Junction Gardens BIA was called to action in their management report for errors and was recommended to hire a part time bookkeeper or train their coordinator

The Junction Gardens BIA 2009 Operating Budget was approved at meetings of the
BIA’s Board of Management on September 9, 2008 and its general membership held on
October 2, 2008. The balanced budget of $282,123 in expenditures will require a levy
requirement of $259,904. In addition to the BIA levy, other revenues include the appeal
provision surplus of $21,969 that the City will be returning to the BIA, and interest
income of $250. Now that the 2008 centennial celebrations of the Junction are over, the
BIA proposes a 27% reduction in the expenditure budget in 2009
Blog Comment {why is the BIA in a developing area  reducing the levy by 27 percent? All it does is lessen the amount  the business owners can use for  joint development and marketing ?}, comprised of a reduced budget of $128,245 for marketing and promotional initiatives, fewer capital maintenance activities requiring a budget of only $27,000, and undertaking three small capital projects
totalling $15,000 as a trial to see which one the BIA will choose to do on a larger scale in
2010. It is recommended that the Junction Gardens BIA’s 2009 budget of expenditures
totaling (sic)$282,123 and a BIA levy of $259,904 be approved.

The Parkdale Village BIA 2009 Operating Budget was approved at meetings of the
BIA’s Board of Management on September 8, 2008 and its general membership held on
October 6, 2008. The balanced budget of expenditures totalling $546,410 calls for a
similar levy requirement as in 2008. In addition to the levy, the BIA expects to receive
grants totalling $15,000 from the City’s Commercial Research Investment Program and
Mural Program, $9,000 in interest income, and an appeal provision surplus of $13,068
that the City is returning to the BIA. A major capital cost-share project for pedestrian
lights, deferred from 2008, will be undertaken in 2009 with $300,000 of BIA funds

already accumulated for this purpose. Besides capital spending for pedestrian lights and a mural, the BIA proposes to increase the maintenance budget by $24,000 for a new graffiti
removal program, and increase advertising and promotion in 2009. The BIA is projecting
an operating surplus of $65,799 in 2008 resulting from the deferral of the pedestrian
lights capital project and development of a Strategic Plan. As well, some 2008 proposed
promotional initiatives were deferred until 2009. It is recommended that the Parkdale
Village BIA’s 2009 budget of expenditures totalling $546,410 and a BIA levy of
$209,342 be approved.

The entire long list can be viewed in this report [Full report [opens in new window]

Posted by Robert