GPAC Meeting Minutes from June 26, 2014
Grange Park Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, June 26, 2014, 8:30 – 10:00 am
Art Gallery of Ontario
Ralph Daley, (Co-Chair) Grange Community Association
Rupert Duchesne, (Co-Chair) AGO
Max Allen, Grange Community Association
Bev Carret, AGO
Lisa Clements, AGO
Peter Couto, Grange Community Association
Ena D’Altroy, University Settlement
Joan Heeler, St. George the Martyr Church
Rebecca Keenan, Ward 20 Office
Miriam Kramer, OCAD U
Sandy Ladouceur, AGO
Mike Mahoney, AGO
Pesha McKendry, Representative of social housing residents
Mazyar Mortazavi, TAS Design Build (member-at-large)
Katie Nikota, Toronto PFR
Phyllis Platt, Grange Community Association
Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, Grange Community Association
Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO
Alex Shevchuk, Toronto PFR
Brian Green, Toronto PFR
Margie Zeidler, UrbanSpace (member-at-large)
Summary of Discussion
Rupert welcomed Katie Nikota, Landscape Technologist from City of Toronto Parks Department. Alex advised that Katie will be assisting him with the Grange Park Project.
Approval of the minutes of the June 6, 2014 meeting:
With a motion by Max Allen, seconded by Pesha McKendry, minutes were approved
Business Arising from the Minutes:
Ralph confirmed that he met with Mike, Peter and Pearl on June 9 to review the draft funding agreement between the AGO and the City. Mike noted that Pearl had flagged a concern with one of the City’s clauses. This clause was subsequently removed from the draft agreement. Once this assurance was provided, Ralph, Peter and Pearl were comfortable with the AGO and the City finalizing the agreement.
Matthew clarified the proposed use for the AGO’s south entry. It would be an unticketed entry and exit to and from the WFLC area. It would be open during the AGO’s public hours. It would not be used as a ticketed entrance to the AGO. It would not be used as a group entrance. It would not be used as an entrance or exit for events. Rupert and Matthew committed to GPAC that if the AGO ever wanted to use the south entry for an exceptional occasion, it would bring the proposal to GPAC for prior discussion and approval.
Mike reviewed the proposed design for the south entry, prepared by Hariri Pontarini Architects.
It was acknowledged that the south entry would provide more safety to the camp groups exiting the AGO to play in Grange Park. Concern was expressed about the AGO’s ability to control buses stopped/parked on Beverley Street while they wait for their groups to exit the Gallery. The AGO committed to being more proactive in managing the buses that bring groups to the AGO. It was noted that the south entry is part of a new paradigm for cultural spaces to interact more with their communities. There was concern, however, that the south entry would stimulate increased traffic which could compromise the park’s environment. Alex reminded the meeting that the City will conduct a park impact assessment as part of its approval process for the south entry. The AGO also agreed that GPAC should monitor and review the use of the south entry and its impact on the park.
A vote was called to confirm GPAC’s support for the establishment of the AGO’s south entry. The vote carried with 12 yeses and one abstention by Ceta.
Ralph asked Mike to report on the information he had received from PFS in response to the questions raised at the last GPAC meeting concerning the design of the dog run. Mike confirmed that PFS can provide a design for the dog run that reflects the aesthetics of the park. PFS considers the south west side of the park as the only possible site for the dog run. Its location in any other area of the park would significantly unwind the design and the principles of the design brief. Odours could be minimized with a good irrigation system and a gravel base. The inclusion of a dog run does not prevent a straight east-west path at the south side of the park, but PFS is recommending winding paths in order to discourage cyclists from speeding. It would be possible to add the dog run after the park revitalization project is completed, since it does not impact the overall design. Building the dog run after the park’s completion instead of including it in the project would incur some additional expense.
Alex confirmed that Grange Park is subject to City Parks approval for an off-leash area and explained the process:
- A request for a dog run must be submitted in writing to Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation for assessment.
- A request for a dog run generally requires the establishment of a Dog Owners Association, although this may be waived by PFR.
- A community meeting must be organized to present the proposal, including the following information:
- size and location of the area
- slopes and their sustainability
- hours of operation
- rules and regulations
- fencing requirements or use of natural barriers where deemed appropriate
- tree or forest protection required
- amenities (lighting, seating, access to water for people and dogs, waste and recycling programs)
- other landscape components
Alex explained that Grange Park is large enough to be a candidate for unfenced off-leash access during low-use hours and months; however, this would be unlikely since the park includes a play area, splash pads and gardens.
Max Allen presented a petition with 200 signatures requesting that “GPAC and the AGO consider the inclusion of a designated fenced area for the dogs of the neighbourhood to play off leash in the redesigned Grange Park plan”.
A vote was called to confirm GPAC’s agreement to put forward a request to City Parks for a fenced dog-run in the south-west area of Grange Park. The vote carried with 11 yeses and abstentions by Ceta and Alex.
Community meeting July 7:
Bev confirmed that the community meeting will take place on Monday July 7, 6:30-8:30pm at the AGO in the Weston Family Learning Centre. The meeting will be led by GPAC co-chairs Rupert and Ralph. The focus of the meeting will be to present the developed design for the Grange Park revitalization project to the community. Jennifer Nagai from PFS will be present to explain the details of the design. The meeting will provide a recap of the feedback received after the April 22 community meeting and how the design has been modified to respond to this feedback. As promised at the April 22 meeting, information will be shared about lighting, play equipment, seating and tree management.
Tree Management Strategy:
Mike reviewed the tree management strategy that will be presented at the community meeting:
- the tree management strategy will increase the number of trees in Grange Park to 187 trees; there are currently 127 trees in the park.
- 17 trees are in failing health and will be removed
- 6 trees will be removed for design purposes
- 83 new trees will be planted
PFS has made a number of design modifications to reduce the number of trees slated for removal for design purposes and will continue to investigate options that will further decrease this number. It was stressed that if we do not plan a proactive tree strategy, the park will 20-25% of its trees over the next several years due to age, pest infestation and disease.
Mike reminded GPAC that there will be a walkabout in Grange Park following the meeting to look at the condition of the trees identified for removal.
GPAC Meeting Schedule:
The next GPAC meeting will take place on Friday August 8, 2-4pm at the AGO. Another meeting will be scheduled for September.