More Moss Park Redevelopment

As you may be aware, the City of Toronto and and The 519 are currently planning the redevelopment of John Innes Community Centre, Moss Park Arena and the park space around them. The original proposal was to build at the current location of these facilities, however, a recent and sudden change places the new facilities on the west side of the park, adjacent to the Moss Park Armoury. Based on a prior community consultation meeting, it is clear that the proposal change has taken a large number of resident by surprise, and as such, the CSRB forwarded a letter to the City and 519 voicing concern over lack of transparency in the decision making process and failure to provide the community with alternatives. The City and the 519 have responded by agreeing to meet with the Cabbagetown South Residents Board Board (CSRB) in order to address these concerns:

Some of the main pros/cons of the current 519 proposal as identified by the CSRB include, but are not limited to the following:

Pros

  • Continuation of services provided by the community centre and the arena during construction.
  • Modernization and improvement over existing facilities
  • Review of programs and services so to serve the community
  • Redesign of the park's layout and landscape

Cons

  • Failure to directly address safety issues associated with Moss Park; especially at corner of Queen and Sherbourne.
  • Removal of a large number of mature trees ( ~1/3 => over 100; 50 - 80 year old) along Shuter St will be required. These will be replaced with young saplings.
  • Missed opportunity to consider integrating the future Queen and Sherbourne subway station into the design plans.
  • Lack of transparency in the decision making process and proposal alternatives with a cost/benefit analysis.
  • Closure of the rest of the park for the duration of construction (i.e. no access to tennis courts or the baseball diamond, etc)
Members of our Board met with the Moss Park Redevelopment Team.  We presented the following comments for discussion based on feed back from area residents.   

Safety & Area Revitalization

Goal

  • The area of Moss Park needs to become a positive, safe and attractive space for the community.
  • What does this mean ideally?
  • A place for people to pass through or use facilities of thereof without fear of violence or harassment.
  • Taking firm measures against apparent crime, drug use and prostitution on park premises.
  • Clean, maintained, green space. No garbage!
  • Programs tailored to community's needs
  • Homelessness should be addressed
  • What steps we would like taken by 519 to achieve this goal?
  • Collaborate with the city, community, stakeholders and neighbourhood organizations.
  • Maxwell Meighen is a significant contributor to the issues affecting Moss Park. They should be held accountable for controlling the behaviour of the individuals using their facilities, including in the area of Moss Park. It is important for the 519 to open a dialog with Maxwell Meighen and the City in order to figure out how this responsibility can be shared. Some of the actions that should be taken include, but are not limited to:
  • Consider building in place of the current Community Centre.
  • The structures provide a physical barrier to the rest of the park
  • Fences around outdoor sports facilities will form an unsightly facade for Sherbourne
  • Deploying personnel to supervise Moss Park grounds and the area near Maxwell Meighen, especially during particular morning and evening hours when there are large congregations of individuals entering or leaving Maxwell Meighen facilities. This personnel should include, but is not limited to:
  • Social workers familiar with the Maxwell Meighen facility users
  • 519 needs to further involve the City in order to figure out how to deal with the issue of homelessness in the park. A compassionate, and socially responsible approach is needed, however, the status quo of the park being used as a makeshift homeless shelter needs to be addressed.

Facilities and Landscape Design

Goal

  • Area grounds and facilities need to be designed in a way which facilitates the goal of safety and area revitalization, while maximizing use.
  • What steps we would like taken by 519 to achieve this goal?
  • Significant tree removal is a great concern for the community. Removal of healthy trees should be avoided as much as possible. Prior to removal, the community should be made aware which mature trees are marked for removal, and justification/reasons for removal provided.
  • Don’t just adapt the park to the design. Design around the park.
  • Who does the evaluation for which trees are removed?
  • It is very important that there is sufficient budget to maintain the grounds and programs. 519 needs to elaborate how they intend to fund the ground maintenance and programs in the long-run.
  • Spots hidden from general sight due to vegetation or structures should be eliminated from design.
  • Bridge/ravine is a bad idea! It is certain to accumulate garbage, and will create hiding spot for drug users, prostitutes and will generally constitute a safety hazard.
  • New laneway between Armory and the Community Centre’s will pose a problem. Consult the 51 Division to discuss aspects of design. (Consider cameras? security patrols?)
  • Make facilities friendly and accessible. Remove bureaucratic barriers as much as possible.
  • Create permanent outdoor facilities (e.g. fixed goal posts), which do not require direct supervision by the 519, or come up with creative ways to make these available outside of Community Centre’s work hours (e.g. locked storage with implements to which pre-authorised individuals can gain access; continue lighting outdoor facilities after Community Centre’s work hours).
  • Add a running track around park grounds
  • Ensure adequate path lighting.
  • Shutter side of the building needs to be made welcoming. Pembrook street links Moss Park and Allen gardens, and north side should be made more visually interesting and accessible.
  • Soccer is very popular, and a permanent soccer field should be considered.

Community Centre should be made inclusive and welcoming.

Goal

  • CC must take steps to ensure that theft, violence, harassment other criminal and undesirable activities are not given a chance to take place.
  • Request to have male/female/gender-neutral changerooms/showers.
  • Make area friendly to dog-walkers. Perhaps allocate a dog-park area so that pets can do their business there instead of park grounds used by people.
  • It is desirable to allocate some space for a community garden.

Stakeholder Involvement and Transparency

Goal

  • Gather input from all major stakeholders and incorporate into the design of facilities and park grounds. Add transparency and gather community input regularly.
  • What steps we would like taken by 519 to achieve this goal?
  • Reach out to stakeholders, such as the current hockey arena, and include them in the planning and design decisions that will affect them the most.
  • Be significantly more transparent in the decision making process.
  • Revised plans, specifically relocation of the Community Centre’s was very surprising to the community. People did not feel that their opinions were taken into consideration.
  • Make the decision process available to the community
  • Consult the community frequently and make updates available through easily accessible communication channels such as social media, where feedback can be readily gathered in real-time, rather than presenting a nearly finalized product without alternatives.
  • Setup a twitter feed to update on the decisions and project progress, as well as a publicly accessible online knowledge repository detailing financial statements, design documents and drafts, meeting minutes, timelines, etc.


Moss Park Redevelopment Drawings 

Public Meeting September 12, 2016

click here to view full presentaion


For additional information on the project, please visit http://www.moremosspark.ca/


     

GARDEN DISTRICT RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION 

 It should be noted that the Garden District Board and membership is opposed to the location of the new community center and the size of the proposed community center.  They feel that the new community center should be along Sherbourne Street and connected to the new subway station proposed for Sherbourne at Queen.  The Moss Park Redevelopment Team have indicated that the new building location is the best solution  as it will allow current programs at the John Innis Center and the rink to continue through the construction phase.  The Garden District is also very concerned about changes to the park itself.  

For more information on the Gardent Districts stance please click here.  Position Paper on the Proposed Location of The New Community Centre in Moss Park 






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