543 Richmond Street West | 47.24m | 15s | Pemberton | BDP Quadrangle

AlbertC

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neuhaus

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Here’s the community survey for the parkette design on the southeast corner of the site:
 

Northern Light

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Here’s the community survey for the parkette design on the southeast corner of the site:

TY for that.

Don't know if anyone posted the concept design...........in case the answer is no (I just checked back one page)......

Here ya go:

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Three words:

Small, Sterile, Cluttered.

If they build this, in this way, I see a future post in the Problematic Park Design thread..........

***

Edit to add: I may have bruised an ego or two in filling out the survey..........I think my comments would qualify as excoriation.
 
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ADRM

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If they build this, in this way, I see a future post in the Problematic Park Design thread..........

***

Edit to add: I may have bruised an ego or two in filling out the survey..........I think my comments would qualify as excoriation.

Good. The City needs to hear from way more people in way more honest terms about how crappy a lot of their park designs are. In addition to sterile and cluttered, I'd add confused, and hard as the words I most often associate with developer-contributed parks that the City takes the responsibility of designing.

Between this, maintenance, and driving their F-150s and other heavy equipment all over our parks, does Parks do anything right?
 

Northern Light

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.... does Parks do anything right?

Some things; yes.

However, it's too sporadic. There are some good policies, some good plans, and some truly excellent staff; but this is offset by some bad policies, an officious culture, low institutional memory, high turnover, inconsistent project execution (I'm being nice here); and budgets, timelines and mandates that are overstretched, causing even good people, with good policies to under-deliver too often.
 

Northern Light

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Some things; yes.

However, it's too sporadic. There are some good policies, some good plans, and some truly excellent staff; but this is offset by some bad policies, an officious culture, low institutional memory, high turnover, inconsistent project execution (I'm being nice here); and budgets, timelines and mandates that are overstretched, causing even good people, with good policies to under-deliver too often.

I don't want to send this thread on a parks tangent, but I thought I'd add to what I said above.

Some things I can't discuss because they have the effect of naming names etc; but just like I can target park design and do, over in the applicable thread, I can take a couple of stabs at park policy to show how things go wrong.

1) Shade structures have become almost mandatory. The idea wasn't bad, per se; it came about a few years ago where people complained that what with the risk of skin cancer, but also just personal comfort, there was a need to ensure some shade, particularly for those taking a rest/watching kids at a playground, in every park. Well intended.

No real reason that the shade can't be provided by trees in the majority of cases, though one needs to acknowledge that most trees when planted don't deliver a lot of shade, that develops as the trees mature.

What should have happened is a subtle reminder to ensure there's some shade-relief in a design, ideally via trees, but where for whatever reason that isn't practical, a small pergola, or an overhang extended from a nearby washroom etc. could be used instead.

But what we got is parks designers who feel they have to justify omitting a man-made shade structure. This results both in goofy design, and less room for trees; as well as additional costs. Those structures eat up a lot more $$$ than the corresponding trees would.

2) There's a policy to try to honour First Nations. I think that's perfectly fine. But instead of targeting a small number of sites which might have either profile or cultural/archeological significance, there's a current tendency to make small gestures most people, including those of First Nations background won't appreciate, and might even feel insulted by in that there is an 'after thought' quality.

3) Sometime ago, PF&R became concerned about climate change, and decided to start planting trees that were not native to Toronto but areas further south, out of some sort of fear that if they planted predominantly
native trees there might be issues with survival if temperatures rose 2 degrees.

This was one of the most bizarre moves I've ever seen as it betrays a lack of understanding of basic science.

First, you have to plant trees that will do well in environment as it is today. PF&R's sudden desire to stick Tulip trees everywhere, when they often don't do well in Toronto (they can, but in specific conditions) is an example.
Second, you need to understand that the majority of Toronto's tree stock is actually Carolinian, not Boreal; and as such, since we're at the northern end of the Carolinian range, the vast majority of natives will do just fine if it gets a tad warmer.
Sugar Maples grow as far south as Pennsylvania, Red Oak grows in North Carolina, etc etc. The only species that would suffer and likely only in that they wouldn't successfully reproduce would be more Boreal species........such as White Spruce, White Birch, and a smattering of others.

In bringing in species from further south, one also increases the risk of bringing novel diseases and pests as well!

4) Picnic tables. For reasons unclear to me, the City cut way back on the their numbers a few years ago; and created a policy where every park supervisor had a set quota they were allowed across all the parks they manage.
One year, as I recall it was only 10 tables for one supervisor who had 30 parks.

Since that time, it now appears that parks wants to place tables only when they build a concrete pad for them. While I understand the desire to minimize the risk of ruts and mud from over-use.........
This has the effect of driving up the cost of an install substantially and it involves a lot more planning/time as well.

****

Meanwhile, the department some years ago moved to specialize almost everything. From litter removal to lawn mowing everything had dedicated crews.
This has had the perverse effect that staff resources are relatively inflexible, because crew A is not trained on task B.

It also serves to mean that Crew A often doesn't know what any other staff in the department are doing, have done or will do to a given park.

This is where you get $ spent on re-doing something that will be removed the following year; or the mow crew running over a new tree planting, because no one told them those 'sticks' were important......
 
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