City: Programs, Policies & Procedures
posted April 14, 2005
Celos Launches EMERGENCY PLANS research
Remember the big BLACKOUT, when the power suddenly went out everywhere at 4.30 p.m. on Thursday August 14, 2003? Recall that in this area it didn't come back on until 9.20 the following Saturday morning? Remember that the elevators didn't work in most apartment buildings, and there was no running water above the 10th floor? Remember that car gas was hard to get and most stores ran out of batteries, and there began to be alarming bulletins about how low the water level was sinking in Toronto's reservoirs?
The park was a water source for nearby apartment dwellers. They came here with buckets and bottles and then hauled their water back home and up many flights of stairs. We tried to find out whether there was any help available for old people, but there was no number to get information. (The City's info-line did valiant service, but nobody told them anything either, and of course there was no web.) And once the power was back on, the City decided to close all libraries and community centres and turn off the lights on sports fields, to save power. With all the free stuff closed for three days after the blackout had ended, there was nothing to do during the heat wave except spend money at malls and buy cooling drinks at bars. That was dumb.
If there's another emergency, it might be good to be better prepared. Park staff intern Mayssan Shuja Uddin is preparing for a career in public states of emergency overseas. We thought we should use her talents while she's here. So in April and May, Mayssan will do some research. She'll try to find out more about the City's "Emergency Preparedness Committee," she'll research what other cities are doing, and she'll talk to people in the park about their ideas. In case something ever goes wrong again, shall we set up phone trees, register block captains, stockpile some basic supplies at the park, submit a better plan to the City, run a few helpful discussion groups? Mayssan may ask your opinion, if she comes across you in the park. We have a lot of collective experience in this neighborhood - some people living here come from very heavy situations. If you want to share your experience, you can reach Mayssan at 416 392-0913, or by e-mail at Mayssan@dufferinpark.ca.
See our Emergency Planning Research pages.
posted March 15, 2005
Breastfeeding and Human Rights in Public Spaces
On January 7, 2005, a volunteer spoke to a woman who appeared to be taking off her shirt in the park's crowded rink clubhouse, as she was preparing to breastfeed her baby. The request the volunteer made led the woman to make a now-well-known human rights complaint to the City, saying her right to breastfeed her baby had been challenged. An email storm broke out, and all kinds of questions arose.
We have assembled the material we collected during this time, and we will add to it as we learn more.
Read more >>
posted July 29, 2004
A Visit With the Judge
The honourable Patrick Lesage, retired judge and now in charge of a provincial review of the police complaints process, invited our follow-up research group to come to the Merriott Hotel on June 21 and tell him about our experiences. The conversation lasted for an hour and a half. The judge was surprised to hear about the frequent park drive-throughs by police cars, up on the grass and round and round the park, with the police often driving over the 10 km/hour speed limit. We recommended doing a pilot project here at Dufferin Grove Park, where there would be frank, mutually respectful discussion between police and affected park users of such issues soon after they occur, sponsored by the chief of police. However, it now appears that Chief Fantino will be replaced by a new chief. When that person begins his/her term, we'll approach them with our proposal.
posted March 1, 2004
Mayor David Miller's Inaugural Speech, December 2, 2003
"My friends, in this term of office, I will urge us as a Council to be thinking about our great city in terms of its neighbourhoods and its communities. The great urban thinker Jane Jacobs has always understood this -- that it is not roads, monuments, or office towers that are the central building blocks of cities -- it is our neighbourhoods." Read more >>