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.