Category Archives: Park management

Dog Zone Official Opening

Residents and their dogs gather Monday July 10 for the official Raymore Park leash-free zone opening. Note the entrance to the small dog zone (black gate) is not directly accessible from the park.

Quite a few dog owners and their pets were present on Monday evening for the official opening of Raymore Park’s leash free zone. Councillor Mike Ford had organized the event and worked the crowd, introducing himself informally to residents and later made a short speech. People seemed pleased with the facility but the councillor heard a few concerns; namely that the topping of ‘pea gravel’ used to improve drainage seems to bother some pets. The lack of shade was another issue as was access to the small dogs’ zone (currently entered from the large dogs’ zone).

Ward 2 Councillor Mike Ford speaks to the assembled crowd.

Councillor Ford seemed sympathetic to these and other concerns and promised some consultation with the people from Toronto Parks (Parks Supervisor Lynn Essensa was in attendance). He also sympathized with the patience of residents who have put up with Raymore Park’s long period of being a construction zone and said he was working on getting the last remaining project (sewer pipe re-lining) expedited.

Dog Zone almost ready. Nothing changes.

The new leash free zone is almost complete with a glaring exception and a puzzling oversight.

The zone looks a bit like a small horse paddock. They’re at the post…

There is no signage or anywhere to put the poop bags / cigarettes butts and coffee cups that the zone will generate. There is also some work left to ensure the fencing is well attached. Still, for a Toronto project it has been constructed relatively quickly, especially considering that two other major projects have been happening in the vicinity.

Benches are provided for owners to watch their dogs.

One major design flaw seems to be with the small dog enclosure.

An ‘airlock’ that ensures dogs don’t escape when one gate is opened.

There are two double-gated ‘airlocks’ that ensure safe entry of new dogs without allowing an unleashed dog to suddenly dart out into the park. So far so good. Unfortunately both gates lead into the large dog section.

I would have made one entrance for the large dog enclosure and a separate one for smaller dogs; but then, I’m not an expert.

The northern ‘airlock’. Note the small dog entrance some distance away accessible only from the large dog enclosure.

The long walk through the large dog section to access the small dog zone.

Unless something changes, it looks as if small dog owners will be forced to run the gauntlet through the large dog enclosure.

Some fencing still needs to be attached to the posts.

As I was taking photographs, an elderly gentleman walked by with his Jack Russell off leash, ignoring the zone. That might be a problem with this particular zone – it’s just so much nicer in the rest of the park.

Only time will tell if people will actually make use of the zone and follow the rules once they’re posted. There certainly seems to be no difference in the behaviour of many people who still come and go with their dogs off leash.

March 2017 Construction Progress Report.

Sewer pipe linings awaiting placement.

Sewer pipe linings awaiting placement.

Work proceeds in full swing on the sewer relining project. Instead of replacing the sewers, new linings are being pushed and pulled to line the insides of the original pipe. Apparently this will allow a few more years before the old pipes need to be replaced. This means another 18 months of heavy slogging along the Humber valley.

Workers access the main sewer in preparation for re-lining.

Workers access the main sewer in preparation for re-lining.

Sewer-map

City of Toronto map showing the path of the sewer and its main access points.

The footbridge connecting Lions Park with Hickory Tree Road is almost complete and will make a difference to the many people on foot who move between Weston and Etobicoke. The new version is wider, all metal (except for railings and trim) and has viewing decks that will be useful during soccer games on the artificial turf below.

One of the decks of the new footbridge during construction.

One of the decks of the new footbridge during construction.

The new bridge shouldn’t require salt (the old wooden one was regularly salted in winter) and it will have bicycle troughs for walking bicycles up and down.

The leash free zone further down Raymore Park is taking shape. The surface has been laid and fencing is under way. The two areas for different sized dogs are becoming evident. This project should be ready by summer.

Panoramic view of the new area looking north. Click to zoom.

Panoramic view of the new area looking north. Click to zoom.

Finally, although the Humber River retaining wall was completed late last year, the staging area used to construct the project has been restored and now this blank canvas awaits re-planting, hopefully this spring.

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September 2016 Construction Progress Report.

The finished product - at this end anyway.

The finished product – at this end anyway.

The finished appearance of the retaining wall is now evident at its southern end with a green vegetative planting just starting to sprout on the slope at the top of the wall. Regardless, there’s still a long way to go. It also looks as if the homeowner with riparian rights has now wisely decided to take advantage of the opportunity and so construction has begun further upstream. The original intent was to construct the wall along the full length and that now seems to be the plan.

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A nice cross-section is visible from the northern end of the wall. (click to enlarge)

Astonishingly, even after all this effort, the work looks as if it’s only about 40% done and so there is a long, long way to go before this project can be signed off. The wall construction was originally scheduled for completion this past spring with brick removal from the access area and subsequent landscaping to take place this fall. Obviously, that ain’t gonna happen. My estimate at the current rate of construction is that they’ll be lucky to have the project completed and everything restored by the end of 2017. This seems to have been quite a miscalculation by the planners. The project was to cost a maximum of $250,000.

I’ll bet that marker was skated past months ago.

Construction Progress Report

Much has been going on in Raymore Park over the summer although progress on the retaining wall seems to be slow. The dog leash enclosures are partly complete but not without controversy.

  1. The retaining wall is looking quite magnificent and it looks as if it will do the job for centuries. It looks as if the wall will be curtailed, ending before its planned end-point. This is apparently because riparian rights for the end property extend to the river and the owner feels that remediation will cause further erosion.
The wall in a completed section.

The wall in a completed section.

A view of the total wall so far.

A view of the total wall so far.

2. The off leash areas.

Two areas are being built, one for smaller dogs and one for larger breeds. One section has been built (topsoil removed, drainage completed and topped with limestone chippings).

Sadly, a sanctuary for birds and small animals has been removed to create the area. It was basically a couple of trees surrounded by dense shrubs that were impenetrable to all but small animals. It was a bit of an island or small thicket in the park but it has been removed in what seems like callous disregard for wildlife. Surely there was room to place the leash free zones without destruction of a natural resource like this?  It speaks to a lack of care for the environment and a distinct lack of planning. Let’s hope there are no more unpleasant surprises from Toronto Parks who don’t own but manage Raymore Park.

The island in from Google Earth.

The shrub island (to the right of the old baseball diamond) from Google Earth.

This thicket is no more, sacrificed for the dog enclosure.

This thicket is no more, sacrificed for the dog enclosure.

The island site shortly after its removal.

The island site shortly after its destruction.

One of the dog enclosures; further north than anticipated.

One of the dog enclosures; further north than anticipated.

More fencing and drainage pipes for the next area.

More temporary fencing and drainage pipes for the next area.

 

Off Leash Zone latest

In preparation for the new off-leash area by the weir in Raymore Park city staff have removed the baseball diamond fencing that was installed a few years ago but rarely used.

The old baseball fencing has gone.

The old baseball fencing has gone.

The view north from the upcoming leash free zone.

The view north from the upcoming leash free zone.

We’ll have to see if the extended deadline for work on the Humber retaining wall will delay the opening of the new dog facility. Workers did manage to remove the fencing without any logistical problems.

Some Questions Answered

Work has resumed on the retaining wall and the mystery of the rope stretched across the river has been solved.

It's a lifeline.

It’s a lifeline.

It’s simply something to hang onto if a worker slips into the water accidentally.

Another question answered is what they are going to do with the old retaining wall. Answer: remove it. This week the southerly end of the old wall is being removed and workers are digging  to the bedrock to make a secure foundation for the new blocks.

Digging down to the bedrock for a solid foundation.

Digging down to the bedrock for a solid foundation.

Material being removed from the foundation of the new retaining wall.

Material being removed from the foundation of the new retaining wall.

According to a worker on the site, the work was delayed while trout were spawning but TRCA has given the project the go-ahead and construction has re-started. Apparently when the original wall was constructed, the same company simply accessed the far bank directly and never had to take all the precautions expected of projects on the river nowadays.

Another interesting item; the new wall may not extend to the northernmost point planned as the landowner above that section of wall is worried that the removal of the old blocks and subsequent digging may trigger further landslides. Since the resident in question has riparian rights which go down to the water, they have the right to withdraw consent to construct that last section of wall.

The worker allowed that the project may take until October to complete.