FRIENDS OF COLONEL SAM SMITH PARK (FOSS) QUESTIONNAIRE
Candidate for Ward 6
What concrete steps would you take to ensure the preservation and protection of the naturalized areas of Sam Smith Park?
It is noted the City is proposing that a large portion of Colonel Sam Smith Park be designated an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) under Section 3.4 – The Natural Environment – Policy 13, and that four public meetings will be held on this proposed amendment to the Official Plan – Map 12 – in November 2014. Notice will be published in newspapers, and most of the Toronto population will be unaware of this important issue or the meetings.
A major component of my platform is the formation of Community Districts and Community Boards, to be the major information hubs for neighbourhoods within each District, and to hold the public meetings on all issues, which are then voted on by the Community Boards, minutes prepared and distributed to the relevant City departments, staff and Community/City Councils to form part of the public record. Instead of four meetings, the matter would be reviewed by approximately 23 Community Districts, with boundaries to coincide with the Provincial Riding boundaries.
This Official Plan ESA designation for Colonel Sam Smith Park is an important step; but it is only by creating an opportunity for all residents to be engaged, informed and in turn provide knowledge and input, can we be vigilant and take the best possible care going forward of our natural environment and features like Colonel Sam Smith Park.
Do you believe it is appropriate to allow a single group such as the Aussie Rules Football Club to have exclusive use of a portion of a tax-payer funded park? What are your views regarding further expansion of this club’s “footprint” in the park?
Unfortunately, I am not informed on the Etobicoke RFC or its exclusive use contract. It is my understanding that they practice on grounds at Ken Cox Community Centre (as part of City Parks, Forestry & Recreation) at Colonel Sam Smith Park. Until I learn more (the devil is always in the details), I could not provide an informed opinion. However, if the community is in agreement about the designated boundaries of the environmentally significant area (ESA) of the Park, then no sports club should be allowed to impact this area of the Park.
Would you support a comprehensive system of greenways and trails connecting parks, particularly those along the waterfront, as outlined in the city’s Official Plan? How would you accomplish this?
Yes. For instance, in Mimico the City could purchase approximately 4 acres of Open Space at a cost of $4 million or less, to acquire additional waterfront parkland and connect Superior Park with Amos Waites Park. This is the last available open space on the Mimico waterfront; however, the City prefers to sell-off Superior Park, and build more high-rise condos on this parkland and on the available open space instead. Creating narrow waterfront trails is not sufficient for our neighbourhood and City populations. Waterfront trails have to be wide enough for people walking and running, cycling; for rollerblades, wheelchairs, baby prams, dogs on leashes; benches, trees and plants; all at the same time, but on different paths and areas on the waterfront trail.
Paul Bedford recommended the creation of New York style Community Districts and Community Boards to “Break the city down into bite sized pieces that people can relate to, and unleashing the potential of all Torontonians, citizens and non-citizens alike, bringing them into the city hall governance tent.” The ideas as to how to connect our system of greenways throughout the City exist within the minds of residents and in reviewing what has been done in other jurisdictions. There simply needs to be a public forum where these ideas can be suggested, discussed, reviewed with City Staff, voted on and then passed on to City Council for implementation. This forum would be the Community Boards within Community Districts created by legislation under the Toronto Municipal Code. Draft legislation is found on my website: www.peggymouldercampaign2014.com
What do you envision as the future for public accessibility to the Power House at Sam Smith Park?
The Power House Recreation Centre has been developed to provide an outdoor recreational facility. It is also described as being in a “secluded natural sanctuary of wooded areas, meadows, long grasses and trails near the mouth of the Humber River along Toronto’s western lakefront.” Presumably, it is located outside of the proposed ESA. So, it should continue to provide recreational activities for the public; however, these activities should not negatively impact on the nearby ESA.
How will you vote regarding any future attempt to expand commercial air service at Billy Bishop Airport? Will your decision take into consideration the preservation of Sam Smith Park as an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA)?
I do not support any expansion of the Billy Bishop Airport for jet services, and would include all the points raised by FOSS about the negative impacts on the natural environment at Colonel Sam Smith Park, and points raised by other entities, including NoJetsTo, who have provided reasonable objections to the expansion of the airport.
How would you deal with the “dogs off leash” problem in Sam Smith Park?
I believe that FOSS has dealt very competently with the “dogs off leash” problem in Sam Smith Park, with “smart” signs for the public and dog owners, which the City will likely replicate for other parks, and suggestions to make the fenced off-leash area more amenable for dog owners to use. It is noted that there is even a Colonel Sam Smith Dog Owner’s Association – “A group of dog lovers and dog owners who want to make South Etobicoke and especially Colonel Sam Smith a better place for all, including our canine friends.” It’s great to see neighbours working together to find practical solutions to problems!