SILVER CREEK PARK IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
TAKE THE SURVEY. HAVE YOUR SAY.
At the October Public Meeting the proposed concept design for Silver Creek Park was shared by City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff. The public survey is now open and the design team will use this feedback to develop and refine the design for the park improvements. The public survey is now open and will close November 9th.
Friends of Silver Creek have received an invite by Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Parks Development & Capital Projects Section staff to participate in a preliminary stakeholder virtual meetings to discuss the Silver Creek Park Improvement Project.
City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff, Councillor Holyday, their design consultant, and other community stakeholders will be in attendance.
It is our hope that previous community consultation and input will be included in current discussions and that the entire community will have further opportunity to be provided with information and an opportunity for consultation to ensure all community voices will be respected and heard.
In advance of this meeting FofSC have asked for confirmation of details including if a timeline has been determined and if the decision making and consultation process for this project has been confirmed.
Friends of Silver Creek have been advocating for amenities for both Silver Creek and Richview Parks since 2018:
Ongoing communication with Councillor Holyday's office and Parks, Forestry and Recreation, City of Toronto staff
Hosted a joint community meeting in 2018 with Buttonwood Hill Residents Association, former Councillor John Campbell and Parks, Forestry and Recreation & Planning Staff, City of Toronto.
FofSC and former Councillor John Campbell sent out a joint survey to gather community feedback only for the usage of the $450,000+ funds as per the 2016 agreement from the Shannex development (4650 Eglinton Ave W).
Based on the joint survey, a park project list was submitted to Councillor Stephen Holyday at a meeting in 2019.
- Developers pay fees (Section 37 & 42 Funds) to the City of Toronto per development.
- There have been developer funds waiting to be used in our community since 2016.
- These funds total $1,037,000 from local development fees not including Section 42 funds that are still to be allocated from the Trinity/ Create T.O. development.
- These fees are to be used to fund community benefits.
So that everyone can enjoy and benefit from the park - the Silver Creek Park Improvement Plan should be a multi-generational design, inclusive and accessible and have adequate seating and shade.
MEETING SUMMARY & PROJECT LIST SUBMISSION APRIL 2019
In April 2019, FofSC presented the community feedback and 2018 survey results to Councillor Stephen Holyday and Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff.
As per the April meeting outcomes, FofSC submitted a project list and map on May 13, 2019 to Councillor Holyday and all those in attendance at the April 17, 2019 meeting which included requests for the usage of funds for Silver Creek Park and Richview Park. See below for a summary of the submission:
Ping pong table(s)
Stationary exercise equipment
Accessible swing with accessible path
Shade structure to cover existing sand pit
Picnic tables with covered shade structure
Replace existing water fountain with water bottle refill station
Expanded seating for “quiet zone” with accessible path
Additional garbage & recycling bins
The following details have been presented at the two Parks, Forestry and Recreation meetings:
The previous community consultation and survey results FofSC submitted in 2019 is the basis for the project scope and current design plan.
The global project budget is $575,000 based on the original scope and program. The budget includes hard costs, soft costs, construction, fees, permits, investigations, taxes, testing etc.
The project is being funded through development funding (Section 37 and Section 42 funding) for 4650 Eglinton Avenue West.
Typically, a range of 10 – 25% of project budget goes towards soft costs (i.e. design consulting fees, permits, etc.) with the remaining amount going towards project construction.
Requests for funds to be allocated for updates and improvements to Richmond Gardens Pool and Richview Park were declined. It was stated that these meetings were specifically for Silver Creek Park Improvements.
The Parks, Forestry and Recreation Budget Notes (BU22.2) document indicates $50,000 has been allocated to Richview Park for 2021.
PFR staff confirmed that work on the seating area in the eastern portion of Richview Park has begun and should be completed by mid-October.
At each meeting, FofSC have advocated strongly for a fully transparent and inclusive community consultation process given that the survey results and project list were submitted three years ago and pre-pandemic. Climate change events and COVID-19, in addition to the intensification of the neighbourhood may influence ideas and needs of the park space.
The budget of $575,000 for the park improvement project includes project design and consultation fees, permits and taxes which reduces the amount that can be spent on amenities. Section Funds from Eglinton Developments were valued at over $1 million in 2019.
FofSC request Councillor Holyday commit to sourcing and confirming additional funds to ensure the park design is constructed in it's entirety in 2022 and that the project is not completed in phases to avoid any future issues with funding.
Many attempts were made to gather information and to secure earlier assurances that the funds would be used to improve and enhance Silver Creek Park and other parks in the Willowridge-Martingrove-Richview neighbourhoods in a reasonable time frame yet updates were not provided and funds have remain unspent.
Other City of Toronto Parks have updated amenities such as shade structures, ping pong tables, splash pads, picnic tables, basketball courts and additional seating with accessibility available for children and adults with mobility challenges.
Symington Avenue, Amos Waites and Cloverdale Parks are three examples of how updated amenities improve the park experience for all patrons.
Previous community feedback from 2018/2019 for improvements to Silver Creek and Richview Parks should be taken into consideration.
However, a significant amount of time has passed and given we are in the midst of a pandemic and are currently experiencing the effects of climate change - we need a new fully inclusive community consultation to also capture the evolving needs of the Willowridge-Martingrove-Richview communities.
Now, more than ever, we see the increased value of parks and greenspace on physical and mental health. Given our longstanding advocacy on this project, we hope that this will be a transparent, inclusive and responsive process.
How would you like to see these funds used in our parks?
Share your thoughts and ideas with us.
Friends of Silver Creek are committed to ensuring that all community members are informed, have access to information and the opportunity to contribute.
According to the City of Toronto, 2021 Budget Notes Parks, Forestry and Recreation the report cites:
Equitable access to affordable and high-quality recreation programs and facilities; high-quality connected parks and natural spaces
A healthy and resilient urban forest and ravines; safe and resilient parks and public spaces; awareness of the benefits of trees, green infrastructure and ravines
Youth that are engaged through leadership and life skill development, volunteerism and employment
Here are some document highlights:
One Key Challenge & Risk: Maintaining focus on building social and environmental resilience and mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change on communities, public spaces and facilities; growing and maintaining a healthy and resilient urban forest and responding to forest health threats.
One Priority Action: Grow and retain the ecological integrity of parkland, forests and ravines in the face of increasing pressure to advance and expedite development and heavy impacts to parks, beaches and natural spaces as a result of increased use during the pandemic