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High Park Jamie Bell – Councillor Sarah Doucette posts letter from Director Forestry, Parks, Forestry Richard Ubbens

Full text

April 4, 2012
Councillor Sarah Doucette

Ward 13 Parkdale High Park 100 Queen Street West
2nd Floor, Suite C46

Dear Councillor

Thank you for forwarding this message to me. I would just like to take the opportunity to clarify the situation and the steps Parks, Forestry and Recreation are taking to rebuild the playground in High Park as soon as possible. I was able to address most of these issues at the public meeting on April 2 at Swansea Town Hall, but feel free to share this with other members of the community who may not have been able to attend.

First, we are pleased to report that offers of donation have been pouring in since the tragic fire. The day after the fire, Canadian Tire stepped forward with a very generous cash donation that will cover the vast majority of the cost of replacing the play structure. Since then, many others have donated or expressed interest in helping out, including some of the members of Landscape Ontario, who have offered various supports – materials, expertise, and time.

We have had ongoing discussions with the Landscape Ontario members, including Adam Bienenstock of Natural Playgrounds. While there isn’t a lot of detail about the elements of their offer, it is clear that their generous donations would primarily be enhancements to the site, rather than help to reconstruct the playground. It was also clear that many of the donors would have liked the opportunity to utilize the materials they had on display at Canada Blooms. We informed them by e-mail on March 26th that we were grateful for their generous offer, but that we would need to time to plan and consult with the community before commencing work on the site.

With regard to Mr. Bienenstock’s message, we have been clear with him and all potential donors to this project that the City always engages in a process of consulting with the local community and ensuring what we build both meets the needs of the community and complies with environmental regulations.

We have worked with him on another project in one of our parks and have had several discussions with him over the years in order to share information about the City’s partnership requirements and processes. I am confident that the generous donors involved in Landscape Ontario will make a valuable contribution to the rebuild effort, even though the timelines are a bit longer than they originally expected.

Our priority moving forward is to rebuild the playground structure as quickly as possible, starting with developing designs that can be shared with the community for feedback. We will be working in consultation with your office to gather feedback from the community on those designs, and to incorporate as many of the generous donations we’ve received into the project. We also need to address some of the drainage and safety issues the community has raised, while respecting that this is a designated ravine area and sensitive ecosystem. This process will take some time, but we want to get the rebuild right.

Let me know if you have any questions. Sincerely,

Richard Ubbens

Director Forestry, Parks, Forestry & Recreation
c: Graham Mitchell, Manager Public Relations & Issues Management, GM’s Office, PFR Helen Sousa, General Supervisor, Parks, PFR

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Location:McMurray Ave,Toronto,Canada

1844 Bloor St. W. Bloor Street condo development focus meeting



Bloor Street condo development focus of meeting

Councillor Sarah Doucette is arranging a community consultation meeting to discuss the condominium development proposed for 1844 Bloor St. W. on Thursday, March 1 at Humberside Collegiate Institute’s Lismar Hall from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The purpose of the meeting is to initiate a consultation process. City of Toronto planning staff will be seeking a small group of community volunteers to participate in a design working group.

High Park Residents’ Association next meeting Feb. 9 at Coffee & All That Jazz, 72 Howard Park Ave


The Bloor/Oakmount Block condo project, local Councillor Sarah Doucette reverses her decision

What letting your councillor know yours views  can do.

Full article at

all text below from article

More community consultation for controversial High Park Condo

Standing room only community council meeting degenerates into shouting match

A highly contested High Park condo proposal likened by one west-end councillor to “putting a gorilla in a fishbowl” was referred back for more community consultation this week after a two-and-a-half hour meeting disintegrated into a shouting match.

The controversial development application – which proposes a 14-storey, 378-residential-unit, mixed-use building directly across from High Park on Bloor Street West – drew the ire of a standing-room-only crowd at Etobicoke York Community Council (EYCC) Tuesday night.

After an hour of similar deputations and visibly taken off guard by the long grocery list of complaints presented by her constituents, local Councillor Sarah Doucette admitted to having a change of heart – reversing her decision to approve the development in favour of seeking more time for consultation between the developer and the community.




High Park Residents’ Association (HPRA) opinion of redevelopment of Bloor Street, Oakmount Road/Pacific Ave

The Project to construct a 14-storey, mixed-use building with more than 375 residential units, a free-standing day care facility and approximately 1,500 square metres of retail space on the ground level has brought about a disagreement with the developer and the High Park Residents’ Association, and other members of the community.

A recent interview with the local councillor posted on the simply out lines the lines drawn between the two groups and well the position of the local councillor which seems to ambiguous..maybe it can be read as doubtful or uncertain that much can be changed now.

Some of her statements are entirely valid yet in terms of fronting the opinion for the residents well…many are not happy.

It should be noted that both the residents, the councillor, and the developer have been hampered by the development start occurring in a City of Toronto election year, and stepping in is an new councillor on a running project is difficult, and a Councillors authority in development matters is not omnipotent. Yet there is strength in a counsillors position.

Daniels’ original design presented to the community at a consultation meeting had the 14-storeys on Bloor Street West, said the local councillor.

Here the councillor is entirely correct,

“Because people commented, we switched the building around. It’s better for High Park, but worse for 22 Oakmount,” said Doucette. “I appreciate where they’re coming from. I agree, we don’t want a solid wall around our park.

Well said, and showing insight into the right to light and view issues that come into play when large buildings are build next to 2 story homes.

Because this is a staggered building, eight floors are on Bloor Street staggered back to 14.”

The meaning of this statement is simply not clear as to what this does to mitigate the current concerns of the residents as they have known this for some time, and it is only part of the solution they want.

Doucette said the building will contain other materials besides glass. The city has a policy concerning glass buildings to protect migrating birds, said the councillor.

In this area, the blog thinks most people would like less glass more brick.

“Most concerns have come to us after the third (consultation) meeting. Between the second and third meeting, I received 13 emails – only three were concerned about height,” said Doucette. “In the eleventh hour, it doesn’t really help.”

This statement is the most puzzling, should not residents be supported right up to the last possible reasonable time-frame, and be allowed to increase their action as projects come closer to approval.

Doucette said that this project was one she “inherited” mid-process.

“I hate to say it, but a lot of this was done before me,” she said.

In this statement she is not entirely correct, the project was introduced in introduced in June of 2010, yes this is six months before her election, but in the middle.

“We’ve reduced the shading on Oakmount Road family homes and addressed the concerns of residents regarding a laneway from Oakmount to Pacific. Daniels has bought some of the TTC land and created a bend in the laneway (preventing cars from racing through).”

Good work on the bend in the laneway to slow cars down, laneway cutting is a big problem in much of the north area of ward 13.

The word “we’ve” common is ambiguous – is it her and residents, her and the developer, or her and city staff. Although lack of in this area can contributed to the insidetoronto reporter.

The planning department and the councillor have encouraged the developer to listen to the residents.