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City of Toronto CRG meeting October 17, 2018

The city's summary of the meeting is here

CELOS Commentary on draft city notes

The city notes are called a summary rather than minutes, but they are very detailed and include much of what was said, some of it (from the CRG members) verbatim.

- Megan Torzi of DTAH said that construction is not set to start until 2020 “to get it right.” She said:

The project team hopes that by the CRG and public meetings in phase two, strong preferences on how to move forward are shared by community members. Through this process, a preferred approach should emerge. The project team is relying on a consensus building process with the community to guide them forward, one that the majority of the people in the community agree with, and one where the rationale for moving forward is sound.

The City noted that they value programs created by community members and wants to see them continue. They noted that the City tracks trends in community programming needs, noting that this may be an opportunity to explore new programming to meet the needs of the community.

The project budget comes under two categories:

-- from SOGR or “state of good repair” funds (the working parts of the rink)
--"reserve funds for the building, which are secured as part of the City’s 10-year capital budget plan."

The City explained that the budget is approximately 4 to 4.5 million dollars, which needs to be spent on capital improvements.

CELOS note: The 2014 SOGR report estimated $2,600,602 to replace the rink. The 2018 Capital Budget says there’s "Dufferin Grove New Community Centre cash flow funding of $3.140 million."
The rest of the park is not in the project scope, e.g.:

Q. Can improvements to the field house washrooms be considered during this project?
A. The City noted that the request would require a discussion with parks staff, to see if the washrooms can be improved to be used for the public while the clubhouse is under construction. This would be a separate process.

Comments from CRG members:

- Think about and plan for the park as a whole instead of as separate disjointed pieces.
- Ensure long term durability of whatever is built, so that there is less need for construction and renovation in the future.
- Ensure the space is multi-purpose, through the day and the year.
- Improve circulation within the building and between the building and the park, to be more conducive to programming.
- Improve connectivity between the clubhouse, north-west corner, and the rest of the park.
- While designing this park, think about how it sits in the wider context of the city.
- we care about the community that has been created within this building. The programming and the staff, not the building, are what make this park vibrant and special. In the past few years, there have been fewer park staff, and less familiar faces of park staff.

CELOS note: There are not fewer staff, there are more. The cost of staffing park programs has doubled in the six years since the city said no to local governance: from $291,000 in 2011 to $588,000 in 2017.

The Design Team noted that there may also be an opportunity (as an alternative to keeping the refrigeration equipment in the Clubhouse) to move the refrigeration unit into the same structure as the Zamboni machine, which would free up space in the clubhouse.

CELOS note: There may not be a need for more kitchen space, since the trend is that fewer people are buying park food. Over the past 6 years, the income from food programs dropped from over $220,000 (2010) to less than half $107,500 (2017). In the past two years, more money was spent just to buy supplies for the park staff to cook than they made selling the cooked food at the market and the park snack bars. A lot of food is thrown out.
Because of the lower income from fewer food sales, staff cooking wages now have to be covered entirely through taxes. The neighbors who come to eat at the park, many of them well-off, have their food subsidized through public funds. This can't go on for much longer.

The make-up of the Community Resource Group:

The project team invited the CRG members to help identify user groups who are not included in the GRG, who can then be brought in through an application process.

The CRG members will:

  • represent the concerns and feedback of larger user groups, instead of promoting individual opinions
  • not be making decisions about the project
  • Members of the public are welcome to attend and observe CRG meetings but will not be permitted to provide feedback.

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