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< Tree Watering | Problems 2007 | campfire permission removed >

Description: State of Good Repair reconstruction of the Dufferin Grove Park wading pool has been scheduled for September 2007
Status: Open
Department: Playground
Categories: MajorRepairs
Opened: August 2007

The following is a set of emails reproduced mostly from the dufferingrovefriends email list

July 13, 2007

I think this meeting was pretty good and interesting. Afterwards the landscape architect went around with the wading pool staff and they got into some operational details that will also help.

Sounds like the double asphalt access will be reduced to a single path, and they're going to cost out another wheelchair access path from the entrance on Havelock.

Sounds like the tap for sandy feet will be no problem.

Some months ago there was a concern about water being wasted at the sandpit: the architect said that the drain for the foot washing station can double as a drain for the sandpit run-off, involving a French drain and even weeping tile to disperse the water toward the trees.

And going one better: the wading pool puts an even greater amount of water down the drain every day (than the sandpit). So the architect is going to check out a capped diversion drain that could be hooked up to an underground storage tank when the provincial wastewater regulations change (soon). That would mean we'd have the capacity to use ALL the wading pool water to run hoses to the trees.

So there is some real ecological innovation involved here. The councillor said the revised plan will be made public within weeks.


July 13, 2007

I contacted a friend, whose son has CP(he uses a walker, and wheelchair) and she said that she finds the park very accessible. WheelTrans drops her off at the Rink House only though. She said putting elevators at Dufferin subway would help with accessiblity issues. She has already written to Adam Giambrone about creating more accessible transit. Dufferin subway station could really use an elevator. Wheeltrans drops her and her son off at the rink house.

She finds the park itself accessible; although feels automatic door on the rinkhouse and the washrooms would make a difference for her.

- M

July 14, 2007

Hi all,

Re: elevator at Dufferin Station, the City of Toronto is putting elevators in all the Subway stations, aiming to do so before 2012. Giambrone stated this at the all candidates meeting hosted by the Dufferin Grove Residents Association last year.

I was really excited about the pool’s waste water diversion idea. That is great stuff.

I am still concerned about using the interlock, in my experience it is not all that permeable and placing it in the area where it is slated will impact the mixed use of that area and increase the number of scraped knees. Perhaps Marina’s friend and park user (Pamela) and her son (and any other park users who have accessibility issues) could be available to discuss that area and whether or not the interlock is necessary. I am really not supportive of anything different on the ground in that area, it seems to me that even environmental hard surfaces would require at tamped limestone or gravel base, impacting the absorption of rain water which will affect the trees and create puddling in other areas. Also, any hard surface will increase scrapped knees etc.

- MW

August 18, 2007


The city's budget emergency has not seemed to stop the city from borrowing more money to build, and the Dufferin Grove wading pool is on the list for this fall, to be replaced for $250,000. However, there's a new issue.

City foresters say they can't guarantee that the big trees shading the pool won't be damaged by the jackhammers digging up the concrete of the wading pool, around the roots. The four giant maples located right beside the pool pavement are what make the Dufferin Grove wading pool so unusually pleasant in the summer. The construction company is willing to replace these giant maples with new trees.

But it would take about fifty years to get the shade back.

Councillor Giambrone has been informed of this issue and his office has suspended construction plans until more is known about the trees. The funds for this kind of project come from "state of good repair" allocations. Happily, the wading pool is still in quite good repair except for fairly minor plumbing work in the "pit," so there's not really a need to fix much.

Any thoughts on this from people who use the pool/playground?


August 18, 2007

Perhaps this is an obvious question but WHY if the wading pool is in good repair with only minor plumbing needed would there even be a $250,000 reconstruction plan being talked about?? No doubt it will be more than that when all is said and done, not to mention all the hours spent by our City staff to discuss and plan etc and paid for by us. I am at a complete loss to understand this.

People are losing their jobs, having hours cut and we want a new wading pool when the existing one is in good working order? Someone please explain the rationale. thx

- D

August 20, 2007

I am also very puzzled why the City would continue to add new projects while apparently in a fiscal emergency. No one asked for a new wading pool, Parks just announced that one was being built this fall. There is a central "state of good repair" budget that doesn't get used for smaller repairs much, but instead gets allocated for larger projects, perhaps in a fairly rote way.

The Dufferin Grove wading pool was built in 1954, so it's old, but at that time they knew how to make solid concrete, so it's lasted well. The main problem is the turn-on/ turn-off mechanism, which is in a very deep and dangerous (especially to the wading pool staff) pit. I was somewhat amazed to find out that the original $250,000 plans didn't take note of that problem.

Beyond that, I just got to look at the Forestry report about this project. (I hope Henrik will have a chance to post it on the web site later today.) The Forester says:

"It was noted that no trees are scheduled to be removed for the reconstruction, however due to the maturity and condition of the trees, Urban Forestry cannot ensure the survival or safety of the trees due to the reconstruction."

Hopefully this means that Councillor Giambrone will put this project on hold, substituting minor repairs and thereby saving the City (and us!) money at the same time. A call to the Councillor wouldn't hurt: 416 392-0913.


August 20, 2007

Oh no! Please, let's stop this. Can't the money be used for a myriad of other needs at the park? We cannot lose those old trees. If there is a movement to redirect this money to a better use that won't cause damage to the trees, I'd be more than willing to jump on the bandwagon.

- SP

August 20, 2007

The shade in the park is the best part. I vote to hold off on the new pool to keep the shade for sure.

- T

August 21, 2007

Who best to call to have an impact on this? Is It does't sound as though anyone who actually uses the park is "for" redoing the wading pool if it means risk to the trees -- how do we get that message across to the decision makers?

- MK

August 21, 2007

Add me to the list of people mystified by the wading pool project. I would do anything to avoid any more unnecessary construction around the playground area, even without considering the danger to the trees. And don't even get me started on $250K for a wading pool when the social housing owned by the city is in such terrible condition that the tenants are having to hold protests to get it dealt with. Not to mention shelter beds and drop-in meal programs being cut back. But I guess we don't get to reallocate the money, do we?

- EP

August 21, 2007

Please keep the shade, no matter where in the park it is !

Keep the shade around the pool.

Thank you!

- Zz

August 22, 2007

E- I'm very much in agreement as well.

Problem is, the example you mention - community housing - is a different department from parks. Departments have their budgets set annually and aren't empowered to reallocate between themselves. (This is somewhat complicated further by the fact that Toronto Community Housing Corporation technically has, I believe, an "arm's length" relationship from the city, receiving "subsidies" as opposed to funding. As far as I can tell, the difference is largely rhetorical, but rhetoric can be quite concrete in the hands of a large bureaucracy.)

The funds for the wading pool would also be coming from the capital budget, and not the operating budget which is the subject of the current funding crisis (and which I believe funds the shelter beds and meals you mentioned).

According to what others have said here, the wading pool bucks are considered to be for "State of Good Repair." This definition gets played fast and loose sometimes.

Capital budget deliberations tend to get the least scrutiny from the public - most focus is on Operating. The best redress people have is probably to familiarize themselves with the whole thing and make deputations - or at least keep track of deliberations - when the process starts up again this fall.

- MS

August 22, 2007

Hello everyone,

Councillor Giambrone is looking for more feedback from people about the proposed wading pool reconstruction and pool design changes for Dufferin Grove Park. Please let him know your thoughts by phone at 416-392-7012, by fax at 416-392-7957 or by email at

This project is being considered because this pool was identified in a City audit as needing repairs. This is primarily considered a state-of-good-repair project. It is budgeted to cost just under $250,000, from the Parks Capital Budget.

According to Parks Capital Staff, the reason this project is needed is:

"An audit of all the City of Toronto's water plays and wading pools was conducted by AEI Engineers as a means to determine the priority and repairs required as part of our State of Good Repair program. The wading pool at Dufferin Grove Park was found to be one of the worse in terms of condition given it was built in 1955 and was given a top priority of all 136 evaluated.

The report indicated that the pool piping and valve, pool water supply and drainage and the pool tank and deck were found to be in poor condition and have reached the end of their serviceable life. Although the concrete decking may look to be sound, it is fairly weathered and the expansion joints are continuously filled with rubberized asphalt due to the deterioration of the joint which is an indication of leaking, and possibly creating voids under the existing deck were the water has leaked over the years. As well, there is no telling as to when concrete over 50 years old may fail by cracking or when the plumbing under the deck may leak.

The replacement of the pool deck and plumbing are the two major components of this project, we will be introducing barrier free accessibility to the site, improved lighting, new furniture, a new drinking fountain, informal seating with armour stone and better pedestrian circulation of the site with paths and a wider paved aprons for better mobility as indicated in the audit report."

Based on the community consultation meeting last month, some changes were made to the proposed design, including:

  • Changing the layout of the design, particularly of the proposed two new asphalt path connections to the pool. They now propose to have one path head south-west and link to Gladstone, the other to head north-east and connect to Havelock.
  • Reducing the amount of asphalt and hard surfaces.
  • A foot-washing station is now included.
  • Improved drainage south of the sand pit.
  • Some improvements to make the pool easier and safer to operate for the Recreation staff.

A new issue that has surfaced recently is the potential for the construction to impact the trees around the pool. City staff have confirmed that the construction is going to be stressful on the mature trees around the pool. They have a tree protection plan prepared and with that in place the odds are they will all survive, but there are no guarantees and some might not make it.

The project has not yet gone to tender and it is still possible to postpone it if that is really what people want. However, the money for this project cannot just be realocated to other projects in the park or other departments in the City. Also, because this is a Capital project, cancelling it would do very little to help with the City's current fiscal crisis. The budget problems are on the Operating Budget side.

Let's talk about it! Please let Councillor Giambrone know your thoughts.

Chris Gallop
Constituency Assistant to:
Adam Giambrone
Toronto City Councillor

August 23, 2007

Comments on the wading pool reconstruction proposal:

1. The "state-of-good-repair" audit: I happened to be in the park one fall day a few years back when a lonely engineer was struggling to get the wading pool's centre cover open. He had the wrong key. I opened it for him, and the "pit" too, where all turn-on/off workings of this pool are.

He said his company had been given the contract to do various City facility audits but that they don't normally deal with wading pools. It showed -- he seemed quite puzzled by what he was looking at. Sadly, none of the staff who have run the pool for quite a few summers were asked to be present -- that is the City's audit style. It's sort of like having a guy come to your house when you're gone and poke around with a clipboard and then write a report for somebody else, saying your house is old and is probably about to fall down.

The fact is, there is nothing wrong with the wading pool except for the plumbing arrangements in the "pit," (a.k.a. "tank" and "pool piping and valve" mentioned in the report from the Capital Projects staff) which can and must be modified. (A guess: $30,000 tops?)

Other than that, the Dufferin Grove wading pool works well. It was very solidly built by (Italian?)sidewalk workers in 1954 with rather nifty expansion joints, which are perhaps not necessary, but easy to seal up permanently (for about $5000, done by City workers at several other city pools already). This wading pool does not lose water. The idea that there may be unseen "voids" under the concrete is therefore unlikely. But the question of what is UNSEEN does point to the biggest problem, namely that there's also no way to know how the tree roots are situated under the pool.

2. Those big shady trees: It's most likely that those big Norway maples that shade the pool and the playground were planted at the same time as the pool was put in. The 1950s were in love with Norway maples because they grow this big in 40-50 years. Therefore I think it's likely that there's a pretty close connection between the underside of the pool concrete and the tree roots.

3. Construction and those big trees: how to rip up that very high-quality, solidly built concrete without harming an extensive ecosystem of tree roots? And if the construction company loses even one of the four giants -- growing between 10cm and 1 meter from the pool's edge -- playground users lose that shade for many years.

4. The solution: WAIT. "If the pool's concrete surface ain't broke, don't fix it." Fix the plumbing, seal the cracks. Don't trade away the cooling shade for the nice new design, the special paving, the asphalt access, the foot-washing station, NOT YET.

5. The capital projects section is known for its "there's no time to lose" approach. What's the hurry? "If you don't agree now, the money will go to another project in a different park." Good, why shouldn't other parks be made nicer? And meantime we get to keep the trees, at least until last year's newly planted trees start catching up.

Please contact the councillor's office, whether you agree or disagree with my comments here. He says he will make his decision based on people's comments to him. Again: And email this link to your friends!


August 23, 2007

seeing as I have two red-haired children, I really appreciate the shade at the playground; however, fixing the pool may not be such a bad idea. According to Giambrone's recent email on the issue, the trees won't neccessarily be harmed by the construction. It would be great to have a working drinking fountain and a foot washing pool.

And, there would still be plenty of shade in the playground/sand pit area. My only hesitation is that I think Jutta is against it and I have full confidence that she knows what's best for the park. So, I guess I'm of 2 minds on the issue.

- LL

August 23, 2007

I don't think people should worry about whether I'm for or against the wading pool reconstruction. I don't have little kids anymore, and this needs to be decided by actual playground users. Taras, you might want to have another look re the shade, though -- if the trees closest to the wading pool are damaged and have to be removed, that will also take away a lot of the playground and sandpit shade.

As for the foot washing station and drinking fountain -- we don't need to tear up a well-built pool to get those, if the plumbing gets fixed anyway. Unless the City staff say it's all or nothing.

And if they say that, one could ask: WHY would "state-of-good-repair" mean all or nothing?


August 23, 2007

Hello Adam,

I'd like to weigh in on this subject.

People come from far and wide to spend a shady summer day at the wading pool and playground. If we aren't 100% sure that the trees won't be damaged by a wading pool redo then we cannot redo the pool.

Frankly, my kids having been using that pool for the past 7 years and I have not seen any deterioration at all. If the systen ie. "the pit" needs to be updated, surely we can do that without tearing up the entire thing. Ask Ross Stuart or one of the other many talented handymen in the neighbourhood to have a look at it and I'm sure they'll tell you the same thing. I'm sure none of us would tear out an entire bathroom just because we need a new tap.

As for using that $250,000 for related uses, I'm sure we could all come up with a huge list. Wading pool users have already mentioned a foot-washing station, and we all know how badly the kids need a bathroom nearby or how about a staff person to clean and stock the bathroom near the soccer field 2 or 3 times a day?.

Also, I agree with Jutta, if it's tear up the pool or lose the money to another park, I say send the money to another park - goodness knows there are plenty of them in the city who could use them. Speaking of which, how about washrooms at Campbell Park for the soccer players?

Thanks for your consideration,

Sheila Pin
Dufferin Grove Residents Association

August 24, 2007

Neighbours, Seems I should have waited to speak with our DGRA exec members, one of whom is Yves Bonnardeaux, an architect from Havelock whose kids use the wading pool. Yves has often provided the DGRA with thoughtful information from the architects point of view. Here is his response to my earlier e-mail.

Adam, Chris - can you guys comment please? Thanks, sheila p


I find that some of the responses to the wading pool project in the Friends of Dufferin Grove list-serve are expecting the impossible from the city, and are not in the best interest of the park (despite their best intentions).

1. Norway Maples grow quickly and have a relatively short life expectancy (+/- 60 years according to my copy of the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants). I understand that the park trees are near this age already. There is no guarantee that the trees won’t die regardless. Despite the city of Toronto’s strict tree protection policy in force, there is little doubt in my mind that some of the tree root system will be damaged; it is impossible to provide a guarantee against tree damage, they can only protect them. I believe that a few of the trees have already died and been cut down in the past few years, without a dramatic drop in the quality of the park. To their credit, I believe that the park staff used the dead tree trunks as benches, thus providing additional amenity to the park!

2. The new wading pool would outlive the trees. Deferring maintenance is not a smart strategy –it has been shown time and again that it eventually costs more to do it later. If a 50 year old pipe breaks under the pool, it is possible that the flooding would drown the tree roots, AND the neighbourhood would be without a wading pool for who knows how long.

3. Why are people ignoring an engineer’s report putting this pool ahead of others in the city for maintenance? It just does not make sense. Underground outdoor plumbing does not last forever.

4. I find it difficult to believe that the seasonal washroom (summer house) at the park is not also on the list for urgent maintenance. A sustainable approach would be to link the two by collecting the large amount of ‘grey’ water put into the drain each day the wading pool is used, and use it to flush the toilets in the summer house.

- Sheila Pin

August 24, 2007

Thanks Chris. Chris, what kind of deadline do we have re. getting the money? sheila p

Chris Gallop <> wrote:

Hi Sheila,

I think Yves points 1-3 are all valid concerns (I have no idea about point 4, i'll ask the Parks staff). Yes, construction poses a risk to the trees and there are no guarantees, but deferring the maintenace has it's own risk that something could break with the pool at some point and it would be out of commission for a while. Also, for what it's worth, construction always costs more if you wait just because of construction cost inflation.

If the community wants to postpone the work until after the trees reach the end of their natural life, that is possible. What would happen in that case is that the funding for this project would go to the next pool down the list. The Dufferin Pool would likely get put at the bottom of the list and who knows when funding might again become available. Could be as long as 10-15 years, it's hard to say. In the meantime the City would do what we can in terms of basic maintenance to try to keep the pool in working condition before it reaches the end of its natural life.

Also, some of the other features of the design that are being piggy-backed on the state-of-good repair budget (e.g. the asphalt paths, the foot washing station, improved drainage for the sand pit, etc.) would no longer be possible to fund out of this budget. It might be possible to find money for some of these improvements in another budget, but it probably won't happen until after the current fiscal crisis is resolved at the earliest.

Chris Gallop
Constituency Assistant to:
Adam Giambrone

Hello Chris,

There was lots of lively discussion going on about this issue at the park around the wading pool and at Friday Night Supper tonight, and lots more to come in the next few days -- there will be plenty of comments to your office I'm sure -- including those I sent Yves and Sheila earlier, not sure they got published on this list....I've attached the park flyer that was printed this afternoon, with pro-reno on one side, anti-reno on the other.


Chris Gallop wrote:

If the work is going to happen this fall, a decision needs to be made very soon so the staff can get the project to tender and have enough time for the contractor to do the work before the winter arrives. So its great that people are having a vigorous and healthy debate about this right now. People should not delay in sending the Councillor their thoughts about this.

Chris Gallop
Constituency Assistant to:
Adam Giambrone
Toronto City Councillor

August 24, 2007

Hello Yves,

The engineer doing the audit was a nice man from a large American company with many offices worldwide: AEI He told me he knows nothing about wading pools. You seem to be saying that any engineer must be the authority. Did you mean that? Or is it just by definition: any structure over 50 years old MUST need to be replaced? Environmentally that is pretty tricky, isn't it? What to do with all that construction waste, from structures demolished just in case. The wading pool is a very material-rich structure. The lasting-ness of its concrete compares very favourably with the cracked concrete of the much more recently-built city rinks and their surroundings.

I have seen a lot of audits and a lot of lists during the time I've been involved with the park. I've had a lot of discussions with City plumbers and other trades, about what they think of these mass audits. I think we need to have a look at the audit (I'm hoping Chris can get it for us very soon). Let's look at it together (beside the pool) and you can tell everybody what you think on that basis...?


August 24, 2007

Hello Sheila,

It looks like this e-mail below has been cc'd to the whole Dufferin Grove Residents' association membership. If you feel like forwarding this response to the same list, I'd appreciate it:

1. The concrete pad for the wading pool is fine. The plumbing is bad. It needs to be repaired. No one is saying it shouldn't be. Wading pool staff have asked for this for almost ten years.

2. Despite the best care, if the concrete pad is ripped up, the City Forestry report says there is a chance at least one and maybe more of the four big shade trees will be damaged and require removal. A game of roulette?

3. re the children of Davenport (I assume this refers to Ward 18) deserving the best: there are quite nice, but mostly unshaded, wading pools at Carlton Park, Dovercourt Park, MacGregor Park, Campbell Park, Northumberland Park, and a splash pad at Perth Square. They get a fraction of the use of the Dufferin Grove wading pool. The SHADE of the big trees is why this wading pool is used so much.

4. the City's capital-cost debt is $2.3 billion, increased by close to a billion within the last five years. Any construction adds to that debt. Broken things (rusty pipes, non-functioning water fountains etc.) still need to be fixed, but that won't cost $250,000. Even permanently fusing the expansion joints on the wading pool surface costs less than $5000 and can be done by the City's own tech services staff.

Fiscal restraint helps the kids too -- the more money is borrowed for capital costs like this one, the more the interest payments are subtracted from the City's operating funds. Shortage of operating funds are what is closing the community centres on Mondays, and keeping outdoor rinks (including ours) closed for the whole month of December.


Subject: Re: Dufferin Grove wading pool

We very happy to hear that the Dufferin Grove Wading Pool was slated for a rebuild. It seems long overdue. In the July issue of the Park Newsletter (see link) we learned the pool was built in the 1950s and still had some original and “rusty pipes” in place. Jutta Mason provided an update on the community consultation meeting and it appeared there were real strides being made in innovative, ecologically-friendly pool improvements. The dollar amount attached to the project --$250,000 -- was printed with an (!) at the end. Sorry if we read this wrong, but the pool reno seemed like good news to us.

So why the about-face? Toronto’s not going to pull itself out of a half-billion dollar budget deficit by putting a wading pool project on hold. Even if it could, why should The City balance its budget on the backs of children in Davenport? If the City has money for this community, we shouldn’t be volunteering to give it away. I doubt that favour would ever be returned. If we pass that funding up now there is no way of knowing when, if ever, it would come around again.

We support all and any efforts to protect the existing trees around the pool area. Community members would certainly insist that every precaution be taken.

So many great things are happening at Dufferin Grove. Let’s not hurry to fall on our swords.

Irena Hrzina
Owin Lambeck
Havelock St. Residents

August 24, 2007

Jutta, who did you speak with on the pro-reno side to discuss the content of the flyer? It seems to me that the strongest support for the project came from the architect Yves Bonnardeaux who posted to the yahoo group the other day. Yet his comments were not on the flyer. It seems odd to me that the spokesperson for the "no side" (you) is the same person who put the flyer together, and then set up a "vote" with the councillor's office. Seems liked a rigged process to me. I am sure that is not what you intended, but that is what it looks like.

- BL

August 25, 2007

This was forwarded by Sheila:

'3. Why are people ignoring an engineer's report putting this pool ahead of others in the city for maintenance? It just does not make sense. Underground outdoor plumbing does not last forever.'

I would like this report to be widely available. As far as I am aware the report says the pool is in good shape except for plumbing. And maintenance is a very different thing from reconstruction.

I don't think we can discuss this issue properly unless we have this report in front of us.

I recall that after the meeting in June someone had mentioned they asked to see it and was told by the City that they would have to file a freedom of information request.

With so many people interested in this issue, that suggestion is not very sensible.

Adam, would you make this report available either online or in your constituency office so people can read the details? Thank you.

- K

August 25, 2007

Thank you to Sheila Pin for providing all the new information about the wading pool — and providing this forum for debate.

For the record, we whole-heartedly welcome the Dufferin Grove wading pool restoration and have every confidence that great care will be taken by the City during construction. We oppose any proposal suggesting the project be put on hold or the money diverted to another community. New information about the reno (see email string below) including insights from an architect as well as information from Councillor Giambrone’s Constituency Assistant about the consequences of putting this project on hold have only strengthened our belief that the project should proceed.

We encourage all community members to make their concerns and opinions known. Please email Councillor Giambrone and Dufferin Grove Park. This way we can at least be confident that an informed decision has been made, regardless of the final outcome.

Irena Hrzina
Owin Lambeck
Havelock St. Residents

August 25, 2007

Andrea Dawber is with Trees Davenport and has been planting trees all over the ward including Dufferin Grove I think.

Andrea, have you been following the debate about whether or not the DG wading pool should be rebuilt if the trees surrounding it are at risk from the reconstruction? Can you give us your opinion about it? t

thanks, sheila p

August 26 2007

Dear Coucillor Giambrone,

I was surprised to hear that the wading pool at Dufferin Grove park is scheduled for replacement. Although my children play there several times a week, I had not noticed that there was anything wrong with it. I acknowledge that there may be problems with the operation of it that I would not be aware of. I also know that capital items have a life span and it may be anticipated that the wading pool will fail in the near future; I suspect that this is what is driving the plan to replace it.

My primary concern is the trees that surround the pool. In addition to their intrinsic value, the shade they provide to the pool is almost unique in this city, and makes a tremendous difference to the park users. My understanding is that their safety cannot be guaranteed, and I think that is a big enough risk to justify a review of the plan.

I think the importance of the trees is worth a very serious evaluation of the replacement plan. The replacement should not be scheduled in accordance with a capital replacement plan based on lifespan predictions. Instead, the condition of this specific pool should be evaluated. If it can be repaired, that would be preferable as it would both save $ in a cash strapped city and secure the safety of the trees.

Andrea A., Gladstone Ave

August 28 2007

Dear Andrea,

Thank you for your email. Councillor Giambrone appreciates that you have taken to provide him with your thoughts about the proposed wading pool reconstruction project. You are correct that one of the main reasons this project has been proposed by Parks staff is to do with state-of-good-repair, lifespan predictions, and concern the pool might breakdown in the near future. The councillor will use your feedback to help him make a decision about whether or not the project should go ahead this fall. Our office will advise everyone who contacted us of his decision once it has been made.

August 26 2007

I would like this [audit] report to be widely available. As far as I am aware the report says the pool is in good shape except for plumbing. And maintenance is a very different thing from reconstruction.

I don't think we can discuss this issue properly unless we have this report in front of us.

I recall that after the meeting in June someone had mentioned they asked to see it and was told by the City that they would have to file a freedom of information request.

With so many people interested in this issue, that suggestion is not very sensible.

Adam, would you make this report available either online or in your constituency office so people can read the details? K.

August 26, 2007

Hi Adam & Chris,

This person makes a very good point. Can you please post a copy of the engineering report on the wading pool asap?

Thanks so much, Sheila Pin

August 27, 2007

As requested by several people, attached is a copy of the audit report for the Dufferin Grove wading pool for people to take a look at. We will also be sending it directly to anyone who requested it and posting it shortly at Please don't hesitate to share this information with anyone who might be interested.


Chris Gallop
Constituency Assistant to
Councillor Adam Giambrone

August 27 2007

Thanks, Chris for sending the audit report. It's more or less what I expected. I'm interested to see that the only "high priority" ranking here is the non-functioning water fountain! All the rest are labeled "average" or "low" priority.


1. re the pool details that got a "poor" rating:

(a) plumbing fixtures (replace them).

(b) Pool water supply/drainage (replace if possible -- but water supply works fine, drainage is slow but steady).

(c) Pool tank and deck -- I challenge the "poor" rating. The deck is excellent, as anyone can see who looks at it without the assumption that old is automatically bad. The expansion joints can be fused by tech services for $5000 if desired, but the pool does not leak.

(d) grounds/site work -- I guess they've never seen a sand-pit, but more grass can't happen there.

(e) barrier free entry and circulation -- most of the benches are moveable and do get moved often so the entry is more or less as people want it.

2. "fair" rating: water service, piping, pool piping, valves, drainage -- fix as much plumbing in the pit as possible and adapt the staff taps like they did at Carlton, Trinity and Grange wading pools -- all identical adaptations, right beside the original pits.

Walkways are okay and will always be sandy.

Site lighting was installed (or at least modified) in 1990 I think, not 1955.

Benches -- they're okay, and it's good that they're moveable.

3. Re the audit report "comments" section: the grass replacement suggestion is silly given the usage. (Grass over the sand-pit?)

The drinking fountain needs more than its button and pad repaired!!

The concrete floor is higher quality than the rink concrete, and does not need removal just because it's old. Old is good here, better quality than new! And no point repainting it -- the sand rubs off the paint in two weeks, as we found out. Those pools are not normally painted anyway, it was just an experiment by some local artists. The audit guy must have seen the last remains of paint and thought -- ahaa!

I understand that the audit suggestions are not the same as the very nice wading pool plan done by the architect. But at the end of the day, the trees have a good chance of being damaged, and the audit gives no urgent reason why the damage should be risked now.


Aug.28 2007

Hi Chris et al,

I had a quick look at the concept drawings, the arborist comments, and the conditions report, and have the following comments:

1. I have my doubts about the viability of the new 500sq.m. of grass around the pool; the sunlight will not get to it, people will walk all over it. I would suggest a ground cover to keep the dust down.

2. Given the police practice of racing through the park, I would suggest something else than the six foot wide asphalt pathway linking two streets. Accessible pathways don’t necessarily mean asphalt. It could be a number of things, like a limestone fines path, crushed slate (not designed for vehicular traffic).

3. In general, if maintenance including plumbing rejuvenation is possible without a wholesale removal of the concrete installation, that would be my preference. As they say: “it’s better to maintain than to repair, better to repair than to replace”.

Yves Bonnardeaux

Aug.28 2007

Dear Councillor Giambrone,

As long as no children are in danger of falling into cracks in the ground, we favour the lowest-impact intervention possible for the wading pool. By all means get the plumbing fixed. But the well-being of the trees must be the highest priority.

Seeing as we've been apprised of the naivete of thinking one budget line could spill over into another-- yet at the same time recalling that in the spate of info received there were some infrastructural other things on the table, though not which ones-- I would say also that we DO need: a path through the park and upgraded bathrooms (plus another bathroom, composting or otherwise). .

I can't resist commenting on budget crisis comments that have been made. While I understand that it will not be solved by reallocating this money, I do think that the wading pool issue is just the tip of the iceberg indicating poor big-picture planning and what I think of as juggernaut budgeting (budget lines are protected year after year by being carried over and rarely re-evaluated in light of relative or shifting priorities).

While I'm typing, please do whatever you can to keep the rinks open in December-- and November! It is a reprehensible idea to not have skating until January. Perhaps the Mayor and supporters are trying to make a point about the tax issue, but why not save that one for some other spending area, and in the case of the rinks make Jutta's point instead about replacing rote thinking with sensible rink policies that coincide with natural weather cycles and raise revenues to pay for operations.

Sincerely, Kathryn Scharf and family Gladstone Ave.

August 29, 2007

Hi all, I had a conversation with Andrea Dawber of Trees Here this morning. Andrea's organization plants trees in Toronto particularly Davenport I think.

Andrea says:

- yes, Norway Maples don't have long to live.

- if a tree is damaged and the contractor has to pay for it, need to put a timeline in the contract because often don't know a tree has been damaged until a year or two after the damage has occurred.

- given that most of the trees around the pool are Norway Maples, we may want to consider "thinning them out" anyway so that sunlight and rain could get to some newly planted trees. ie. begin now to create a successional tree canopy so that when the Norway Maples do die out, there are already new ones growing in to take their place.

Sheila p

August 29 2007

Re the trees around the wading pool: succession planting began two years ago all over Dufferin Grove Park including the wading pool/playground area, and new trees have gone in all around the playground. Although many new trees in Toronto parks died this summer because there were no provisions for watering them, happily we (volunteers plus rec staff) were able to water and mulch all the new trees at Dufferin and they are doing fine.

Prior to that, park friends have spent many years adding trees to Dufferin Grove Park during the ten-year hiatus when Forestry wasn't planting anything there. We have a good bunch of knowledgable folks including landscapers who have been practising tree stewardship at the park. Dufferin Grove rec staff have also kept a close eye on trees that are failing, if they're near program areas. Staff are in close contact with City foresters when there's a problem.

Norway maples have an AVERAGE lifespan of 50 to 60 years but they can last a good deal longer. When the shady giants are are ready to go (Forestry examined them very recently and said they're amazingly good), then people can figure out if it's time to borrow more money (the $250,000 for the wading pool project is borrowed money) to make a new pool. The trees should set the timing, not the capital budget system. The capital budget system is very problematic and has led Toronto into $2.3 billion debt (and rising). The huge interest from that debt comes 100% off the City's operating budget (over $200 million a year).

So you see there's a connection between capital expenditures, and the order to lock the rink for a month this winter, and locking the rec centres every Monday. It may be that the capital projects system will have to be revised very soon -- the city may have to cut up some of its credit cards.

As for "thinning" those big shady maples -- a landscaper recently suggested that the bit of water that has trickled through the expansion joints and around the pool's edge during all those years, has been taken up by the Norway maples' roots and that's what's made them so stately. It's an odd little ecosystem -- do we have the patience to wait on it?


August 29 2007, to poster authors (poster all over the park)

Hi there -- your park poster will be stapled to the wading pool information board tomorrow, in addition to the other places where you've put them up.

If you want to send me an e-copy, I can add it to the thread on the web site. Or maybe, Chris, you have a copy you can forward?

You will note on the web thread that Yves the architect has modified his position somewhat after reading the audit report.

It's hard to know whether folks who don't think as you do are really "a small but vocal group of opponents." But it's clear the councillor intends this to go ahead, so I'm guessing you're on the right side. I guess time will tell how small the opposition is, especially if the shade is gone for the next twenty years. Ditto for the optics when the capital budget gets into public discussion.


August 29 2007

Attached is a copy of the “Support a New Wading Pool For Dufferin Park” Poster.

Chris, I understand Councillor Giambrone might be making a decision this week about the pool. Would he be willing to wait a day or two to see if the poster campaign generates any response?

Yes, Yves has modified his position. However, his previous arguments on the pros of a pool reno still stand. He has presented some of the strongest reasons yet for embracing the pool rebuild.

I was delighted with Andrea Dawber’s response about poolside tree concerns. The possibility of creating a successional tree canopy was especially encouraging. This is the kind of tree management, planning and vision that will ensure beautiful shade trees for generations to come. I hope this eases the tree-safety concerns of some residents.

I have pasted Sheila Pin’s message about her conversation with Andrea below.

Irena Hrzina Havelock St. Resident








416 392-7012

Sincerely: Irena & Owin, Havelock St. Residents

August 31 2007

Hello Adam -- I'd like to give you a "yes - go ahead" vote re the renovations to the wading pool at Dufferin Grove Park. It's a wonderful project for the children in our neighbourhood.

Yours truly D.G. Gladstone Avenue.

Sept.2 2007

I have been following the online and in-person discussions regarding the wading/splash pool with great interest. Although I am sure my dog Oscar would love the opportunity to cool-off in the wading pool during the hot, muggy days of the summer, we have to limit our participation to watching the little tikes enjoying themselves in the water instead, which can be highly entertaining.

It is with great concern that I have received the news from those opposed to delaying the necessary repairs to the pool at this time. Although I too am firmly committed to doing all that we can to preserve the wonderful canopy above the wading pool, and indeed ensure the continued good health of all the trees in the Park, I also believe that we need to undertake these repairs now when we have the funds allocated by the City for this job. These funds will not simply be "rolled-over" and incorporated into the new budget from year to year until such time as we decide to proceed with the repairs; rather, if we don't use it, we lose it. My experience in working with other branches of government is that in many cases, those areas that fail to use the entire budget allocated to them in a fiscal year may be penalized by having their annual budget proposals reduced in the following year. This arises from a belief that the proposed budget may have been "padded", based on the prior years' results, and is therefore unrealistic.

It is my fervent hope that the work to the wading pool can be accomplished without damage to the surrounding trees, especially since their age will no doubt make them particularly vulnerable to any stress from the construction equipment required. Given the fact that demolition specialists can implode a building with minimal if any damage to the surrounding structures, I would hope that the same care could be afforded by the construction crews involved in repairing and restoring the wading pool. Although it may slow down the process, with the proper care and attention appropriate to undertaking work in a sensitive area, reconstruction could hopefully be accomplished to the satisfaction of all parties.

In conclusion, I believe it is imperative that we proceed now with the necessary repairs while we have the funding available.

C.K. Gladstone Ave.

Wading Pool Plans Finalized

Concrete pad stays, all other plans implemented

Councillor Giambrone circulated the following email throughout the community:

September 17, 2007

Dear residents,

I am writing to update you on the proposed wading pool renovation project for Dufferin Grove Park. At my request, Parks staff have now completed their review of all the feedback that people provided over the last few weeks. Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact my office to share your thoughts about this project.

Over recent weeks I've heard from people on both sides of this issue. To summarize, on the one hand some people thought the project should not go ahead at this time because they were very concerned about the potential impact of the construction on the health of the existing trees around the pool. Some people were also concerned that this capital expediture was not a good use of taxpayer money. On the other hand, some people thought this investment in the park should go ahead to ensure the pool would be in good working order for the children of our community. Some also wanted to make sure we didn't miss the opportunity to make some other improvements to the park, such as a new drinking fountain, asphalt paths, improved lighting, natural stone seat wall, new benches, a footwashing station, improved drainage and and additional tree planting.

Having now completed their review of everyone's feedback, Parks staff advise that, instead of completely replacing the concrete pad of the wading pool, another option would be to refurbish it. This would involve treating the concrete surface with a topical coating that would act both as waterproofing and give the entire slab a fresh uniform look. All other work on the pipes and the other features of the project could also go ahead as proposed. You can see the proposed layout for the project at

This change to the project would:

-eliminate the risk of any damage to the trees from the concrete replacement work -reduce the costs -ensure the pool stays in working order for our community's children -ensure the other features of the project can still go ahead

Parks staff also advise that the placement of the asphalt paths would be as far as possible from any existing trees to further minimize the risk to them. Furthermore, the Tree Protection Plan demanded by our Forestry staff would be in place throughout the project, with a trained arborist on site at all times.

If the community supports this option, at this point the City could begin the work in the late fall of this year and would likely complete the project in the spring of 2008, as soon as the weather permits.

Please don't hesitate to share this email with any of your neighbours who might be interested so as many people as possible can be informed. I look forward to hearing back from you with your comments on this option, either at or by phone at 416-392-7012.

Yours truly,


Adam Giambrone Toronto City Councillor Ward 18 Davenport Chair, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)

Toronto City Hall, Suite C42 100 Queen Street West Toronto ON M5H 2N2

(416) 392-7012

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