MEETING NOTES

Grange Park Advisory Committee

Meeting of April 22, 2009

University Settlement, 23 Grange Road

 

Members in attendance:

John Burns, St. George the Martyr Church

Rupert Duchesne, Co-Chair, AGO

Councillor Adam Vaughan, Co-chair

Peter Couto, resident

Mark Emslie, City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation

Ken Greenberg, resource person, AGO

Pat McKendry, resident

Mazyar Mortazavi, member-at-large

Mike Mahoney, AGO

Debbie McGuinness, resident

Dr. James Moy, OCAD

Marguerite Newell, resident

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, resident

Debra Shime, University Settlement (US)

Margie Zeidler, member-at-large

 

Observers and guests:

Max Allen, for discussion re OCAD project

Peter Caldwell, for discussion on OCAD project

Jennifer Tharp, City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation

Donald Schmitt, Architect, for presentation on OCAD project

Persis Lam, with Diamond Schmitt

Eric Fung, with Diamond Schmitt

 

Regrets

Bev Carret, AGO

Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO

 

Summary of Discussion:

 

•1.      Approval of the minutes of March 2, 2009.

Minutes were approved as circulated.

 

•2.      Business Arising from the minutes

Discussion ensured regarding the May 24 Walk for Israel through Grange Park.  The organizers have made commitments to use walkways and remove any waste.  It is not clear what washroom arrangements are in place or required. Deb Shime indicated that University Settlement (US) had a discussion regarding support needed but given the proposed numbers of about 17,000, this could not be supported by US facilities. Since there were different end points for the walk, there might be a significant reduction in the number of people passing through Grange Park. Mark Emslie will follow up to confirm arrangements, particularly with respect to any requests for washroom facilties and portolets.  No specific monitoring was in place, however residents might want to take photos for documentation and for evaluation of impact on Grange Park.

 

•3.      Feedback on design brief

Various comments were made regarding the section of the draft brief on “Next Steps”.  Ceta circulated her comments to kick off the discussion. The draft will be revised by Ken Greenberg to reflect the discussion regarding the following points: reflect that City, AGO and GPAC are working together; that ultimate design relates to the available funding.  It was agreed that there be no reference to a fund-raising target but that work would proceed when funding is in place.  With respect to the selection of design consultants, it was understood that the primary concern of GPAC is with the design rather than who would do it.   It was agreed that language would reflect the Park being rehabilitated rather than viewed as a construction project.  It is expected that design work would begin in summer of 2009 and that the work in the Park would commence in  2010 with a proposed completion target of 2011.  Pat requested that the word “youth” be added to page 2 – 3rd paragraph under “realizing Grange Park’s full potential”.

 

Deb Levine indicated that the draft was shared within the US community.  They are delighted with the plan but there is a concern around how Grange Road would be treated particularly with respect to access to the building for deliveries and access to existing parking.  In addition many parents wanted to see “traditional” play continue – e.g. swings, slides and sandboxes.  Many were amused by the notion of the plastic materials being viewed as “traditional”.  It was understood that “traditional” referred to the “types of play activity” rather than materials. The Wychwood Barns has modern play equipment which allows for “traditional” play.  It was suggested that photos of these could be shown, as long as it was understood that this would not necessarily be what would turn up in Grange Park.  The US is planning its 100th anniversary celebrations in 2010 with major activities taking place in July.  It was hoped that the work schedule would take that into account.

 

A final version would be provided by May 1 for posting on the US website and for the community meeting on June 1.

 

•4.      Protocol between the City of Toronto and the AGO

Adam advised  that the Government Management Committee (GMC)  had approved the process for making changes to the 1911 agreement.  He expressed his delight that there will be a permanent staff person assigned to work in Grange Park and that there is understanding on the base line services that will continue to be provided.  Final approval is expected at City Council within a week.  Copies of the letter from the Grange Community Association sent to the GMC were circulated.  It was noted that the recommendations from the committee mandated that deliberations between the AGO and the City include the Ward Councillor and that the amended agreement would include a mechanism for the neighbourhood to be involved with park management on an on-going basis.

 

Adam thanked the PFR staff for their role in advancing this new arrangement. It was agreed that the chairs would send a letter to PFR staff expressing GPAC’s and AGO’s appreciation for their efforts. Bev would be asked to follow up with Rupert and Adam.

 

•5.      Grange Park – Update on remedial  initiatives

Ken advised that two meetings were held with PFR staff to discuss how to move the work along.  Discussion topics included the current base level of support and the implications of moving support to a higher standard.   He noted that the difference between the base level and a higher standard does not seem to be insurmountable with respect to cost and who would do what work.  With respect to the activities arising from the PMA report, a basic principle is that that on-going stewardship is essential.

 

Mark advised that the worksheet has been revised and sent to Bev.  This will be forwarded to the committee at a later date.  Calculations were based on having one classification of staff in place, but they are also looking at another classification. It was noted that S.37 funds cannot be used for maintenance. 
With respect to the workplan, PFR staff proposed that until such time as a design was a place, major work should be deferred, including tree removal except for those trees which needed to be removed as soon as possible. Reference was made to the ash trees beside the church as being in the urgent category. No one had memorized the tree numbering schedule.

 

Soil decompaction has been completed around 6 trees close to the AGO construction area at the north end of the park. Mulch has been added around trees. In addition, grading and soil replacement is underway in the north area.  Ceta noted that it may be necessary to replace the fence/or barricades at the northwest corner to prevent vehicles from continuing to park in that corner as has been observed in recent days.  Mike will check out the situation.

 

The preferred time for soil decompaction is the fall and only selective pruning should take place in the spring.  The AGO is seeking funding to continue work. About  $25K has been requested from the TD Environment Foundation, who had supported the earlier study by PMA.

 

Rupert indicated that it was AGO’s intention to raise funds for the entire project.  Adam noted that we could not necessarily count on the flow of S.37 funds as some construction projects are on hold.   In addition, he noted that irrigation and watering would be taking place this summer with full time PFR staff being assigned, and that community volunteers would likely not be required.

 

•6.      Communications strategy

John Burns advised that the website had been secured through the efforts of Bev and AGO staff.  It will be www.grangeparktoronto.ca  The Committee will meet in early May to map out content, which will include GPAC’s terms of reference, minutes of meetings as well as resource documents such as the PMA brief.  It was also proposed that the tree mapping system be included on the web so that members of the community would be able to identify their comments to a specific tree.

 

The site will be up before the June 1 meeting.

•7.      Community meeting – June 1 – US Auditorium

The communications team was asked to provide notification for the meeting and to work with Bev to develop the agenda.  It was understood that although the previous two community meetings were joint meetings held with GCA, this meeting was being held by GPAC.  GCA would be given an opportunity to make announcements.  Marguerite noted that at the last public meeting residents observed that they were not provided with enough time for discussion. 

 

Information would be presented on:

(1) Design Brief

(2) Progress on work undertaken to date

(3) New protocol – City and the AGO

 

If a new staff person is in place, that person would also be introduced. 

 

A subcommittee of Adam, Debbie and Marguerite was struck to work on formalizing the protocol for issuing permits for Grange Park. Mark agreed to provide a copy of the current special event packages.  It was agreed that this protocol and criteria for issuing permits for Grange Park would be added to the agenda for the community meeting on June 1.

 

Ensuring that communications would be bi-lingual is a priority.  Ceta advised that Bev indicated she was planning to pay for a postal walk in advance of the June 1 meeting and that these notices would be

bi-lingual.  It was proposed that this meeting be also used as an opportunity to thank Max Woolaver of St. George the Martyr Church which is an important partner in the GPAC process.  A separate neighbourhood event might also be considered.  This matter was left with the agenda setting committee.

 

•8.      Other Business

Mark advised that a request was received from a Ryerson Student to place an installation in Grange Park.

The installation consisted of a number of chairs being placed over a 7 day period during which there would be an exposure to a recording.  Not too many details were available.  Adam indicated that additional information had been provided to his office and that the recordings were intended to address issues of sexual assault.  Since this is a public park, there was some concern around how the content would be experienced by a park full of children. Comment was also made about the proposed length of the installation, location as well as security around what would be included.  No support was expressed for this proposal.

 

Deb Shime advised that the US was very concerned about the amount of speeding through the park by bicyclists.  All agreed that this was a problem and perhaps might be addressed through the park design.

Adam advised that Dale Duncan in his office was working on a city wide issue to engender more respectful behaviour by cyclists.

 

 

•9.      Next Meeting – June 1 at 5.30 pm at US prior to the community meeting.

 

•10.  OCAD re-design project

 

After a round of introductions, Adam advised that OCAD was invited to attend the GPAC meeting because of the proximity to the park and how their proposal would affect the park.

 

Peter Caldwell gave background on what why OCAD needed to expand and the time lines they were under with respect to the availability of federal and provincial infrastructure funding.   He noted that they did not have the capacity to respond to student demand nor be able to respond to faculty they would like to recruit.

 

Donald Schmitt outlined the scope of the project.  There are a number of elements under consideration including:  refurbishing the Reid wing, recladding the entire 100 McCaul building including using living walls, upgrading interiors, consideration of extending the front of McCaul Street for offices; infilling above 100 McCaul below the table top; infilling a portion of space about 20 feet above Butterfield  Park under the table top. Peter also noted that there was unused density from the previous project.

 

A wide ranging discussion took place including proposals to remove the public washrooms in Grange Park, demolition of the Victorian houses at Grange and McCaul; including washrooms and office for Grange Park activities in the expanded OCAD building; providing space on OCAD lands beside the art store for same.

Discussion also included the effect of any in-fill of space under the table top and what effect that would have on the view of the table top.  Adam proposed that OCAD consider using materials to mock up a life size version of what is proposed for the table top so that the community would be able to experience its effects. Computer modeling was also requested regarding sight lines for McCaul Street towards the table top.

 

Adam also reminded the group that the proposal would require considerable discussion within the community given the basis upon which residents had supported the previous expansion.

   

•11.   Adjournment –  8.40 pm

 

 

SUMMARY OF ACTIONS REQUIRED:

  • Ken to revise design brief
  • Bev to follow up with Rupert and Adam to send letter to PFR thanking staff
  • Mike to check out need for barricades at north west corner of park where fence had been removed
  • Communications committee to develop agenda and notification for public meeting
  • Adam, Debbie and Marguerite to review and revise protocol for Grange Park permit process.
  • Mark to provide copy of existing special event package.
  • GCA and Councillor are requested to facilitate a further meeting regarding OCAD project
  • OCAD team to consider life-size mock up of proposal