Thursday, November 29, 2012

Parking warning

Beware of accidentally parking in the new handicap parking spot just down from the parkette. I noticed a ticket on an illegally parked car and was astonished at the preposterous fine amount. $450!! Wow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Parkette Meeting Summary

Thank to those who came for the meeting last night. Although a unanimous consensus wasn't achieved in all areas I will attempt to summarize where we landed on things anyway.

1. Sand retention. We liked the idea of using natural logs (similar, albeit smaller than these) to enclose the sand area on 2 sides (see attached photo). This keeps the sand off the path, which will protect the new sod and they will make an attractive barrier which can be used as seating by little ones. The downside is they will have to be replaced after a few years once they start to rot.

2. Widen pathway. Although this will cut into the green space there isn't much we can do about it since government law requires approx. 1.5 m wide paths so that potentially two wheel chairs can pass simultaneously. We did talk about angling the path a little as per attached diagram.

3. Move bench. We'll move the bench closer to the twirly slide to allow for more green space. Also we'll add a bench back onto the small concrete pad where there used to be one.

4. We all agreed to replace a baby swing with an accessible swing (can also be used by babies).

5. Relocating the water fountain closer to the entrance of the park to 1. save money and 2. keep it away from the sand. Also we'll be able to tap into it for occasional slip and slide misadventures.  It would be amazing if we could bury the waterbox below the frostline to use the water for flooding a rink but the City will get back to us on whether it is possible once they determine the depth.

6. Add new sod where needed and try to level of green space as much as possible.

7. New lighting at the rear of the park (similar to old lighting but with lights that can focus a little better). Position indicated on diagram although should probably sit right along the middle of the edge of the concrete pad.

8. The latched gate at the back was a controversial one. A few parents were quite adamant that it was not a good idea so unless there is a strong voice I think we can safely assume that it isn't going to happen.

9. Retaining wall and fill to try and slightly level off the corner of the park. This is still in the air. We've been told it will be expensive and would only give us 1.5 feet higher at the lowest point. I don't think anyone would object to this but it is a lower priority ask.

10. Toy corral. This would probably be better situated where there isn't much activity anyway - in either of the back corners.

11. Additions to play structure. This could happen although personally I don't substantially see a huge benefit. The ideas of clocks and tic tac toe boards seemed not to interest too many adults and I never see any kids play with them in parks that do have them. A net or a mini-climbing wall up one side of the structure (ostensibly replacing something that is already there) is possible though.

12. Lastly, the ping pong table. We are limited to what we can do on the pad. Removing the concrete pad is too expensive and basketball nets were ruled out. Both the Councillor and the park designer thought a new concrete table would be an easy fix and inexpensive use of the space. It would also be Toronto's first table in a public park! There was not unanimous support for it though. One issue is that it wasn't an activity devoted to fitness (obviously spoken by someone that hasn't seen me play when the jacket comes off). And also it isn't suitable for the under-5 set (although I'm not sure what would be on a concrete surface.

So now is our final chance to brainstorm any other concrete pad ideas and get consensus on a new direction otherwise the table looks like it will be a go.

One major qualifier for a new table is the requirement for it to be a good table. There is no point in a having a big, cracked hunk of concrete with a corner missing junking up the park. We need to ensure that it can withstand Canadian winters and Canadian teenagers. I've seen other tables made for parks in Europe and the U.S. but the Parks people are looking at a local option. As long as it is the proper, size, height and has been tested to withstand the abuse it will undoubtedly take - I think we are good.

I apologize if I have missed something. Please let me know in the comments. Let's having a discussion about the particulars so we can send a revised plan to the Councillor's office in a week.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Owl spotted

This snoozing predator was spotted in the parkette on Remembrance Day. Keep an eye out for it in the trees in the back corner above the ping pong table.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Park meeting rescheduled - exciting things are happening!

After having to cancel the previous meeting due to hurricane Sandy, on November 13th, 2012 we will be holding a second meeting to go over some possible opportunities and improvements to Ritchie Parkette (rain or shine). The meeting will be from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Ritchie Parkette. Councillor Perks, Ray Stukas (Parks Manager) and one of the City’s landscape architects will be on hand. Subsequently, to get us further alone, PFR has been kind enough to draft some potential landscape design options we can talk about (although additional ideas are more than welcome).

Link here:

Please come and join the conversation as this is our chance to have a say in the future of our Parkette.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sod delayed

I know we were told that new sod was to have been installed this fall. Here is the explanation as to why it has not and will not happen this year from Michael Butler of Gord Perks' office:

I have chatted with ray and other parks staff and I am told,
"The problem is predicting the weather. Ideally sod needs a few weeks to knit under ideal growing conditions. We would need the area fenced off until the roots penetrate the soil underneath otherwise foot traffic, bicycles etc will ruin the job. If it gets cold quickly this will not occur until the spring.

Also if we do it now and fence off the area until the spring we won't have access for the other work."
As well they also highlighted that in terms of some of the options we are looking at and could possibly choose,

"It would be smarter to do the other work such as bring in a ping pong table (which probably needs to be brought in with a forklift), relocate the water fountain (which will require trenching), install the light pole(which will also need trenching for electrical wiring) and grade the back corner before we sod."
I hope that answers your question sufficiently and I look forward to chatting with you and the rest of the ritchie folks at the upcoming meeting about the improvements.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gourds Galore

Thanks to all who braved the weather.  See you next year.