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Cob maintenance 2022

July 4, 2022 from Jutta to Rec supervisor Anthony DeLaurentis

I'd like to address the cob kitchen problems, most immediately the gaps in the shingles (16 gaps open to rain).

Peter White sent his carpenter to put on brand new high-quality shingles in September 2020. The carpenter did a great job but last year's homeless encampments more or less wrecked it, and the damage is still ongoing.

I am told that Mayssan, the only person left on your PT staff who has been doing repairs on the cob over the years, can't do even small patches now because she does not wish to share her vaccination status with the city. City policy will not let her have any shifts.

kids cobbing, 2005

However, Mayssan is willing to help us on Thursday to tarp the many gaps. As the next step, please connect me to whoever at Parks will be in charge of repairs -- it's time to strategize together about replacing the tempting wooden shingles with red asphalt shingles that won't be usable for fires.

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Aug.3, 2022, email from Ward 9 parks supervisor Jonathan Larkin

At Dufferin Grove Park, as discussed in our on-site meeting on July 28, please see the following list of action items for the Cob Kitchen:

1. Exposed electrical outlet by wooden oven structure - Resolution, install cover over electrical outlet

2. Damaged water heater cover- Resolution, repair water heater cover

3. Remove regular paint that is covering obscene graffiti so that lime wash paint can be applied- Will confirm with Tech Services as to how the regular paint can be removed

4. Bake oven missing a board- Resolution, replace missing board

5. Remove wooden oven structure

6. Replace wood shingles with asphalt shingles

Work orders have been submitted to Tech Services to rectify the above action items.

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Sept.4, 2022, to the Ward 9 Parks supervisor, cc to the Rec supervisor

The carpenters did a great job on the shingling of the cob kitchen last week. And they re-attached the broken door on the counter as well. The paint covering up the graffiti is fine for now, most of the plaster has been repaired by community people, and it looks good. So nice to see!

shingles fixed

serving counter fixed

Asking a favour: in the next few weeks there will be a fair bit of election-issues discussion. Erella has invited one of the mayoral candidates to the park for this Thursday at 6, and it's possible that some people will be having picnics in the area, to stay and talk longer. It would be good to have access to the cob kitchen sinks at that time, including hot water. Would it be possible to remove the plywood sink cover and turn on the hot water in advance?

I've cc'd Anthony on this, in case that's actually a rec responsibility. It will also be important to have a way of turning off the water after the market is done (I think the turnoff is in the WP pit). Two weeks ago the water was apparently not turned off at the shutoff and so somebody must have reached through the window opening and turned on the sink tap, for mischief, and in the morning the area was pretty flooded. That hasn't happened again since then, though.

Oct.3, 2022, to the Ward 9 Parks supervisor

Weak closures on the cob cupboard doors:
The cob serving counter cupboards are a mess again. The lightweight hinges are not meant for public spaces. But as you can see, the storage sheds in the park have much stronger hinges and padlock closures:

doors vandalized again

the right kind of door hardware

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Nov.1,2022, from parks supervisor

A work order has been submitted to Tech Services to have the cupboard latch replaced. The repairs will be completed as soon as our Tech Services Division's queue allows.

Nov.2, 2022, to parks supervisor

Thanks for your note from yesterday.

Update for the tech services queue you referred to:

Graffiti on the cob kitchen: In a previous email you wrote that the graffiti would be removed, and I responded that it would be okay to use paint on the cob wall again. The counters were repainted almost right away -- thank you -- but the wall graffiti was still on yesterday. So that prompted us to try and use the lime plaster after all.


Lime plaster over graffiti worked very well

It worked very well, even over the painted areas, so no need to ask the painters to come out again.

Re the counter storage-cupboard closures: A skilled neighbourhood carpenter came out last Sunday and put the existing hasps on the right way around, so that helped. The hardware is still flimsy and the doors still have a gap that makes it fairly simple to pry them open. However, some of the homeless people currently living at the park have taken the cob kitchen under their protection in the evenings, and so far no further damage has been done.

hasp wrongly installed

correct hasp installation

locked doors too loose

The green storage shed: The tech services reshingling of the Celos shed roof at the wading pool has made it more watertight and so we now have the storage we need to keep on with our community ovens experiments. We didn't think of asking for that -- thanks for having it on your list!

The cob roof wooden shingles: the August reshingling of the cob roof by the carpenters was very helpful. However, the use of wooden shingles was a design flaw, and gaps have once again appeared as shingles are torn off. This coming weekend we will try filling the gaps with asphalt shingles and see how that works.

It would be good if you scheduled one in-person visit to the park before winter comes, to talk about the state of things there. If you let me know when you come, I would like to be there.

Nov.5, 2022

Roof gaps were reshingled today with asphalt shingles donated by Dale Howey.

cutting shingles

patches all done
Nov.11, 2022, email to parks supervisor

Ten days ago a group of us used lime plaster to cover the graffiti that had been on the cob kitchen wall since Oct.23. I wrote you a Nov.2 "update" email, saying that the lime plaster "worked very well, even over the painted areas, so no need to ask the painters to come out again."

"fresh paint" signs all over the cob kitchen

I was startled to see today that the Tech Services painters had painted over our fix, probably yesterday. As you know, their latex paint is not good for the cob wall and should only be used for urgent graffiti cover up. But the graffiti was already gone.

This is not an unusual error. There are so many bottlenecks in communication between city staff, not only at this park but far more broadly. And worse, even though there was no longer any evidence of graffiti on the cob wall, the city painters who came to the park seem to have felt they must not trust their senses, but must still do exactly what their order sheet directed them to do. Why?

Mayor Tory was quoted in the media today, urgently asking the other levels of government to save our city services by giving us more financial aid. But many small instances of redundant work -- like this example -- seem to invite some city house cleaning, since they add up.

I hope we can figure out a workable remedy for jobs done double, when you come for pre-winter site meeting at Dufferin Grove park. Please let me know when that can be.

Nov.19, 2022

city workers put latex paint over finished lime plaster: ouch!

park resident removing latex paint with paint scraper
Jan 4, 2023

one tile needs patching

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