Wednesday, October 1, 2014

FOSS QUESTIONS FOR WARD 6 COUNCILLOR CANDIDATES


The Friends of Sam Smith Park steering committee has compiled a short list of question for Ward 6 Councillor candidates concerning some of the issues that are important to us.  The list will be sent to each candidate and their responses will be published here about a week before the election.  We will also send them out by e-mail to those on our contact list.  If a candidate knocks at your door, you might also consider asking questions related to our park.


  • What concrete steps would you take to ensure the preservation and protection of the naturalized areas of Sam Smith Park?
  • Do you believe it is appropriate to allow a single group such as the Aussie Rules Football Club to have exclusive use of a portion of a tax-payer funded park? What are your views regarding further expansion of this club’s “footprint” in the park?
  • Would you support a comprehensive system of greenways and trails connecting parks, particularly those along the waterfront, as outlined in the city’s Official Plan? How would you accomplish this?
  •  What do you envision as the future for public accessibility to the Power House at Sam Smith Park?
  • How will you vote regarding any future attempt to expand commercial air service at Billy Bishop Airport? Will your decision take into consideration the preservation of Sam Smith Park as an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA)?
  • How would you deal with the “dogs off leash” problem in Sam Smith Park?

SUMMARY: MINUTES OF THE FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE - SEPTEMBER 2014



Summary: Minutes of the FOSS Steering Committee Meeting

September 22, 2014

7:00 PM LAMP, ROOM 302, 185 5th Street, Etobicoke


  • The FOSS Steering Committee discussed a variety of questions deemed pertinent for the candidates in the upcoming October 27 municipal election. Six questions concerning the welfare of CSS Park were chosen. See blog for details. Ward 6 Town Hall Meeting: October 7, 2014, Polish Alliance Hall, 2282 Lakeshore Blvd. W., 7:00-9:00PM.
  • CSS Park has been added to the list of Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs) as part of the city’s Official Plan. See the following link for more information:(http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2014/pg/bgrd/backgroundfile-71931.pdf
  • The FOSS Steering Committee plans to research the possibility of declaring CSS Park an Important Birding Area (IBA): See www.ibacanada.ca for additional information.
  • CSS Park has a great need for additional new benches and for repair of the remaining few. FOSS plans to seek permission to repair two benches located at the south end of the marina. See blog for more details re: the sponsorship of a commemorative bench (or tree).
  •  FOSS plans to pursue the goal of establishing a Monarch butterfly/pollinator garden (milkweed and wildflowers) near the site of the viewing platform.
  •  FOSS will petition the city to repair and maintain the picnic shelter in the park and to remove the racist graffiti that is exhibited there.
  •  FOSS is concerned that grass cutters in CSS Park do not always respect the TRCA’s suggested 1-2 foot buffer zone around the park’s shrubs.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

TAX DEDUCTIBLE COMMEMORATIVE BENCH PROGRAMME

Sam Smith Park has been losing a number of benches over the past few years due to wear and tear and sometimes vandalism.  The Parks Department's budget is tight and the replacement of those benches and the addition of, hopefully, more will take time.

Maybe this is something that you or someone you know might consider ........ 

The City's Commemorative Tree and Bench Program invites the public to pay tribute to a person, group or occasion by purchasing a park bench or tree for installation in a public park.  Fees are considered to be donations and are tax deductible.

Click here for a link to the programme.

Requests
Any person wishing to donate a tree or bench in a City park must complete a CT&B Program Request form from Parks, Forestry, & Recreation. For spring planting the application deadline is April 1. For fall planting the application deadline is September 1.
 
Fees
The CT&B Program covers its costs with an application fee of $738.00 for a commemorative tree and an application fee of $2,530.00 for a commemorative bench. The existing bench application fee of $1,753.00 will be charged when a commemorative plaque is added to an existing bench.

Plaques
Plaques will be provided for both commemorative trees and benches at no additional cost and will be provided after installation is completed.

Tree Species
Commemorative trees will be hardwoods (50-millimeter caliper) and conifers (250-centimeter height) with few exceptions.

Replacements
Commemorative Trees will be replaced by the City, at no charge to the applicant, within five years of the original planting date or a subsequent replanting date if required. Commemorative benches and associated plaques will be maintained by the City for a maximum of 10 years and 2 years respectively, at no cost to the applicant. Bench repair/replacement after 10 years will be at the City's discretion. Plaque repair/replacement after 2 years will be charged to the applicant.

Location
The approved location of a planting site or bench installation depends on proposed future development within a park, the location of underground utilities, and other site restrictions. Some parks may already be at capacity and therefore a tree or bench may not be made available for such a park. Tree planting or bench installation dates cannot be specified due to weather, grower supply, parks construction and special events situations.
Choice of tree species, planting sites, and bench installation sites are subject to City approval. If a planting location and/or tree species or bench location cannot be mutually agreed upon, the application fee will be refunded.


Tax Deductible
The donation is tax deductible. Due date for a tax deductible receipt for the current year is December 1st.
  
Procedure 
Please complete the Commemorative Tree and Bench Program Request Form, submit along with a cheque or money order payable to 'Treasurer, City of Toronto' and submit to the address indicated on the form.

Written confirmation will follow after installation is completed. For further information on this program please contact Ruby Goulart at (416) 395-6028 or email commemorativeprogram@toronto.ca.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

DENNIS DUCKWORTH, SAM SMITH PARK BIRDER, PASSES.

Many of our members will remember Dennis.  He was a permanent fixture in the park until a few years ago when ill health made walking difficult for him.  He was there pretty well every day from early morning until evening and knew every bird that passed by.  It is "rumoured" that on many occasions he actually slept in the park to catch the early ones!  He generously offered his knowledge and experience to anyone who asked and was instrumental in getting many of us on the path towards birding.
Dennis - "birdman warbler" - you will be sorely missed.

RECENT WETLANDS BIRD SIGHTINGS IN PARK

Least Bittern (Brian Bailey)
Sora (Peter Wade)
This week, birders discovered three secretive marsh species in Sam Smith Park - Least Bittern, Sora and Virginia Rail.  These birds are hard to spot and difficult to photograph.

Virginia Rail
The birds, along with the recent Yellow-Crowned Night Heron and many others, illustrate the importance of our little park as it grows in to maturity to birds and the enthusiastic birders and photographers who visit in growing numbers.
  
Thanks to those who submitted the pics.

Monday, September 8, 2014

SAM SMITH PARK BEING STUDIED BY CITY FOR DESIGNATION AS AN "ENVIRONMENTALLY SIGNIFICANT AREA"

City staff have prepared a report for the Planning and Growth Management Committee proposing action on an Official Plan Amendment to add additional Environmentally Significant Areas to the City's natural heritage system. Sam Smith Park is one of them.

The report identifies ESA's as ......


" ... critical areas within the City's natural heritage system. They contain habitats of large size or unusually high diversity, provide habitats for rare species; contain rare landforms, and serve as stop over locations or concentration points for migratory wildlife. These natural treasures are particularly significant and sensitive and are given the highest level of protection in the Official Plan. Development is not permitted in ESAs and activities are limited to those that are compatible with the preservation of their natural features and ecological functions."

Sam Smith Park certainly fits that description and increased protection of the natural areas of the park is part of Friends of Sam Smith Park's mission statement.

This is what happens next ......

"It is recommended that four (4) combined open house/community meetings be held during November 2014 to review the proposed amendment. A report on the outcome of the consultation and a final proposed amendment will be submitted to Planning and Growth Management Committee in the first half of 2015." 


The writer of the report (on behalf of Jennifer Keesmaat, City Chief Planner) is Joe D'Abramo who is about to retire.  His duties have been taken over by Klaus Lehmann who can be contacted at (416) 392 0175 or by email.  It might be a good idea to contact him and ask to be notified of any developments on this file and for a heads-up on the community meetings.  FOSS will also monitor this and pass on information to our contact list.