drum118

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May 15
Lot more up on my site in various locations
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Wrenkin

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They are mowing the lawn today.

May 15
Lot more up on my site in various locations


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The crates had coloured paving bricks, which were inlaid into the centre of the circle.

The only thing I see that's left to address is an awkward pole sticking out of the ground on the south side of the park, next to an access hatch. It has some controls or outlets on the tip, and keeps falling over. Otherwise the park looks complete.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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The vegetation is looking good - the sculptural elements on the other hand looks clumsy. All in all not a bad park - certainly looks better than Barbara Ann Scott.

AoD
 

Kenojuak

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The vegetation is looking good - the sculptural elements on the other hand looks clumsy. All in all not a bad park - certainly looks better than Barbara Ann Scott.

AoD
I like the sculptural elements. They're kind of post modern. Simple and big. And look, they're among the first examples of large scale indigenous placemaking / public art in Toronto public space. This is an important new direction for Toronto (as directed by the new Downtown Plan: see policies 7.3.3, 7.12, 7.27, 7.47 and 8.46) and over time, we will see a wide range of examples of how to do this. Designers, curators and producers will accumulate experience. I think it will take time for this new approach to emerge. It's OK. We're doing a good new thing. Let's try it and see what stands the test of time, what is loved, what doesn't work so much, etc. In my opinion this one is good.
 

Northern Light

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Has there been any city park that opened on time lately? Is there any penalty for missing deadlines?

Who would you fine? And who gets the fine?

One of those conundrums if government engages in self-flagellation.

I'd love to say we could take 5% off a project manager's pay........but realistically.....

In fairness, it isn't always on Parks..........though Parks always seems unprepared for legal snafus, other agency snafus, contractor snafus and unwilling (or unable) to exert pressure to get things done, on time, correctly; and to expediently address deficiencies.

****

This Park isn't weeks or months late...........it's years late.

 

Kenojuak

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Who would you fine? And who gets the fine?

One of those conundrums if government engages in self-flagellation.

I'd love to say we could take 5% off a project manager's pay........but realistically.....

In fairness, it isn't always on Parks..........though Parks always seems unprepared for legal snafus, other agency snafus, contractor snafus and unwilling (or unable) to exert pressure to get things done, on time, correctly; and to expediently address deficiencies.

****

This Park isn't weeks or months late...........its years late.

Parks has got to be one of the worst departments in the City. Just an absolute gongshow from policy to water fountains, from renovations to maintenance, from development review to spending cash in lieu. Bad bad bad.
 

Rascacielo

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Who would you fine? And who gets the fine?

One of those conundrums if government engages in self-flagellation.

I'd love to say we could take 5% off a project manager's pay........but realistically.....

In fairness, it isn't always on Parks..........though Parks always seems unprepared for legal snafus, other agency snafus, contractor snafus and unwilling (or unable) to exert pressure to get things done, on time, correctly; and to expediently address deficiencies.

****

This Park isn't weeks or months late...........its years late.

The contractor (if they caused the delay). Nothing public in this city seems to get done in time or on budget. Hospitals, parks, hydro generating plant, transit projects. Some are the province’s responsibilities, some are the municipality’s. Everyone’s passing the buck, blaming someone else. And no one cares enough to demand accountability …
 

Northern Light

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Parks has got to be one of the worst departments in the City. Just an absolute gongshow from policy to water fountains, from renovations to maintenance, from development review to spending cash in lieu. Bad bad bad.

It is; I agree.

Some of that is self-inflicted too.

But it does need to be said, that some of the reorganizations imposed on parks over the years, along with budget cuts/freezes as far back as amalgamation......have also left Parks hard pressed to execute properly.

I don't want to go too far into the weeds on a tangent, but I'll offer a couple of observations

1) There used to be a lot more empowered parks supervisors, (direct operational management) and they used to have a lot more year-round, properly trained support staff who could do things.

Typically a Parks supervisor had 1 or 2 forepeople who usually had carpentry skills, could handle a backhoe, paint and do minor handy work of all sorts, they also had direct control of their seasonal staff who mowed lawns, did weeds,
handled garbage/litter removal and odd jobs.

Today there are many fewer parks supervisors, with much larger parks, disconnecting them from direct day-to-day performance.

Most no longer have forepeople at all.

2)

Parks centralized all carpentry staff
Parks creating 'flying teams' for litter removal and lawn mowing that handle lots of different parks over much larger areas.
Parks lost control of waste removal - hence our ugly garbage cans when that was shifted to waste management.
Parks has many fewer lawn mowers, despite more parks; because
a) Parks cut one mowing per year from the cycle
b) Parks lost responsibility for mowing the boulevards on City Roads (all contracted out now)
c) Because Parks has lost so many functions, Yards have been consolidated; meaning operations equipment is now further from the parks it serves (increased dead head time) and there is less equipment and fewer personnel

Most Parks no longer have staff based out of them; there are a few notable exceptions for signature parks like High Park, and Thomson Park etc etc. But most park washrooms buildings use to have small offices in them where seasonal staff were based day to day, now most of those are locked and empty.

3) When horticulture was centralized (flower bed and formal landscape maintenance by professional gardeners) the staff was also cut back, and many planting beds were eliminated or converted to perennials.
Additionally, with centralization staff are less connected to local displays and upkeep issues.

Horticulture can't afford to maintain the beds they have.

Many/most beds have lost 'seasonal' displays outside of summer. University Avenue, for instance used to get an early spring display with pansies/tulips then a summer display, then a fall one. Today, its one and done.

4) Staff turnover is high in many parts of the department despite comparatively decent wages. There is too much box-checking, bureaucracy, and too many people stuck doing boring, repetitive work (lawn mowing only, can't do garbage, flowers or benches) and that drives attrition, which means a lack of experience.

5) Many staff in management/planning positions lack the requisite experience/training for their jobs. They often have university in a largely unrelated degrees (say environmental studies) which doesn't actually
teach you forestry, wetland restoration, horticulture, lawn maintenance, landscape architecture, etc etc.

6) Due to contracting out the City has lost a lot of flexibility, the City, for instance used to have a lot more working greenhouses in which they grew their own plants/flowers. Today, they have far fewer. This is the sort
of thing where staff used to be in a position to fix things in-house; we need to fix a bench, send the foreperson; we need to weed that flower bed, send horticulture and it was easy, just a phone call or a direct order from a
Parks Supervisor........today, its paperwork, delays and 'sorry, we have no spare people or plants or aren't allowed to do that'

****

Whoops, I got on a bit of rant...............LOL.....

Sorry, back on topic!
 
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Northern Light

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The contractor (if they caused the delay). Nothing public in this city seems to get done in time or on budget. Hospitals, parks, hydro generating plant, transit projects. Some are the province’s responsibilities, some are the municipality’s. Everyone’s passing the buck, blaming someone else. And no one cares enough to demand accountability …

This particular park issue is a tie-up with the legal transfer of the property from Lanterra to the City. Not sure why.

*****

And you're right, there is a lack of accountability. The culture is one of 'don't rock the boat'.
 

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