Answers from Russ Ford, Ward 6 Candidate:
What concrete steps would you take to ensure the preservation of Sam Smith Park?
Establish an Advisory Council with representation from all of the tenants and the community instead of the current informal Lakeshore Grounds Co-ordinating Committee. Oppose any further new construction on the Grounds.
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?
Permits for exclusive use are not unusual in City parks but are inappropriate for the Lakeshore Grounds/Sam Smith Park given its history as open space available to the entire community as well as the commitment of the various tenants to collaborative use of the Grounds. The existing ugly storage box should be moved to the rear of the Power House if the football club is to remain.
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?
I support such a comprehensive system of greenways and would ensure that the Waterfront Trail remain as close to the actual waterfront as possible.
What do you envision as the future for public accessibility to the Power House at Sam Smith Park?
(a) the washrooms were designed to serve the Grounds as well as the Power House and should be open at all times
(b) Ideally the space would be available to community groups throughout the year - for example CCFEW’s school nature programmes should be able to use either the Power House or Ken Cox/Father Redmond for wet weather programmes.
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 will oppose any expansion of the Billy Bishop Airport.
How would you deal with the “dogs off leash” problem in Sam Smith Park?There has to be constant enforcement of the by-law requiring dogs to be leashed and more education of dog owners. Sam Smith undergrowth and natural areas are habitat for a large variety of birds and creatures and off leash dogs do serious damage to both. The existence of an off leash area encourages dog owners to the park but (a) they do not respect the by-law and (b) some of them say the off leash area is too dirty, especially for small dogs. Dog licence fees should be used to enforce the by-law and maintain the off-leash area in a sanitary condition.