Wednesday, December 18, 2013

SUMMARY - MINUTES FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE - NOV, 26/2013



Summary: Minutes of the FOSS Steering Committee Meeting
November 26, 2013
7:00 PM LAMP, 185 5TH Street, Etobicoke

  • Minutes of Steering Committee meetings will be available in summary format to all members via the FOSS blog.
  • All currently paid up members of FOSS are invited to attend the January 21, 2014 meeting of the Steering Committee. Members may discuss and vote on any topic under discussion
  • Summary minutes and event-related information will be sent to all members on the FOSS mailing list.
  •  FOSS has requested increased signage re: off-leash dogs in Colonel Samuel Smith Park (CSSP). Councillor Grimes’ office is in favour of the request and will follow up with city staff. Visitors to CSSP who are concerned about off-leash dogs should call 311 or e-mail 311@toronto.ca
  • Signage wording to discourage off-leash dog walking approved by the Steering Committee is being considered for use in other city parks as well as our own.
  • FOSS has made suggestions for improvements to the off-leash dog park to encourage usage and will informally poll dog owners for their ideas.
  • A new bank account for FOSS will be arranged at the Bloor and Royal York branch of the Bank of Montreal.
  • Future project possibilities discussed include: improvements to off-leash dog park, erection of bird feeders near skating loop, “crowd sourcing” via the web for fund raising, seeking sources for grant funding, spring clean up in late April, and the Bird Festival at the end of May.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

FOSS REORGANIZATION

As part of FOSS's reorganization, twelve members have agreed to serve on a steering committee.  At recent committee meetings, four officers were elected:


President:           Brian Keaveney
Vice-President:   Brian Liberty
Secretary:           Sandra Hawkins
Treasurer:          Monique Fischer

It was agreed that we should maintain a more formal membership list more in line with similar community organizations and that a modest membership fee be charged

The previous post has the new membership form.
  
Please take the time to send us your membership information as soon as possible.

On January 21st. 2014, the scheduled FOSS meeting is open to all members and to anyone who would like to become a member at the meeting.
The meeting will be at LAMP, Room 302 at 7 p.m.  MAP
(185 Fifth Street) 
"Attendees are politely requested to refrain from wearing any scented products to the meeting, including perfume/cologne, after-shave, hair-spray, etc"

FOSS MEMBERSHIP FORM - DEC. 3013

CLICK ON THIS LINK 
 FOR A PRINTABLE PDF OF THE FOSS MEMBERSHIP FORM BELOW



Thursday, October 31, 2013

COMMUNITY GARDENS - NOTES FROM RECENT COMMUNITY MEETING


These are unedited brainstorming notes taken at the October 17th. open community meeting to discuss the opportunity for creating in Sam Smith Park a "community vegetable garden" and a "transformational healing garden". A map and additional information was previously posted on this blog. 
Two committees will be meeting shortly to take these concepts further.
It is understood that the City is considering funding a water-main link and a surrounding fence for the vegetable garden. Applications to the City are currently being made and it is hoped that the projects will start next spring.
The next Community Garden Meeting will be Thursday, November 7th 7-8:30pm. Location LAMP CHC 185 5th Street.  Anyone interested is welcome to attend.

Community Brainstorming Suggestions - Healing Garden
  • Reflect a place where people can talk about social and environmental issues 
  • Sculptures representing healing from abuse. Wood carvings. 
  • Flowers, plants, lighting, rocks
  • Sacred medicines, or medicinal: cultural, tea, smudging, etc 
  • Expand commemorations (remembrance of people) in the garden
  • Objects/features that establish hope. Telling a story
  • Symbolism 
  • Fun Fact: Lakeshore psychiatric hospital used to have a green house in the exact same spot (as the healing garden is going to be) back in the day
  • Can help people who are hurting and needing to heal 
  • People of the community can help choose plants 
  • Symbolism should be the focus so that no one feels that their personal trauma was not significant enough 
  • Should consider plants that attract certain animals: ie. Birds, bees, butterflies 
  • Place for workshops: for students and people hurting 
  • Music in background: wind chimes, drum 
  • Inspiration and hope that comes out of growth- a garden does this 
  • Daily garden (treat big things in small ways) 
  • Pressure on/from community to expand gardening 
  • City funded garden 
  • Garden to reflect the beauty and resilience of people undergoing transformation 
  • Connected with 26 countries that will be represented 
  • Our planet needs symbols that show we care about our communit 
  • Texture, color, site, fragrance 
  • Drums for people’s use- could be kept in the gatehouse when not in use. Gatehouse people connecting with healing garden people. 
  • Waterfall-white noise, calming 
  • Cover space? Meditations? 
  • Can also think of a garden of different spaces and paths- one space invites you into another. Different spaces with different functions within the garden. 
  • Labyrinth, hand sculpture wall (survivor monument project)

Community Brainstorming Suggestions - Produce Garden

  • Both individual and communal plots (2/3 individual, 1/3 community?)
  • Communal plots can end up selling produce to community
  •  Section for teaching children
  • Different types of gardens: butterfly meadow, herb garden, kitchen garden, field trips from daycares/schools
  • Area for workshops-Gazebo, pavilion
  • Campbell soup to possible contribute
  • Raised beds for seniors-correctly measured plots for accessibility issues) Lots of literature/resources for seniors and gardening.
  • Use recycled materials, collecting rainwater to cut down on city water, permeable paving which has storage underneath to collect water-environmental sustainability


"OFF LEASH DOGS" ISSUE - FOSS POSITION



Below is a position taken by the newly reorganized Friends of Sam Smith Park steering committee on the issue of off-leash dogs in the park.  (Reorganization details to follow soon)

This position is a follow up to complaints from many of our members about dogs running wild through environmentally sensitive areas and harassing wildlife.  A Toronto Star article this summer, a FOSS blog post with lots of comments and a publication from Friends of High Park prompted us to wade in to this difficult issue.
In response to a recent Toronto Star article about dogs running off leash in Colonel Samuel Smith Park and the negative impact that has had on wildlife, particularly to meadow and shore birds, Friends of Sam Smith Park received on its website many thoughtful comments from concerned members and other park users.

Remarks ranged from banning dogs altogether in the naturalized lake fill portion of the park to allowing dogs to run free.

However, the majority of comments, while describing and lamenting the harmful effect dogs running free impose on ecologically sensitive areas, pointed to three approaches – more signage, more enforcement of the leash bylaw and education.

These are the approaches that Friends of Sam Smith Park considers the most effective given the reality of the situation.

Sam Smith Park, although primarily a “nature” park, does not have the same status as Tommy Thompson Park (Leslie Street Spit) which the Conservation Authority, which controls it, describes as “an urban wilderness” where dogs and cars are not permitted at all.

In actuality, Sam Smith Park has become a park with some of the characteristics of a community park as well.  Although mostly used for the quiet enjoyment of its natural surroundings and wildlife, it is used for other purposes too, including dog walking.

Friends of Sam Smith Park will press the City to install “on leash” signs in the southern portion of the park where none exist at present, demand increased enforcement of the off-leash bylaw and urge improvements to the designated off-leash area to foster increased use.

Friends of Sam Smith Park will also move towards setting up our own information sign(s) offering reasons why dogs should be leashed in the park except in the area set aside for that. 

Some thoughts ….
Although there are “dogs must be on leash” signs in the northern part of the park, particularly along the Waterfront Trail, there are none throughout the southern lakefill portion of the park (one at the beginning of the path from the south parking lot).  This prompts some dog walkers to remark that, as there are no signs, it must be OK to let their dog off the leash down there.

Dog walkers say that they rarely, if ever, see bylaw enforcement officers in the park. 

FOSS feels it is important to educate dog walkers about why their dogs should be leashed. (This would be an important part of a three-pronged approach - signage, enforcement, education).  We first thought about coming up with a pamphlet we could give to dog walkers but, when FOSS members have spoken to dog walkers about this problem in the past, they have sometimes been met with hostility. So the idea of educational signage came up. We believe that a simple, clear message would have a beneficial impact on conscientious dog owners.  We researched but could not find any other examples of this kind of sign - maybe it would be a “first” and get used in other parks. 
 
Dog walkers often say that the designated
off-leash area in Sam Smith needs some improvements in order to make it more welcoming and help alleviate the off-leash issue.  Some suggestions have been shade trees, sand instead of a mud surface, wind protection, large rocks and tree trunks as activity structures, fenced off interior locations for trees and shrubs etc. Please use the comments section at the bottom of this post to give us your improvement suggestions.  We will bring all ideas to the City for consideration.