Community Benefit?

So, how do you feel about the fact that the City Parks and Planning departments and Councillor Sandra Bussin decided to turn the popular East Lynn Park wading pool into a spray pad without so much as a phone call to either DECA or the Friends of East Lynn Park?  They decided to use the Section 37 ‘community benefit’ money that will result from the rezoning of the ‘big hole’ building to turn the wading pool, which is guarded and maintained, into a splash pad, which is not.

This decision was made by the councillor and City even after DECA made it very clear that as an engaged community, we wanted to be involved in the conversation about how this money would be spent.  When we asked Sandra Bussin to be involved in this conversation when DECA held a community meeting about this development, she agreed, although not enthusiastically.  The information was in a document, apparently written in June, that was not available to us until this week.

Section 37 community benefit funding from this development is also going toward Stephenson Park near Westlake and Moncur park at Coxwell and Dundas.

0 comments to “Community Benefit?”
  1. Frankly, I’m still not really clear on what a spray pad or a splash pad is versus a wading pool. However, whatever the difference is, I do not like the way this was done at all. It seems to be a continuation of the sort of approach taken by the city with respect to the expropriation of homes to allow for subway exits.
    I used to live in the west end and the city councillor in that area was a regular attendee at our residents’ association meetings.
    So, what do we do?

  2. Neither did I know the difference, but looked it up:

    Apparently there is a pretty cool one downtown at Dundas Square. I’m sure a splash pad is fun, but doesn’t have the same play quality as the wading pool. Why couldn’t they have both? It is concerning that Sandra Bussin has avoided community discussion about this, particularly the users of the park and wading pool.

  3. Although I can’t stand Sandra Bussin and sincerely hope she does not get re-elected, I think it makes sense to convert the wading pool into something that doesn’t require monitoring. Children of that age should not be there without their parents anyway. The only reason it’s monitored now is there’s a risk of drowning but if it’s converted to a splash pad, the drowning risk is gone. The city is financially crippled right now so we really don’t need to be paying two union workers to sit there and read books all day.

    I do think, however, that if Sandra agreed to engage the community then she should have fulfilled that commitment but I’m really not surprised that she went back on her word. She’s completely self serving and doesn’t give a lick about the community. She needs to go but unfortunately she’ll probably get in again as most people don’t care about local politics and vote on name recognition. It’s very sad and frustrating for those of us who actually care.

    Also, regarding the comment “she agreed, although not enthusiastically” – I’ve never even seen this woman smile, let alone show enthusiasm towards something!

  4. I love taking my daughter to the wading pool. We would be sad to see it go. Is it possible that we can have a wading pool AND a splash pad?

  5. are there really two lifeguards who sit around the wading pool? if so – that is ridiculous! wading pools never used to have lifeguards did they?? that is a waste of money and I guess would lead the bankrupt city to having a splash pad but having said that — let’s get Sandra Bussin out of there — I am sick of her and her bunny costumes! City council is changing dramatically this election — she is part of the old guard who needs to go out.

  6. Why is Bussin doing this without consultation? I don’t understand. The pool is beloved by parents in our community and I’ve never heard so much as a whisper of interest in a splash pad.

    Isn’t Section 37 money supposed to be used to enhance the community, not downgrade services?

    How do we get this decision reversed?

  7. My kids, and many other kids, hate the spray pads. They would stop going to the park.
    It seems like it is an idea to save money on paying the summer students – so what about using the $100000 to pay the summer students? I imagine you could hire 2 summer students for 10 years with 100 grand.
    Perhaps Sandra would reconsider, and instead, turn the giant D.D. Summerville pool at Woodbine Beach into a splash pad – but then, that would mean Tuggs Inc and George Foulidis would lose a concession stand.

  8. This CANNOT be a done deal.
    It is appalling our community was not consulted.
    There is a meeting at city hall August 17th – Natasha posted the information in a previous DECA Diary.
    You can register to speak at the meeting.
    Let’s rally the troops and let our voices be heard!
    If you cannot make the meeting, call or e-mail your concerns to Rosalind Dyers 392-7033 and cc: Tine Major and our councillor.
    This whole process is completely unacceptable.

  9. That’s absolutely outrageous! How dare she steamroller our community and sidestep an organization that has done more for our neighbourhood in a couple of years than she has done in….how many years has she been in office…ten? I can’t remember the last time I saw Sandra Bussin in our neighbourhood. Has she ever even been to the Market? I am going to call her office today. But I guess it’s a done deal?? I’m certainly going to let her know that my vote is going elsewhere this fall.

  10. It is disappointing that she didn’t involve the community in her decision especially after the community expressed their desire to have their voices heard.

    I would like to hear more about what is going on at Coxwell and Dundas. I would have expected that if money was going to be spent as a result of community benefit spending because of something at Woodbine and Danforth, that there would be other parks closer that could have benefited. I’d like to understand the reasoning for the spending further away. I’m not saying the spending there is bad, just not sure yet why it’s not closer.

  11. To me, the issue is not that a splash pad has been designated for East Lynn Park. Both a splash pad and a wading pool are enjoyable for children. It involves water, after all. However, why replace something that already exists? Couldn’t the cash be used toward something else that is needed and would be of benefit to the community?

    I think what needs to be done is that a message be sent to Councillor Bussin (and all other incumbents for that matter) by not casting a vote for her in the upcoming election. Select someone from the community who actually cares about what happens here and wants to make our neighbourhood even better.

  12. Sandra Bussin just continues to disappoint as an elected representative of our community. Not only has she not involved community members about this decision, she is the highest spending councillor at City Hall, she behaved appallingly on John Tory’s radio show, and showed a severe lack of ethics in handling the Boardwalk Cafe contract renewal (soul sourced, unsolicited and awarded to a family that provided 18% of her 2006 campaign donations).
    I think it’s time for residents of this fine neighborhood to circle the wagons and vote her out.

  13. Like others I have no idea of the difference between what is there and what will be there but also like others I am disappointed by the process. Glad the community is getting money from the much needed condo development but why on earth would she not connect with the community?

  14. I don’t understand why the $300,000 in community benefits needs to be spread out so widely about the region. That amount of money does not go very far when the City is upgrading anything. I can’t see how a building at Danforth & Woodbine affects residents at Coxwell & Dundas. Those residents will neither be inconvenienced by the construction process nor be visually impacted by the completed structure and ensuing traffic etc. Fairness dictates that they will receive their benefits when construction projects are built in their neighborhoods. I feel that all of the funds should go to East Lynn for upgrades since the park is only a hundred yards from the sight and is badly in need of a facelift. It obviously serves Sarah Bussin’s political interests better if the benefit is spread about a larger area but shouldn’t the interests of the Danforth East residents supersede hers’.

  15. I just got a call back from David McNulty, Sandra Bussin’s assistant (1:15PM) . He said that, after consultation with Alison McMurray, the decision was reversed. It will be up to the community (I guess, to DECA though I didn’t specifically ask this), to decide how to use the funds to improve the park.

  16. Frankly, the water spray pad is probably a more environmentally sound project, and they may even put a rubberized floor down too, making it a safer space, and one that doesn’t need to be re-painted by (awesome) neighbourhood dads.
    I have always felt the wading pool is less than safe, (especially on public property).
    Personally, I have stopped 2 children from drowning, (NOT the ones under our watchful eyes) whilst the parent (in one case) and the child’s daycare provider in the other case were present.
    So were the “lifeguards” present.
    The splash pad is thoroughly enjoyed by all the children, and provides cool relief from the hot summer but I can’t believe the spray pad won’t be safer, and use less water.
    I love the one up on Gledhill, although that one is nice and shady and fenced in properly.
    I tire of the over-the-top safety attitudes in our society, but water is a big one for safety concerns for me.
    I also found the wading pool/splash pad a bit too busy, and over run by older kids, which makes it really hard for the tiny ones (2-3yrs) to feel comfortable.

    I can’t wait to bring my daycare kiddies to the spray pad!

    I really do agree that Sandra Bussin and her teams should have been much more politically correct and less of a steamroller, and had involved DECA! Naughty indeed.
    I’ll vote accordingly.

    PS. To further my thought about the spray pad being a better water-conservervation idea, I really do believe their should be a resident sheep in each city park, with a movable fenced area. He could release the expensive cost of the lawn mower and staff, our grass would be lovely all the time, well fertilised, and we could have a neighbourhood lamb roast at the end of the year!! Think about it everyone!! The future is here….


  17. That is tremendous news, Patricia. I gather that even Ms. Bussin could see that she was swimming against the tide on this one. As for me, I think I will be joining DECA today.

  18. oooh, and further to my comment above, I feel we should be a bit more realistic and gracious about decisions made on our behalf, that involve public safety and upgrades.
    If we all sat in community centres arguing how to spend every dollar, the dollars would be eaten up and then we would end up with sheep in our parks! (See above comment).
    As my collegue stated, “at least they are spending to improve, not to tear it down completely, as they might have wanted.”
    With this year’s drownings in the province, it may be prudent to accept this compromise rather than fight it, especially for the sake of fighting it.
    The kids will have a cool wet spot to play, and they won’t drown, the city will save money, and less precious water will be used!

    Please also don’t forget the hygeine factor. They refill that water 2-3 times per day.
    We swim with chemicals in the water, some urine until they drain and refill, and retreat it again.
    Spray Pad is sounding better and better to me every minute!

    Perhaps if the city staff had given us a vote on this decision, change may never happen, sometimes for the better?!?

    Let’s put our pent up anger towards something more heinous…like HST.

  19. “…the decision was reversed. It will be up to the community (I guess, to DECA though I didn’t specifically ask this), to decide how to use the funds to improve the park.”

    Well I think the park is in pretty good shape. I believe there’s already money allocated to repaint the wading pool in the spring, but the shed could use a coat of paint too. I’ll volunteer to paint it if we get money for paint. Other than that, a paved trail to the playground would be good, or perhaps DECA could keep some of the money in a slush fund to hire clean-up crews to remove graffiti in the park on a yearly basis.

    Anyone have other ideas?

  20. This is good news if the decision has indeed been reversed, but it does not diminish the fact Coun. Bussin’s approach on this matter was entirely wrong.
    This issue isn’t about whether a splash pad is better than a wading pool. It’s about ignoring a request by an active community to be involved in a process that will affect us.
    Furthermore, it’s about why money is being spread around Bussin’s ward, instead of staying in the area that will be directly impacted.

  21. Indeed way too bad that this decision was made without consulting DECA when DECA has been absolutely respectful and supportive of varying views about the building that is going in – even hosting a public meeting to air views.
    Agree, money should be spent in the immediate area, and I suggest it be spent on installing a few more large trees, planted into the earth – not concrete boxes – along Danforth near the new development.
    The developers are required to plant new trees in front of the building, and must plant them to new City standards which require continuous trenching and also irrigating in order to get them established.
    It would be great if the money could go to a few more of those types of plantings on the Danforth.
    The stunted little trees we have in most of those concrete boxes are a disgrace.
    Perhaps a start could be getting rid of a few dead/stunted boxed ones between Woodbine and Woodmount and replacing them with some planted into the earth.

  22. Thank you to everyone who signed our letter of support yesterday for the wading pool to stay in East Lynn Park. Andrea and I were involved with the revitalization of the park and I still have the plans in my kitchen! We are re-forming ELF – East Lynn Park Foundation, to best decide how to spend this money as a community. It may be years before we see the money and although $100K has been earmarked, we will see what we get.

    If you did not sign the letter and would like to be involved, please email me at alisonmcmurray at rogers dot com.

    Alison McMurray

  23. As a parent of children who don’t like the spray of splash pads I would hate to see the wading pool go – my kids woould never use it. We pass a number of them just to get to East Lynn Park.

    While I have never seen a child nearly drown in one, I have watched my kids and others learn to swim in them (something they cannot do in at a splash pad).

    As for a splash pad being greener, it isn’t. The wading pool exists already and does not require mechanical repair. To remove it is wasteful. the resilient floors of splashpads, which have used extensively in European playgrounds, are usually made with re-used tires, this may sound like great recycling however tires off-gas nasty chemicals and so does the resulting floor material. Even if they are made with new materials they are full of harsh materials that release into the air. There is much discussion in Europe that they should cease using these products because of the potential/proven negative heath effects on children.

    As for the water used. In both cases the water is filtered and treated, if not held for more than 45 minutes the water used in a spash pad goes right down the drain (wasting water) or kept, filtered and treated in the exact same manner as a wading pool. So, if you forgive the pun, it is a wash.

    I’m happy to hear that the communities voice will now be heard. Friends of East Lynn have done a wonderful job over the years so far and I’m glad their voice will be heard and respected in the planning of new facilities for the park.

  24. I’d like to hear the benefits of one water feature over the other including the city’s perspective, especially long-term operating costs, before making up my mind.

    That said, the money is well-spent if it goes toward enhancing the existing facility to attract more families to the neighbourhood.

  25. I’m happy that the community’s quick response to Sandra Bussin’s decision resulted in it being reversed, however, we have to continue to work to ensure that OUR neighbourhood benefits from ALL funds allocated under section 37.
    Those who live at Coxwell and Dundas probably don’t even know that a building will be errected at Danforth and Woodbine, they’ll only see improvements to their park and a picture of Sandra Bussin beside it in the Beach Metro news–how convenient that it’s an election year!

    Please, take 5 minutes and write a quick letter to Sandra Bussin and city hall. 5 minutes will make a lasting impression in our community.

  26. I’m glad to see people are mobilizing to do something about this and with Mary-Margaret now on Council it should make it a lot easier to ensure no such change takes place without community approval. I’ll be following this issue, along with other ramifications from the approved condo project at 2055 Danforth in upcoming issues of the CentreTown News.

    Gary 17 (Webb-Proctor_
    Editor & Publisher, Danforth CentreTown News

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