FAQs from the trail - Parks and Playgrounds in Ward 11
Murray Park (75 Cliftonvale Ave) Wading Pool
Today's blog update is a question e-mailed to me by a local resident about Parks and Recreation, and the thoughts I shared in reply.
I would be interested to know your platform on upgrading some of the parks in Ward 11. In particular, Murray Park where the equipment is old, the play area floods when it rains and one of the slides is made of metal which is extremely hot in the summer. When they closed the Manor Park School, the neighbourhood children lost the basketball courts. You are fully aware of how popular basketball is for a neighbourhood as a pick up game to get the kids out of the house and get some fresh air and fun. This park is used quit a bit by the neighbour children and the field is used for football practices etc. It is of great interest to this Ward to make sure the wading pool stays open and is not at risk of being closed.
The second park I visited this past weekend and did not stay, was on Duchess Ave. The equipment in this park is very old and they still have sand which is a great attraction for cats to use as their litter. I was actually surprised as I did not think sand was in use anymore.
Looking forward to some positive changes for Ward 11.
Thank you for your interest in our community!
Thank you for reaching out.
You’re absolutely right on the state of parks in Ward 11. Parks have been a huge part of my kids lives, especially with the isolation caused by the pandemic. We ended up visiting every major park in London and writing a mini review for Instagram as part of our goal to be as outside and active and away from our house and the monotony of avoiding people as possible.
Parks in Ward 11 as a whole are not good. East of Wharncliffe, kids generally play at Tecumseh PS, Wortley PS, and Mountsfield PS as there’s nowhere else really to go. Thames Park is the very north point of the Ward, and dated and full of rotting wood and slivers.
Otherwise, we have the same tiny play structures at Duchess Ave and at Dunkirk, and the cat pee sand as you mentioned.
West of Wharncliffe, the options really aren’t much better, with Murray Park that you mentioned and its issues, and then Greenway which is also hugely out of date and has the lovely aroma of lingering sewage.
Windsor on the other hand has had this figured out. See below.
Josh Morgan, our presumptive next mayor, is calling for a historic investment of $4.5 million in parks.
That number is shockingly low and proof that we have major work to do. I would like to see it closer to $40 million, but would need to dive into the Multi Year Budget process to better come up with an exact number and a source for it, in terms of what is realistic and how it will be paid for, as municipalities cannot operate in a deficit.
Metal slide needs to go, grading and drainage can and should be fixed, the wading pool is awesome, and the playground equipment is absolutely out of date.
I have been told that the city would like to pivot away from wading pools, as they are unsanitary and they require constant staffing and supervision, and would like to pivot towards all splash pads.
I’m not aware of any plans to specifically remove the Murray Park wading pool as of yet, but would like to advocate for it staying, as we shouldn’t be losing student summer jobs, and taking away free accessible places for kids to “learn to swim” (my kids did master the dog paddle in the deepest parts of the wading pool).
I absolutely have heard at so many doors in Manor Park the lingering and overwhelming sense of disappointment of falling short multiple years in a row in getting a basketball court in Murray Park under the Neighbourhood Decision Making Project.
The NDM is an overall win for London, with some great civic engagement, but an abject failure for Ward 11. We are last in funding over the duration of the project across 14 Wards.
Communication as a whole over the last 8 years between residents and elected leadership has been lacking, and a focus on children has been non existent. These are two areas that I really do shine and have a track record in.
I told a 16 year old resident of Forbes that if elected, I will get him a basketball court in Murray Park. Given my history of fund-raising and strong relationships in the private sector, I am confident that I can make it happen either way. He was ultra excited and helped me canvass his entire street.
The NDM project needs to be re-thought. Municipal tax dollars should not be buying infrastructure on TVDSB property. Ward 9 should not be getting 74% of the funding either.
I think giving a set amount to every single ward and keeping expenditures to public property only would be a great way to further evolve the program into more civic good.
As a city, we are currently undertaking a master mobility plan, and I would love to push for a Parks and Recreation strategy public consultation once that process is complete and recommendations are made.
As more and more kids are turning to screen time for entertainment, we need to give them reasons to get outside and places to do so.
I believe that I am the champion local parents need to help make that happen.
I am interested in re-purposing vacant or under used green space to make it more of a neighbourhood third place. I would like to champion a second urban dog park for Ward 11, some sports fields for east of Wharncliffe and a basketball court for west of Wharncliffe, and a strategy to fund and modernize all playgrounds to update their surface areas and play structures, and drainage when needed.
Any other ideas I am happy to hear them, and any other questions I am happy to answer them.