Residents push the TTC to give up land for park
(Written for Town Crier Dec. 20)
Ulli Rath wants the TTC to give up a portion of their Davisville yard to expand Oriole Park.
The local resident and his group, Friends of Oriole Park are putting out the feelers to see if an expansion is possible. He says it’s a natural choice, given that the Davisville TTC yards at Yonge and Chaplin Crescent neighbour Oriole Park.
Rath wrote to TTC for its Dec. 15 board meeting, and says the next step is to get the matter added to a future commission meeting so residents can plead their case.
Rath is quick to point out the request has merit: A 2009 TTC report indicating Davisville likely won’t be adding to its storage yard.
“There will be even less (TTC vehicles) parked there,” Rath said. “The yard wasn’t designed for the new generation subways.”
As well, the city agency Build Toronto plans to close the Davisville TTC headquarters and move it to York Mills. If that happens, the Davisville site could be redeveloped. That would be another opportunity to look at whether a section of land could be given or sold to the city to expand Oriole Park, Rath said.
Furthering their cause, Rath said, is the fact that the Deer Park community is severely park deficient. However, Oriole Park is well-used and expected to become an even bigger draw for surrounding communities as construction continues for the Neshama playground.
“We have a baseball league, tennis courts, dog park, and with the city starting construction for a playground for disabled and abled children, it will bring even more users to an already busy park,” Rath said.
If the TTC agrees to give up a section of the Davisville yard for the park expansion and the city is short on cash to buy the land, one option could be to seek private sponsorship to purchase or lease the land, he said.
Preliminary ideas for an expanded park include a community garden, coffee kiosk, BBQ pits and space for Tai Chi classes.
Newly-elected Councillor Josh Matlow said he strongly supports the concept of an expanded park.
“Everyone, including myself, who lives in the ward and loves and uses this park should work together as a community on how to move forward,” Matlow said.
If the TTC does redevelop the Davisville headquarters, the community will have to be part of community consultation and green space could be part of that discussion.
“If the TTC property is redeveloped, we expect an aspect of it to be community green space,” said Matlow.