Grange Park Advisory Committee

Meeting of January 21, 2009

Held at the University Settlement House

Members in attendance:

John Burns, St. George the Martyr Church

Rupert Duchesne, Co-Chair, AGO

Councillor Adam Vaughan, Co-chair

Bev Carret, AGO

Mark Emslie, City of Toronto Parks Dept.

Ken Greenberg, resource person, AGO

Mazyar Mortazavi, member-at-large

Mike Mahoney, AGO

Debbie McGuinness, resident

Pat McKendry, resident

Dr. James Moy, OCAD

Marguerite Newell, resident

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, resident

Observers and guests:

Bev Ambler, PMA Landscape Architects

Jim Melvin, PMA Landscape Architects

Bill Smyke, resident

Jennifer Tharp, City of Toronto Parks Dept.

Regrets

Debra Shime, University Settlement

Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO

Margie Zeidler, member-at-large

Summary of Discussion:

  1. 1. Approval of the minutes of December 8

Minutes were approved with the following addition under “PMA Study Progress Report”: A survey was undertaken of 169 trees in Grange Park and surrounding area (St. George the Martyr Church).

  1. 2. Business Arising from the minutes

  • Feedback from Community meeting on December 8

Rupert asked GPAC members for feedback about the GPAC presentation at the community meeting.  The overall impression was that feedback was generally positive.  The meeting agreed that it will be important to set up a regular communication system, including a community meeting once every six months and a website.   GPAC will also make use of other neighbourhood communication vehicles, such as the Grange Community Association newsletter, University Settlement newsletter, the Ward 20 newsletter, notice boards at the library and various buildings.   An information board could also be re-established in Grange Park.  The proposed time frame for the next neighbourhood meeting would be in May.

  1. 3. Grange Park Environmental Study – presentation of final report by PMA Landscape Architects

Jim Melvin and Bev Ambler from PMA provided a brief recap of the final report.  The study involved an assessment of all trees in Grange Park, plus the trees on St. George the Martyr Church property; soil study; density study; sun study.  Overall, the park is in good shape.  90% of the 169 trees are healthy.   The soil is good quality loam, but is easily compacted by the active daily use of the park.  The sun study indicated there is not sufficient sunlight getting into the park, due primarily to the prominence of heavy shade trees.

PMA identified the following immediate remedial initiatives:

  • Removal of 16 trees that are dead, dying or diseased beyond saving.  Three of these trees are on the City’s street allowance by the church.
  • Targeted deep soil de-compaction, fertilization and mulching of six trees impacted by the AGO construction
  • Removal of all deadwood in trees identified in the arborist’s report.
  • Assessment of rot in chestnut trees identified in the arborist’s report.
  • Thinning the canopy of heavy shade trees by 25% through pruning.
  • Decompaction of soil where possible to a depth of 50cm to provide benefits to trees

GPAC agreed to endorse the immediate remedial initiatives identified by PMA. The total cost of this work was roughly estimated at $135-170,000.  Jim noted that some of the pruning activity could be phased over five years.    Bev will check the possibility of further funding from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation to help underwrite some of this work.  Adam will also check the status of Section 37 funding for these initiatives.

The PMA study also identified three general environmental zones in the park:  a more heavily shaded area at the west end that is conducive to quieter activities; an open area in the middle of the park for games, Frisbee/catch playing, etc.; and the east zone with moderate shade, which is well suited for children’s play.   Ken noted that these three zones show the capability of the park to support a wide range of activities.  This information and other detailed studies in the report will help inform the design phase.   The report also recommends a series of ongoing maintenance activities that should be regularly undertaken to keep the park in good condition after the design phase.

  1. 4. Next Steps

  • Design Brief

Ken will incorporate the key findings of the PMA study into the design brief, for GPAC review.

  • Donor Update

Rupert advised that the AGO is continuing discussions with potential donors. Some notable interest, but nothing concrete to report yet.  It is understood that any signage would be very limited.

  • Children’s Consultation

Adam shared that the neighbourhood group overseeing the Sibelius Square revitalization undertook a very successful children’s consultation session, led by Judy Markle.  He suggested that a similar consultation be taken with local children for Grange Park.  Adam will approach Judy to gauge her interest in working with GPAC on a children’s consultation. Support was expressed for this approach.

  1. 5. Other Business:

  • Luminato 2009

Bev tabled the interest of the AGO to organize a projection installation in Grange Park by artist Tony Oursler during Luminato.  GPAC reiterated concerns that these installations should not impact on regular park users, nor should they put undue stress on the park’s natural environment.  The AGO will reinforce this to the artist as he prepares his proposal.  Bev will share the proposal with GPAC as soon as it is received.

  • Canadian Society of Landscape Architects conference – August 2009

Jim Melvin is involved with the Toronto Conference of Landscape Architects and put forward the proposal to screen two films to conference members in Grange Park the night of August 15.  The public would be welcome to take part.  He anticipates approximately 300 people would attend these screenings.  GPAC voiced some concerns over the suitability of Grange Park for this type of activity.  They suggested Jim look into showing the films on the grounds of the Italian Consulate, which hosted a similar activity during Nuit Blanche.  Jim will provide more information about the two films to GPAC.

  1. 6. Next meeting

The next GPAC meeting will be on Monday, March 2, 6:00 pm at OCAD, Room 284