Participatory budgeting bringing infrastructure to Rustic

The third and final phase of the City of Toronto’s Participatory Budgeting Pilot Project will kick off in early-September 2017.

In the final phase of the pilot, Rustic has a lot to look forward to. Several light posts, along with water bottle filling stations, will be coming to both Rustic and Maple Leaf Parks. Some of the more “fun” ideas voted in include a movie wall, which was championed by local youth, in Maple Leaf Park, and a ping pong table in Rustic Park.

Rustic, one of York South—Weston’s six Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (N.I.A.s) (formerly known as Priority Neighbourhoods), was chosen as one of the three areas in Toronto for the pilot to take place in. Rustic is located in the northwest end of the riding, bounded by the 401 to the north, Culford Road to the east, Lawrence Avenue West to the south, and Jane Street to the west.

Participatory budgeting is exactly what it sounds like; it lets members of the community decide the allocation of city funds for infrastructure. While this is the City’s first time officially trying participatory budgeting, it has been used by other cities such as Boston and New York. Toronto Community Housing also has a Participatory Budgeting program for tenants.

In Rustic, $150,000 was allocated to the N.I.A. for the project’s first phase, and $250,000 has been allocated for each of the final two phases.

Before participatory budgeting came to Rustic in 2015, most of its parks were dilapidated with worn out playground equipment and a dire need for more lighting.

The City of Toronto’s Participatory Budgeting team at the 2017 Falstaff Summerfest.

Once the final phase of the project is complete, a report will go to City Council on whether the City should continue with the project or not.

Weston should keep an eye on participatory budgeting. Like Rustic, Weston is home to several different demographic groups, and is always looking for new infrastructure. Participatory Budgeting can promote social cohesion and community relationships, but it can also expose decades-old community divisions. When involving ourselves in civic engagement, we should look to what makes the community—and city—more liveable for everyone as opposed to what might make it a little bit better in the short-term for ourselves and a few of our neighbours. This is the lesson that participatory budgeting teaches.

If you want to see the full list of ideas or if you live in Rustic, you can submit ideas here.

Weston King Neighbourhood Centre needs tableware and volunteers.

Among other services, Weston King Neighbourhood Centre serves and helps people in the community who are coping with economic or social barriers. In this regard, WKNC provides housing support, harm reduction, hygiene wellness and counselling. Part of the WKNC vision is to have everyone (clients and community members) serve as a volunteer. Currently, they are looking for people to serve in the following roles:

  • Customer Service
  • Promotion and Marketing
  • Janitorial / Maintenance
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Cooks

WKNC provides clients with breakfast and lunch every day except Sundays and is looking for donations of plates, cups and cutlery.

Phone WKNC at (416) 572-0203 for more details.

Where in Weston #4 Answer.

This one was very tough and stumped our readers. The additional clue was, “Please don’t sue on the grounds that it’s too hard a puzzle.”

We seem to have calibrated the series.

Where in Weston #4.

The photo is of part of a wooden boardwalk at Suon College on Queenslea Avenue.

Suon College on Queenslea Avenue.

Cruickshank Park trail open

TRCA Project Coordinator, Courtney Rennie was true to his word (see yesterday’s post). As of Tuesday August 15, the south end of the Cruickshank Park trail is open and workers are beginning to remove the fencing.

Grading and re-seeding of one of the staging areas has been completed. Now about that path…
The completed erosion control work should protect the Scarlett Road property for decades to come.

No doubt work will eventually begin on replacing the path which has taken a beating all the way down to Raymore Park thanks to various construction projects, the last of which (sewer re-lining) should be winding down soon.

Where in Weston #4?

Here’s the latest in the ‘Where in Weston’ series.  Can you identify this location?

Where in Weston #4.

If you think you know where this is, write your guess in the comments section. The answer will be published tomorrow.

A slightly wider view of #4

Update: Hint – Please don’t sue on the grounds that it’s too hard a puzzle.

Cruickshank Park erosion work winding down.

Cruickshank Park has undergone two recent periods of construction. The first, in 2013 was to extend the Pan Am Path from the north end of the park to Mallaby Park at Weston Road and St Phillips.

The Pan Am Trail extension under construction in October 2013. (File)

The most recent was to do extensive erosion control work on the Etobicoke side. The Humber River was beginning to chew at a Scarlett Road co-op apartment’s playground and would have eventually threatened the whole site. Access for the work was through the Lawrence parking lot and this meant that for all but the most determined, the Pan Am Path northwards to Mallaby was closed.

Looking North from the staging area during construction.

A staging area and bridge to the affected bank on the far side were constructed to expedite access.

The temporary bridge allowed access to the slope rehabilitation work (visible on the far bank).

Toronto and Region Conservation Area Project manager, Courtney Rennie tells me that, “I anticipate opening the trail as early as next week, including removal of the temporary fast fencing around the project limits. There may be intermittent closures of the trail for terraseeding and restoration plantings, however that will only be for a few hours at a time while staff are on site.”

Great news!