Friday, November 28, 2008
Want to make a valuable contribution to the environment?
Please join us for the inaugural meeting of the
SOUTH ETOBICOKE COMMUNITY
Tuesday December 2, 2008 @ 7pm
Etobicoke Civic Centre, Community Room #1
The Etobicoke-Mimico Watersheds Coalition, a watershed group of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), would like to share some of the environmental projects in this area and invite you to join the South Etobicoke Community Action Area Group.
Trail Construction and Signage
Centennial Park Master Plan
Healthy Yards Program
Fish Barrier Mitigation on Etobicoke Creek
Marie Curtis Park and Arsenal Lands Implementation
Please confirm your attendance with Joanna Parsons:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 416-661-6600 ext.5575
Click here for the meeting agenda (pdf)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
*** Ruth Grier informs us that City Council squashed the idea this week ***
There has been recent discussion at the TTC about offering a downtown commuter ferry from both the western and eastern limits of the city to the ferry docks. Colonel Samuel Smith Park and Humber Bay have been suggested as potential sites for the western terminus. At this time, it looks like there is going to be a hold on exploring this idea any further. One can only imagine the extensive parking and service facilities that would have to be built for such a venture.
National Post article on the subject …http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/archive/2008/11/24/ttc-likely-to-scuttle-commuter-ferry-idea.aspx
Friday, November 21, 2008
UK singer/songwriter Bryn Christopher, an up and coming soul recording artist from Birmingham, had an extremely chilly time last night filming his latest video in Sam Smith Park on third beach.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
"You completely miss the point of locating a nature centre in the power house, and that is, that this location is ideal for teaching children about the importance of the natural environment because of its close proximity to a naturalized park and wetland setting--a rarity in this city."
These two comments on a previous post about FOSS’s proposal that the Power House be used as a Nature Centre as Councillor De Baeremaeker recommended in his report on the Power House and adjacent, environmentally sensitive areas, “A Place for Nature; a Place for Youth”, suggest that some further explanation be offered. Below is the text of a recent letter that was sent by FOSS's Power House/Nature Centre Committee to the Minister of Education, the two Boards, their Trustees and Science Coordinators. Hopefully, the ideas contained in it are convincing, timely and appropriate.
At the foot of Kipling Avenue and just south of Lakeshore Blvd. West is Colonel Sam Smith Park. It encompasses approximately 160 hectares divided roughly in two, with a rather raw spit of land that juts into Lake Ontario and a more sedate former psychiatric hospital grounds covered in mature trees. Friends of Sam Smith (FOSS) is a community-based organization mandated to protect, enhance and preserve this Lakeshore Grounds/Colonel Sam Smith Park.
The Sam Smith Wetland Creation Project was established at this site at the cost of 8.4 million dollars, by a number of government agencies, a trust, and the MTRCA. It was created using the MTRCA Remedial Action Plan based on rubble disposal, leading to a detailed naturalization of the site. It includes spawning and refuge areas for fish, amphibian ponds, foraging and hibernating habitat for reptiles, mammal habitats, and foraging, nesting and loafing areas for birds based on shrub, meadow, mature canopy and aquatic vegetation communities. Many animal communities have located themselves in this complex ecosystem, including beaver, fox, and mink. There are many ways in which site studies could be integrated into the Ontario Science and Technology Curriculum in particular and other curriculum strands as well.
Kathleen Wynne, the Minister of Education for Ontario, has promised that all 32 recommendations of a working group she commissioned on Environmental Education, which reported in June 2007, would be implemented in all grades "as a priority". The report stresses that students should receive systems training in how interlinking parts of ecosystems function. This study stated that "opportunities must be provided to introduce students to outdoor education experiences" ("Shaping Our Schools, Shaping our Future", p.15).
While we realize that many of our outdoor education centres are closed, and bemoan that fact, we think that this site deserves careful consideration for students at any age/level, because of its unique characteristics. The site is easily accessible by public transit and might well be the first introduction for many students to studies involving Lake Ontario.
We think Col. Sam Smith Park is a showplace for the process of habitat construction and ecosystem development and could provide very successful learning opportunities for school groups from the TDSB and the TCDSB. Thus, we are proposing the development of a nature-interpretive centre at this site. We sent a letter to our local MPP, Laurel Broten, asking for some advice as to how we might pursue this concept and she responded positively to the idea and suggested we contact the school boards.
As an added component there is the Power House here, part of the historically significant former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, which is very usable as a Nature Centre. It has modern washrooms, a large meeting room that could be subdivided, and a room designed for food preparation. The city, which maintains and administrates the Power House through Parks and Recreation, currently is programming its use to limited times during the summer, which frees up the facility for school use throughout the other three seasons.
Friends of Sam Smith Park would love to provide a tour of the grounds and/or answer any additional queries you might have about the opportunity for establishing a Nature Centre at Col. Sam Smith Park. We ask only that you explore this site -- hoping, of course, that you see the excellent possibilities for accessible outdoor education that we do.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
On Friday the City delivered 24 trash and recycling barrels to the park road along the lakefront in Col. Sam Smith Park. They are huge, almost 8 feet tall and 5 feet across. They will be buried to a depth of 5 feet.
Friday, November 7, 2008
One wonders, though, about lingering smells if they are emptied only when full. People have complained about this when they have been installed in other Toronto parks. Also, the lids are not spring-loaded or lockable; are they designed well enough to stop unfortunate park critters from being attracted by the smell and falling in?
Items on the agenda this month include:
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
At the meeting, many of the comments from the floor were requests for transparency and trust during the process. It is expected that the twelve member working group, which will hold its first meeting on December 4th, will offer a progress report to the community at another public meeting in January. Of special interest will be the site selection criteria they come up with and the weighting that will be given to each. It was promised that the group members eventually chosen will make their e-mail addreses and phone numbers available so that there can be ongoing, two-way feedback between them, acting as our representatives, and the public.
If you were unable to attend the meeting last night and wish to apply to be on the group or wish to offer a comment, you can e-mail LURA consultants at email@example.com or call 416 660 3755.
It is interesting to note that the preliminary list of selection criteria offered by City staff at the meeting last night would have precluded Sam Smith Park from the short list of possible sites two years ago. Two of the criteria, which we were told are standard for the City when choosing a site for a skateboarding facility, state that "the skatepark must be visible to passers-by" and "the skatepark must be compatible with other park uses and natural areas". As you recall, those were the two most important issues the community raised in opposition to a secluded skatepark in a meadow next to wetlands!
What a lot of trouble, time and energy could have been save two years ago if staff and politicians had not ignored their own sensible policy! What a lot of skateboarding could have been enjoyed!