Lions Park Field Update

FIFA head Sepp Blatter has stated that artificial turf may play a large part in the future of soccer. It will certainly play a large part in Weston’s soccer future.

As previously noted in WestonWeb, the soccer field in Lions Park has been under construction since June and is about 40% complete. The two-million-dollar project will see the field covered with Domo Turf, a FIFA approved brand of synthetic turf. The playing surface will be painted with regulation white markings and will be used exclusively for soccer.

Improvements to the site have already been made to provide drainage as the old field was notoriously muddy. Water drained from the pitch will flow directly into the Humber. Players’ benches and goal posts will be added, as well as fencing to separate the softball fields from the soccer field (to stop stray balls). There are no plans as yet to cover the field with a dome in winter.

The turf holds the promise of an extended season for soccer players. There is a similar installation in Cherry Beach that operates right through November although end of season dates are determined by local Parks Staff.

Looking towards Lions' Pool
Lots of heavy equipment
Improved drainage

Council to consider new bike paths in Weston

This week, City Council will be pushed toward two new bike paths in Weston.

The first part of the motion asks council to direct the city to “work with Metrolinx to explore all opportunities for a bike trail network running adjacent to the tracks along the Georgetown Corridor, beyond the boundaries of the West Toronto Railpath, and if possible, connecting to the West-Toronto Railpath and other existing trails.”

The West Toronto Railpath runs along disused tracks from roughly Dupont to Dundas St. Joining it would make it a cinch to commute downtown from Weston on a bike.

The second part of the motion asks the city to explain what steps are being taken to fix the Weston gap in the Humber River trail. The gap in the trail severs a long path that would otherwise almost join the northern reaches of the city to Lake Ontario. There are other small gaps, but the one in Weston is the nastiest; it forces bicyclists to ride along a very busy section of Weston Road near the Superstore.

The motion does not appear to commit the city to actually building the paths; it asks the city to explore and report. It was proposed by Nunziata and seconded by Ainslie.

The gap in the Humber Trail. Purple shows the route the city recommends. Red shows the most direct route. Past Cruickshank, the path runs almost uninterrupted to the lake. Past the 401, it runs nearly to Finch.
The West Toronto Railpath

Pelmo Park to get some extra money

Pelmo Park and community centre will likely be getting some extra money—though just how big the cheque will be, and when it will be written, is a little hard to say.

The money will come from a strange place: West Park Healthcare Centre. The centre, near the intersection of Jane St and Weston Rd, is starting a redevelopment to add “new mixed-use, senior-focused residential developments to the east portion of the site.” The development will happen over the next 20 years, as funding becomes available. West Park’s plans were approved with amendments by Etobicoke York Community Council on Tuesday.

The city makes all residential developers create park space or pay ‘cash-in-lieu’, and though West Park is exempt from some of the requirement because it is a healthcare institution, it will still be made to pay part of the levy. The bylaw states that some of the cash-in-lieu must go towards creating or improving parks in the vicinity of the new development. And although West Park is within a kilometer of five other parks, city staff recommended the far-distant Pelmo Park.

It is beyond the capabilities of your humble correspondent to figure out just how much money will be involved or why staff chose Pelmo Park when other parks are so near; the staff document does not explain. The payment should come sooner rather than later, though; the developers have to pay before the city will issue them a building permit.

Artificial turf field being built in Lions Park

Weston is getting an artificial-turf soccer field in Lions Park. The money is coming from the three levels of government as part of the Recreational Infrastructure stimulus plan.

The project will cost $2 million, split equally between the province, the city, and the feds. It is, by far, the largest stimulus project in Weston. The field is also among the top ten most-expensive recreational projects in the city.

According to Jennifer Cicchelli, executive assistant to Frances Nunziata, “they are converting the soccer field to artificial turf… They will also be improving the lighting on the sports field.”

Cicchelli says that the project will be completed by October.

Stimulus programs in Weston

While people have been saying the recession has been over for more than a year, the economic stimulus programs keep chugging along.

There are very few stimulus projects in Weston, though: only four, in fact. Three of the four are quite small, too—only one is more than $100,000.

By a huge margin, the largest project is in Weston Lions Park. According to Laura Albanese’s speech on Monday, the city, province, and feds are building an inflatable recreation dome. The project will cost about $2 million.

Other projects are tiny by comparison:

  • Improvements in Pelmo Park—$99,000
  • Improvements in Pellatt Park—$99,000
  • Resurfacing of a laneway near Weston and Laurence—$80,000

Oddly, almost all of the money in Weston is being spent on parks. City-wide, there are 9 categories of spending, the biggest of which are transit, water, municipal buildings, and roads. Weston did not get any money to build projects within these categories. Your humble correspondent worries that we missed opportunities.

Yet while we might have forgone some government money, our big project was funded much better than the city average. The average park project within Toronto was given about $400,000. The Lions Park Dome was given quintuple that.

No mutant children at Elm St Park

Four employees of Health Canada’s Radiation Protection Bureau were taking samples from Elm St Park today. They are co-op students sent to study radon and radiation levels around the Toronto area.

Kaela Maclellan, a Carleton University student from Ottawa, explained that they are checking “the amount of radon as well as the surface radiation”. Everything is fine, she said; “9—it’s one of the lowest sites we’ve seen in a while.”

Ellen Leigh, also a Carleton student, said that they would be in the Toronto area for some time, taking samples from around the city. All the data are taken from parks, and at the end of the study, the Bureau “will publish it in a map”.

Happily, while kids are free to pretend they are the Incredible Hulk, no real green mutants will be created in Weston.

Radon Sampling

Swanek Park 1: St John 0

Swanek Park will not be the new home of St John the Evangelist elementary school.

At the very time that Rob Davis, the school’s trustee, was holding a meeting to increase pressure on the city council, Frances Nunziata was announcing in Swanek Park that the issue had been definitively and completely settled. The Etobicoke York Community Council, on which Nunziata sits, has the power to decide these issues, Nunziata told me. That power was given to them five years ago. On Tuesday the council voted unanimously against moving the school to the park.

The school board appears to be under the impression that their matter will be debated at the July 6–7 Toronto City Council meeting (the schedule for which is not yet available). A representative of the school council confirmed that this was their hope, and Davis appeared to be attempting to generate pressure on the City Council at the meeting Thursday night. He said “on Tuesday night, the York Etobicoke Community Council passed a motion that would rule out the use of Swanek Park as a possibility, as an option, and a rally was called for tonight to get people fired up, to support that”. Further, the Swanek Park location was still presented as a “preferred option”, and the handouts still mention it as an possibility with several advantages.

According to Nunziata, Davis is mistaken. Swanek Park is completely ruled out by the unanimously passed motion of the community council.

For what it’s worth, he is also mistaken about the rally being called. The ‘rally’ was a Neighbour’s Night Out, many of which occur all over the city, and in no way resembled a political rally. Further, it had been planned long before last Tuesday. I received notice of it more than two weeks ago, and I’m sure preparations were in place long before that.

Swanek Park 'rally'
Swanek Park 'rally'
Rob Davis speaking at St John
Rob Davis speaking at St John
Swanek Park as option
Swanek Park as option