Monday, December 21, 2009

HISTORY OF NORTH AND JACKSON CREEKS


Michael Harrison, former President of Citizens Concerned for the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront, hosts a blog called The Lost Creeks of South Etobicoke.  He posts fascinating information with old maps and photographs of the two creeks, Jackson and North, that are referenced in the previous post.  Remnants of these two creeks flow through the Lakeshore Grounds.  There is great interest in the restoration of these two creeks by adding more water flow as part of the stormwater management initiative.  Check out his blog where you can see a photograph of the ornate stone bridge that used to cross Jackson Creek between the large and smaller swales as well as information on other lost creeks in our area. (The bridge is actually still there, buried and minus balustrades - look closely).  Double click on the 1936 map of the Ontario Mimico Hospital to see the path of these two creeks (map courtesy of Michael Harrison)

Friday, December 18, 2009

COMMENTS SENT BY FOSS TO ETOBICOKE STORMWATER MANAGEMENT FACILITIES STUDY


SEE POSTS ON THIS SUBJECT
POST 1

POST 2


Toronto Works and Emergency Services
Public Consultation Unit
55 John Street, 19th Floor
Toronto
Ont. M7Y 2W1


December 18, 2009


Attention: Josie Franch, Public Consultation Co-ordinator



Re: Etobicoke Stormwater Management Facilities Study–Ward 6



We are responding to the community meeting you held at the Assembly Hall on November 12th 2009 where the public was invited to submit comments on the implementation of stormwater management faculties in South Etobicoke. Your e-mail on November 23rd indicated that preliminary comments would be acceptable into December given the amount of material to absorb. 


Friends of Sam Smith Park is a community group of local residents and park users dedicated to protecting, enhancing and preserving Colonel Samuel Smith Park.  Our organization has been in existence for over three years and our primary interest is to maintain the park as a nature park.  The park houses a diversity of environments that provide food, habitat and protection for the many species of birds, animals and plants that live there.  It is popular with birders, wildlife photographers and those who passionately enjoy urban, naturalized areas.


Given that focus, our first response is to indicate that we see this initiative not only as a means of improving water quality for fisheries, water birds and aquatic vegetation but as an opportunity to increase natural habitat in the park.  For that reason, we would certainly favour implementation designs that blend in with the natural environment such as wetland, wet pond and/or flow balancing system.  The mechanical systems, in our opinion, are inappropriate for Sam Smith Park.


There are a couple of creeks in the park that do not have enough water to support much aquatic life.  Jackson Creek is buried and we have watched the flow of water in North Creek reduced to a mere trickle over the years.


We would like to see Jackson Creek daylighted and augmented with increased flow from stormwater.  The water would flow into the northern swale (north-east corner of the park), creating a shallow wetland for water treatment, and run under the roadway into the smaller swale from where it could be piped under the gravel path south to the lake or continue as it presently does to Rotary Park.


North Creek flows into the wetland pond through a spruce grove forming a beautiful riparian pathway that attracts migrating songbirds in the spring and fall.  Water flow is erratic and insufficient; the pond fed by the creek is frequently below optimal water level.  Stormwater could be diverted to supplement the base flow and increase opportunities for aquatic life in the creek.


If a wet pond system is considered, then its location must be carefully chosen.  Aside from diminished water flow in North Creek, the TRCA sections of the park seem to function well and would not benefit from too much disturbance.  They probably would not be suitable for another pond unless one could be put into the cultivated meadow adjacent and east of the Lakeshore Yacht Club.  Other locations north of the bicycle path should be considered.


A flow balancing system might work very well in and around the lake outflow from the wetland pond.  We understand that such a system can treat water coming from both directions.  The two bays in that area are collectors for algae floating in from the east along the shore and can smell pretty bad in the summer.


Lastly, we would like the City to look at a stormwater consolidation scenario that utilizes more than just one site.  If all the stormwater in the South Etobicoke catchment basin flows into Sam Smith Park, then, naturally, a more substantial management system requiring ill-fitting, engineered solutions would be needed.  Even though there are exciting opportunities for habitat enhancement in this initiative, as we have described above, the park’s naturalized areas are sensitive and we fear that they might be overwhelmed.


Considering that the Etobicoke project is part of the City’s 25-year wet weather flow master plan, the recommendations and observations we offer here must be considered as merely preliminary in what we hope will be a longer consultation process. It is impossible to understand all the ramifications of each design choice in such a short time without all the questions being answered.


We would be glad to discuss this with you and look forward to the next stage of this initiative.


Yours truly


Terry Smith
Acting Chair, Friends of Sam Smith Park


CC    Councillor Grimes
        Nancy Gaffney, TRCA
        Laurel Broten, MPP
        Michael Ignatieff, MP

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

HUMBER COLLEGE MAP


Ever wondered what happens in those Humber College sites that went into the old, refurbished hospital cottages?

Follow this link to map of Humber's Lakeshore campus  and click on map to see readable, large-scale version

Monday, December 14, 2009

NEW CATHOLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COMING TO LAKESHORE GROUNDS

The Guardian article below indicates that there will be a go-ahead for this project to be located at the south-west corner of Kipling and Colonel Sam Smith Drive, where the heritage orchard is located. There have been few, if any, public meetings about this for the community to have input into such issues as how many trees can be preserved or will there be underground staff parking to save green space.

   

December 10, 2009


The provincially-appointed supervisor of Toronto's Catholic school board made several more approvals at Wednesday night's board meeting to pave the way for the consolidation of two Etobicoke elementary schools at a new, to-be-constructed building on Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive.
At the November meeting of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) last month, supervisor Richard Alway adopted a resolution to consolidate Christ the King and St. Teresa schools in a new school located on approximately 2.19 acres of land just southwest of Kipling Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard West, as of June 30, 2012. The consolidation is estimated to save the board approximately $509,753 per year in classroom, school administration, and operations costs, a staff report stated.
At the December meeting of the board held on Wednesday, Alway additionally approved the relocation of St. Josaphat to the vacated St. Teresa site effective June 30, 2012; and the declaration as surplus to the needs of the TCDSB of the current Christ the King Elementary School site, located at 3672 Lake Shore Blvd. W., and the former Brother Edmund Rice Catholic Secondary School, located at 55 Pelham Ave., effective June 30, 2012.
Proceeds from the sale of those two sites (estimated at nearly $14 million) will go towards the construction of the new, $8.3 million, 519-pupil school on Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive.
With the relocation of St. Josaphat to the St. Teresa site, all three Eastern Rite schools (St. Demetrius and Josyf Cardinal Slipyj) will be located in the southern end of the former Etobicoke boundaries, necessitating Alway to also green-light the immediate initiation of a comprehensive review of all Eastern Rite schools, including service area boundaries and transportation service.

Monday, December 7, 2009

LATEST ON OFF-LEASH DOG WALKING AREA

At tonight's meeting, City Parks gave details of two off-leash dog walking areas to be established at Sam Smith and Humber Bay West.  Their "People, Dogs and Parks" policy can be read on their website. The map below shows the location for our park.  It will be approximately one and a half acres in size and be on the R.L. Clark Filtration property behind their existing fence.  Toronto Water has given permission for this area to be used, maintained and supervised by Toronto Parks on a "we'll see how it works out" basis.  It will be located near the bus loop just south of Father John Redmond School, north west of the Power House parking lot.  There will be two access entrances from the roadway and it could be up and running in a month or two.  It will be unfenced for the time being - a fence may be constructed to enclose the area in the spring.  The area will be open from 6 a.m. to 12.00 a.m., Monday through Sunday  There will be no water for dogs to drink.  There will be no lighting.  Benches and litter receptacles will be provided.  Parks may put up coyote warning signs because coyotes have been seen recently in the wooded area close by. Concerns were raised that coyotes might be removed if they were seen as a threat to the dogs.  The City has a Code of Conduct for off-leash areas and their by-law officers, we were told, will enforce it.  The Dog Owners Association that got this rolling has no legal responsibility.
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