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< Drainage problem at cob courtyard | Problems 2006 | Foodshare Youth Teaching Garden >

Description: Drainage problem by sandpit
Status: Closed
Department: Playground
Opened: November 4, 2006

posted Nov.4 2006

Simon Wookey projects

Request from Simon Wookey, June 13 2006, directed to park web site

This is to do with flooding of the back of the children's play area that abuts all the Havelock properties in Dufferin PArk.

The problem has not been a serious problem in the past as the tap was always sufficiently monitored by a responsible adult while the children played. Unfortunately this is no longer the case as somebody or some older children have found a hi pressure valve and turn it on and leave it flowing for hours.

This is causing massive erosion and flooding of peoples property and the silting up of the storm sewer which if untreated will overflow and potentially cause serious property damage.

Secondly the children leave a tremendous amount of garbage and toys behind that I'm getting tired of cleaning up. As you can see there are now pots and pans buried in the mud. The place is starting to look like an open sewer rather than a children's play area


1) Close and seal valve cover to prevent unauthorised use

2) Have sand pit faucet supervised at all times to prevent flooding

a) If not possible develop a way to lock tap to prevent unsupervised use

3) Have city works clean up silt in storm drain and volunteers clean up abandoned toys and detritus

4) All parties come together to discuss long term landscaping solution of which I am more than happy to contribute financially along with the city

I hope we can find a solution to this problem as if left untreated could lead to damage and health risks as there was a rat infestation last year in the same area along with the increased risk of mosquitos and west nile.

Response from Jutta Mason to Simon Wookey, June 13 2006

I agree with you that the sandpit area, having become way more popular than we anticipated, needs urgent attention. Let's make common cause.

Last year we requested that the city find a way for rec staff to lock up the water outlet by the bulletin board at night and that they inactivate (cap) the water outlet that's closer to your laneway. Neither of these things were done. Last year's maintenance supervisor also said his workers would create a French drain north of the sewer but they did not get around to it.

This year I have been asking the city to put in a regular sandpit care routine because when the sand is pushed back into the enclosure (sandpit), the water doesn't run over the edge so readily. At a site meeting a week ago I showed the manager and supervisor the situation. But this year's new maintenance supervisor said that his backhoe driver is ill and it's not easy to get a driver from another part of his division.

But he said he would try. With your photos and mine (I just took some more pictures on Sunday), we might get this moved up on the agenda.

As for the area looking slummy -- indeed it does. An adventure playground that gets such intensive use is bound to look less groomed than a garden but it doesn't need to be this bad.

Shall we meet at the site? Do you have time?

P.s. on-site rec staff have taken turns every night to check that the water's off and the shovels are hung up. I thought that whoever is turning on the tap full force at night has slowed down, but from your report it sounds like we're not seeing it all. It drives me crazy -- that's why we need a way to lock the water outlet. Also, someone in the neighbourhood is currently leaving new cheap plastic toys in the park every week or so (we don't know who). Cheap plastic toys are not good in a park -- they break quickly, their broken edges at sharp, and they look awful. I throw them away as often as I get down there. Anytime you throw away plastic toys down there, it's a service to the park.

From Simon Lepik-Wookey to Jutta Mason, July 2 2006

just wondering if you had some time next week to have a little chat about the French drain for the water run off from the children's digging area. Also I don't know if you noticed but Rebecca and I have been doing a little gardening in the back there. We have established a good violet patch along with some day lilies and other flowers to hide that steel car barrier. We plan to transplant some irises in the fall along with some other hearty annuals that we have in our garden.

I was wondering what your and other grovers thoughts are towards establishing a nice little shade garden with a bench in that back corner. It could be a good project for children to learn about gardening... or just a nice place for parents to sit and rest in the shade while watching their little monsters having fun and getting very dirty.... just an idea. :-)

Site meeting with Parks supervisor Peter Leiss, July 28 2006

Peter Leiss also said that he had noted a very small wetland garden at the south end of the adventure playground area, planted by a resident. He said that such any such project would need a written agreement with the City.

From Simon Wookey to Jutta Mason Aug.19, 2006:

Just to let you know we should have a french drain in by end of Sunday. Also we've cleaned up along the back and put in new plantings. Mostly Ornamental grasses and flowers.

We will see how the drain we put in works and find out if we need another one.

From Simon Wookey to Jutta Mason Aug.21, 2006:

the first one is in and filled with aprox 120kg of river stone and looks like it is draining very well. The second hole has been dug but we ran out of stone... :-(

Will be going back to Rona and picking up some more to fill it by end of today.

From Simon Wookey to Jutta Mason Aug.21, 2006 (later):

Well I had a chance to see how they are working and it is doing as well as can be expected. The drain is very good at drying up standing water, thus preventing mosquitos and west Nile. Unfortunately it is not designed to handle the almost constant water flow from the sandpit, a tremendous amount of water is released from 9am till 6-7pm.

One could trench a large pit a fill with stone but this would be inadvisable as it would introduce a large volume of water into the ground potentially causing possible problems such as undermining house foundations close to the park.

The solution that we have now, with the introduction of one or two more French drains to help with the drying out of the mud after the day is done, should proceed. For that we will need a donation of gravel aprox 250kg. After which we should start a dialogue with the park dept for a long term solution. This would entail a real sewer grate and drain.

From Jutta Mason to Simon Wookey Aug.21 2006:

Hi Simon, are you interested in meeting with Peter Leiss, the Parks supervisor? If so, his e-mail address is I imagine he'd want to talk before you do any more work on the drains

From on-site park staff Mayssan Shuja to Simon Wookey, Sept.3 2006

I got your email last week saying that you got the French drain going. I've been trying to monitor how its working and have noticed that on days of heavy use, pooling happens (quite deep and maybe a little dangerous) and the water still flows into the drain. Perhaps I'm not looking at the right spot but would you be interested in coming by sometime so we could take a quick look at it together and think about what modifications can be done? I'm around mostly during the week.

From Simon Wookey to on-site park staff Mayssan Shuja, Sept.3 2006

It is going to require a new solution as the drain silted up within a week.

oh well back to the drawing board.

From on-site park staff Mayssan Shuja to Simon Wookey, Sept.3 2006

Its just another experiment that needs to be figured out. Please let us know if you need any help. we are going to try getting some wood chips to be placed in many small piles by the flooded area and along the "river" near the laneway south of the playgound. Jutta remembers that we tried that last year and it seemed to help with the drainage some. I'd be interested to know what the drawing board comes up with too.

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