SERRA has actively participated in 4 meetings and workshops this fall which will give direction to the preservation and formation of parks and green space in Davisville Village, an area of the city under great development stress.
In November Paul Farish, a Senior Planner of Strategic Initiatives Policy and Analysis with the City of Toronto, organized a well-attended workshop on green infrastructure. Mr. Farish leads Toronto’s Midtown in Focus Plan, which aims to improve parks and public spaces. The Yonge-Davisville neighbourhood is the latest to be singled out, and through Mr. Farish the City of Toronto is seeking public input into the future of the area’s parks and public spaces.
In planning for this event SERRA had mapped out a potential route on side streets and lanes which would allow pedestrians and cyclists to move from the Yonge-Eglinton area to the beltline and Mt. Pleasant Cemetery without having to use major roadways. We would like to see the city respond to and develop this route, which would offer a quiet oasis and passageway in Davisville. With the planned arrival of 35,000 new residents in our area over the next 15 years, green spaces and parks will become ever more precious.
Councillor Josh Matlow held a meeting in December to get local feedback on two new parks on Manor Road. These parks are close together and fairly small. About 40 people attended this meeting, including City staff. There was a quickly achieved consensus that one park should attract children, though perhaps not with the conventional play equipment, while the second park should offer a more contemplative, peaceful focus to attract adults and seniors. City staff will consult with experts on park planning and return to the community with suggestions.
SERRA members have also attended two workshops held by a non-profit group called LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests).The first addressed the City Forestry Department’s plan to protect and increase the city’s tree canopy over the next decades. Local citizens’ ability to respond to the illegal removal of large trees from their neighbourhoods and ways in which they can shield and care for newly planted city trees were discussed.
The second workshop demonstrated LEAF’s achievements in two areas of the city where cutting edge planting of street trees has occurred. Through grates in the sidewalk, rainwater will reach roots protected in a special planting enclosure. As well, tall surrounding metal fences will prevent new trees from being scarred by bicycles attached to them.
Happily, this method of ensuring the healthy growth of city trees is being adopted by some local BIAs as they plan their street refurbishments. SERRA members are encouraged to work with local businesses to make sure new street trees are adequately watered during dry months.
SERRA is committed to the green infrastructure of Davisville so that we, our children and grandchildren will continue to live in ‘the city in a garden’.