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posted September 6, 2006


But the project has gotten a bit bogged down in the zealous application of rules by the City, such as this fence.

Photo by Joe Adelaars.

In the past few years there has been a new stage in the life of the park – the stage of testing whether the things that work well at the park should be banned because they might not conform to regulations or bylaws.

The zamboni crisis at the rink in 2004 was the beginning. That winter, multipurpose use of the rink house was briefly declared a health and safety infraction.

Last June, 2005, a playground user expressed great unhappiness about the possible illegality of building the cob courtyard, but by then there were too many people engaged in the project to bring it to a halt.

In July 2005 there was an anonymous complaint about people making their own pizzas at the wood oven, resulting in an order for staff to make all pizzas inside the building and rush them out to the oven. That order was quickly found to be unnecessary and rescinded.

In August 2005 there was an anonymous complaint about the farmers’ vehicles being parked at the market, but after a by-law officer told all the farmers that he would write them each $105 tickets if they returned the following week, an official permit was created. The farmers were able to continue bringing their food as before.

In November 2005 there was a large meeting at St.Mary’s High School to address the absence of a formal advisory council at the park, but the meeting participants were able to convey their confidence in a park with good staff but without a formal community meeting structure. [see results].

In February 2006 a serious standoff developed between City rinks zamboni drivers and on-site staff/rink friends, relating to our local practice of cleaning the ice one rink at a time and letting skaters continue to skate on the other rink. That issue – presented as a health-and-safety issue for the zamboni drivers – will hopefully be solved this year with the long-awaited construction of a little external paved path that allows the zamboni to travel between our two rinks without using the internal gate, therefore not requiring a guard at the gate.

Six foot high fence erected around the toilet project

In July-August 2006, complaints to the highest levels of City management, by three neighbourhood activists, led to repeated stop-work periods for the community-built addition of a composting toilet with a sculptural cob-surround, near the playground area. The worry about possible regulatory infractions made Parks management erect a six-foot-high fence to keep kids away from this project completely. A public meeting turned up no complainants willing to speak to the meeting, but a lot of ideas for how to make the project work. Parks management listened, and added input of their own, and the next day cob master-builder Georgie Donais found out that the hurdles had been crossed and the project could go ahead as planned.

This neighborhood is full of musicians: does anyone feel inspired to write a song for the park, called the “Regulation Blues”? It could have broad appeal beyond the park too, maybe become as big a hit as “Little Boxes” was in its day.

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