Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

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Community Building


In the past few years there has been a new stage in the life of the park – the stage of testing, by often anonymous complainants, whether the things that work well at the park might not conform to City bylaws or provincial regulations.

The zamboni crisis at the rink in 2004 was the beginning. That winter, multipurpose use of the rink house was briefly declared a health and safety infraction.

Last June, 2005, a playground user expressed great unhappiness about the possible illegality of building the cob courtyard, but by then there were too many people engaged in the project to bring it to a halt.

In July 2005 there was an anonymous complaint about people making their own pizzas at the wood oven, resulting in an order for staff to make all pizzas inside the building and rush them out to the oven. That order was quickly found to be unnecessary and rescinded.

In August 2005 there was an anonymous complaint about the farmers’ vehicles being parked at the market, but after a by-law officer told all the farmers that he would write them each $105 tickets if they returned the following week, an official permit was created. The farmers were able to continue bringing their food as before.

In November 2005 there was a large meeting at St.Mary’s High School igh SAcHto address the absence of a formal advisory council at the park, but the meeting participants were able to convey their confidence in a park with good staff but without a formal community meeting structure.

In February 2006 a serious standoff developed between City rinks zamboni drivers and on-site staff/rink friends, relating to our local practice of cleaning the ice one rink at a time and letting skaters continue to skate on the other rink. That issue – presented as a health-and-safety issue for the zamboni drivers – will hopefully be solved this year with the long-awaited construction of a little external paved path. The path will allow the zamboni to travel between our two rinks without using the internal gate, therefore not requiring a guard at the gate.

The current regulatory struggle focuses on the community-built addition of a community-built composting toilet to the playground area. There have been complaints led by three neighbourhood activists. They have contacted the heads of City departments to inform them of various possible regulatory infractions.

Now a six-foot-high fence has been erected to keep kids away from this project completely – for reasons not of commonsense safety but of one-size-fits-all regulations. The complainants have asked Councillor Adam Giambrone for another public meeting, and indeed it’s time for everyone to talk.


Food cart, child minding, campfire. In the rink house if it rains.

This neighborhood is full of musicians: does anyone feel inspired to write a song for the park, called the “By-Law Blues”? It could have broad appeal beyond the park too, maybe become as big a hit as “Little Boxes” was in its day.


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Content last modified on October 14, 2010, at 11:47 AM EST