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Park washrooms correspondence, 2020

August 4, 2020, from City Councillor Bailao:

Dear Dufferin Grove Friends,

I have been working with City staff over the past few weeks to address concerns with Dufferin Grove Park. I am pleased to update you and let you know that I have secured additional resources for the Park in order to address the concerns we've had with several issues.

The washrooms will be opened at 8:00 am and closed at 9:00 pm

They will be cleaned daily

City staff were able to clear out some accumulated garbage and debris that was in the Park

With the City now moving to Stage 3 in the provincial re-opening process City staff will be litter picking the playground area daily and they have been notified regarding the needle that was found in the Park so that this will get special attention'

The sand in the playground will be raked through this week and when possible topped up

City staff are also able to activate the water tap the immediate area currently has some depressions and staff will complete grading this week should be complete by Friday

August 5, 2020 (listserv, from Jutta):

I'm guessing that the minimal park maintenance on the councillor's list has to do with city council's recent vote to save $152 million by the end of this year through "workforce restraints" -- which includes "seasonal and part time staff layoffs...and mandating vacation use." If this kind of budgeting is just the tip of the iceberg, the community may have to return to what we used to do in the 1990s -- working alongside the few remaining staff, and:

-- taking turns opening and closing the washrooms, and cleaning and stocking them, both in the field house and the rink house;

-- taking back charge of the sandpit maintenance, the cob cafe, playground maintenance and the ovens;

-- repairing broken picnic tables, setting up small arts events, monitoring the campfires, watering the trees during droughts,

-- collaborating in running the rink (if it ends up not being closed for a redesign) -- especially because indoor arenas may not be allowed to open at all this winter.

The alternative is a park that has locked or broken or unsanitary facilities unavailable for use. Alongside the covid challenges, that would be a double whammy.

August 5, 2020, listserv

From Lori Cullen: The bathrooms at the park were just locked at 4pm. The kids are still at the wadding pool. Im so confused.

From Jutta Mason: Update: Despite the Parks staff assurance to the councillor that the park's field house washrooms would be open until 9 pm every day, the washrooms were locked when I was there at 8.15 -- and I see that Lori saw them being locked at 4.

At 8.15 the park had a wonderfully diverse scene including the senior Cuban domino players, two different groups of well-spaced Brazilian Capoeira dancers, lots of young basketball players, blanket picnics, some people with guitars, the ex-encampment people sitting in a circle without tents.....

But no washroom access.

Why? (:/letter:)

August 6, 20202, from City Councillor Bailao:

I contacted City Parks, Forestry and Recreation senior staff early this morning and they have reported back that the closure was done in error. Several of the staff who were at the park yesterday were unfamiliar with the correct closure time and inadvertently closed the washrooms at 4:00 pm. I have been assured by senior P, F & R staff that this will not occur again and they will be open from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm as usual for the park.

Aug.10 2020, from City Councillor Bailao:

As an update on this matter, Councillor Bailao has requested porta-potties from Toronto PF&R staff who have indicated they are ordering them this week and will be in place by early next week. We hope this proves helpful for the community.

To Lennox Morgan, August 10,2020:

About a week ago, our city councillor relayed a commitment from Parks that "the washrooms will be opened at 8:00 am and closed at 9:00 pm." This morning at 8.30 I saw a woman making her way slowly with a cane to the washroom, and finding it locked. Your staff person arrived at 8.40 and unlocked the door, saying that he had been busy doing something at MacGregor.

There are currently 6 tents up in different parts of the park, and some of the people sheltering in them have mobility troubles.

Would it be possible for your staff to be directed that 8 am to 9 pm is a firm commitment for the washrooms?

I will do my bit by keeping Parks and the councillor informed about the progress in keeping this promise.


To Peter White, Toronto/East York Parks manager, August 12, 2020:

Since Monday the Parks staff have kept their promise about the Dufferin Grove Park washroom hours, 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. -- until this evening. There was a change of staff tonight and at 8.30 this evening these two staff were at the washroom building. I asked one of them if they would keep the washroom open until 9 as promised in Councillor Bailao's email -- and I pointed to the many park users nearby. He said, okay. I went off to look at something and when I came back five minutes later, the washrooms were locked.

So I began counting the people in the park but when I got to 150 I gave up counting. There were lots more.

Do your staff make up their own schedules or do they follow their supervisors' direction?

August 14, 2020

Two chemical toilets (one was for disabled users) were placed near he playground.

August 15, 2020

the new chemical toilets

extra large, a bit messy

August 16, a bit more messy

April 17: no child will use this
August 18, 2020

Chemical toilets look very clean, have been pumped out. Field house washrooms opened before 8, closed after 9. Rink house washrooms still locked.

August 19, 2020

Both chemical toilets again look very clean. Field house washrooms opened before 8, closed after 9. Rink house washrooms still locked.

August 20, 2020

Chemical toilets look a bit messy again. Field house washrooms opened before 8, closed after 9. Rink house washrooms still locked.

August 21,2020

Chemical toilets look a bit messy, contents level is higher. Tent people say that the hand sanitizer only works in one of the portables. One wonders why handwashing is not on the city's list. Field house washrooms opened before 8, closed after 9. Rink house washrooms still locked.

August 22, 2020

Chemical toilets are tidy but a bit smelly. Field house washrooms opened before 8, closed after 9. Rink house washrooms still locked.

August 23, 2020

Chemical toilets are a bit messy and a bit smelly. Field house washrooms opened before 8, closed after 9. Rink house washrooms still locked.

August 24, 2020

Chemical toilets are starting to look nasty.

accessible toilet

round plastic object inside
August 25, 2020

The chemical toilets look worse than yesterday. There is a bottle of sanitizer on a shelf beside one toilet, but is appears to have some feces on it.

11.04 a.m., email to Lennox Morgan, Ward 9 parks supervisor:

Good morning, Lennox, as promised, here's an update on park maintenance (details including some pics posted here, scroll down past the sand pit reports). The field house toilets have been opened and closed at the times promised, and are often in good shape. The chemical toilets are often nasty and probably need a better cleaning contract with the toilet company. Today there's even some feces on a bottle of sanitizer beside the smaller toilet. The contents of the chemical solution are such that I doubt kids would use these portables. Also there's no handwashing station, and since the cob sinks are still turned off (?), the only place for handwashing near there is at the sandpit tap -- not a good idea.

I'll continue to log this. The park is still busy in the evenings, even though it's getting dark earlier, and since there are still some tent people waiting for housing, the toilets must get more use.

11.23 a.m.: visit from the toilet company

At 11.23 a truck showed up to pump out the toilets -- a friend sent the picture. Probably just a happy coincidence. The toilet seats looked like they were wiped down, but the floor was still sticky-looking with bits of litter.

In the afternoon when I checked the toilets for myself, an older man came hurrying up and asked what I was doing. It turned out that he was worried that the toilets would be removed. He said they were wonderful for him to use, because he has been relieving himself in the bushes (when the field house washrooms were being closed at 5 pm) and people had yelled at him. "But I can't help it!" he said. I assured him that the chemical toilets would stay and he went away apparently satisfied.

Sept.9, 2020

The washrooms get cleaned every day and are in pretty good condition, They have still been allowed to stay open until 9.p.m.

The chemical toilets get suctioned every 6-7 days. The floor doesn't appear to be cleaned ever, but otherwise the toilets are semi-okay for about three days and then for the other 3-4 they are pretty awful. Sometimes there's toilet paper lying around outside, and the nasty smell spreads as far as the nearby walking path.

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