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NEWS: Second phase of park revitalization to begin

May 13th, 2016 · No Comments

Christie Pits to get new playground equipment

PHOTO BY GEREMY BORDONARO: Phase two of Christie Pits park’s revitalization continues as old playground equipment is removed from a fenced-in area. In the first phase, completed last fall, paths were replaced, lookouts were installed, and safety enhancements added.

PHOTO BY GEREMY BORDONARO: Phase two of Christie Pits park’s revitalization continues as old playground equipment is removed from a fenced-in area. In the first phase, completed last fall, paths were replaced, lookouts were installed, and safety enhancements added.

By Geremy Bordonaro

The second phase of the Christie Pits renewal is set to begin. New playground equipment will be installed, the two basketball courts will be merged, and the park will be made more accessible. The work comes on the heels of the first phase — completed in the fall — during which paths were replaced and lookouts added, as well as elements enhancing the general safety of the park.

“There’s a role to create more space in the park that is functional community space”—Jode Roberts, Friends of Christie Pits

“We’ve taken a step towards making the park more enjoyable for everyone,” said Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina).

Many of the improvements are the result of community consultation during which park staff canvassed local residents on how to improve the state of the park. Though not all recommendations could be implemented, Layton said he believes that people will be happy with how everything is progressing.

“Obviously we’re not doing everyone’s top pick,” explained the councillor. “We’re not doing all the work everyone wants to see, but we’re trying to make sure we get some important projects done.

“I think, overall, people are pleased to see that we’re fixing some of the well-used amenities.”

There are some people, however, who argue that more should be done to improve the park and its facilities.

“There wasn’t a lot of bells and whistles that come with a full renovation of a park,” said Jode Roberts, a member of the Friends of Christie Pits. “It was a modest amount quite frankly for a park that size and the majority of that was in paths and regrading and things like that.”

He said the community shouldn’t have to be consulted on major changes, if the sole aim of the work was simply to make repairs and address maintenance issues.

“We asked what the grander things were we could do for Christie Pits, like put in institutions like farmers’ markets or other such things. Things that have been invested in [at] other parks.”

But Layton responded that maintenance and repairs — despite how minor seeming — were absolutely necessary if Christie Pits were to remain useable.

“State of good repair was high on the list of what needed to be done,” Layton said. “Sadly, the city doesn’t budget on a regular basis enough money to really keep our parks in very good states of repair. We let pathways crumble more than they should. We let buildings degrade more than they should. Maybe we could be putting on coats of paint faster. We really looked to what we need to have fixed anyhow in the next five to 10 years and what we can do to improve the amenity while getting good value for our money.”

Yet Roberts suggests that there was an opportunity to expand the function of the space and to do some community building.

“There’s a role to create more space in the park that is functional community space,” Jode said. “But there’s also a need for more folks to step up, get energized, and help draw more of those groups into the park.”

He points to Dufferin Grove as an example of a dynamic park that Christie Pits should emulate.

“They’ve got community pizza night that you can count on every Friday, [and …] a lot of different events. They’ve really drawn in the community by having all these active events.”

While Roberts added that he hopes the renewed public interest in the park will spur future initiatives at Christie Pits, Layton said he is optimistic about the park now that there’s an end in sight for the revitalization. “I’m hoping that when the work gets done we can enjoy the park this summer.”

 

READ MORE:

Christie Pits renewal set to begin (July 2015) By Brian Burchell and Annemarie Brissenden

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