Monday, December 27, 2010

STORMWATER COMMUNITY GROUP MEETS WITH CITY

On December 13th, 2010, the City and their consultants presented to the Etobicoke Waterfront Stormwater Management Facilities Study Community Working Group.  The purpose of the presentation was to share with us the City's preliminary choices for dealing with end-of-pipe stormwater before it gets discharged in to the lake.  
This was the second meeting with the group (FOSS, CCFEW and Lakeshore Planning Council, as well as some other community representatives, are members).  Meeting #1 was about fifteen months ago and that first meeting was followed by a public meeting at which the community was asked to offer submissions on the matter.  FOSS, as well as CCFEW and many others, sent in submissions.  Click here to see FOSS's submission.
To our knowledge, community comments generally aligned with FOSS's position and favoured natural solutions (i.e. wetland, wet-ponds, creek water level enhancement etc.) over engineered designs.
The City, in fact, told us that, because of public comments they had received, they gave "Natural Criteria" the top weighting in their evaluation of alternative solutions.  Then, to our surprise, their evaluation results showed a totally engineered design as the first choice on their short list!  This was pretty well what was shown to the workgroup 15 months ago, before public input was requested.
The design involves an underground storage shaft and pump station in Sam Smith Park with buried transfer pipes along streets coming in to the park from east and west.  There is no enhancement whatsoever to natural habitat in the park.  Rainwater in South Etobicoke would be completely transferred and processed underground as it makes it way to the lake - without any benefit at all the to the natural environment or to public enjoyment.
Members of the group made strong pitches for at least some of the water flow to be directed to habitat improvement and suggested that the community at the next public meeting may feel their input has been largely ignored .
The image below shows details (double click for larger image)
That second public meeting is proposed for Spring, 2011.  FOSS will send details to our e-mail list when they are known.

FROZEN ART AT SAM SMITH - GEORGE RAIKOU




Tuesday, December 7, 2010

LYME DISEASE CARRYING TICK FOUND IN SAM SMITH

A dog walker in the park says she recently found a tick on her dog, which she had a vet remove.  It turns out that the tick was not only a species that could carry Lyme disease but, in fact, has now been tested and is positive for Lyme disease.  The only place she had walked her dog in the previous weeks was in Sam Smith Park.  She feels that she would be remiss if this information was not shared.
She says, “The tick looked very much like a smudge of dirt and, when I tried to remove it, it stuck.  It also had a very rubbery feel to it.  Our vet noted that it is not unheard of for tick populations to rise during bird migratory periods and Sam Smith Park is on a direct route for many migrating birds.  Our vet was also quite adamant about getting our pet on a regimen of antibiotics as soon as possible to minimize any effects the tick may have on her so I didn’t want to take this lightly.”
This has been passed on to a Natural Environment Specialist with the City's Parks.  We are told that there have been unconfirmed reports of these ticks on the Toronto Islands so it makes sense that they could be in other places along the waterfront.
City Parks has passed this on to Toronto Public Health. Here is their response -
Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It is not uncommon to find a positive tick anywhere in Ontario however, Colonel Sam Smith park is not recognized as a hot spot with an established blacklegged tick population. We will note the finding and consider having the park assessed by dragging in the area next season.
Above are some links for more information.