Tag Archives: civics

Work is underway at Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre

Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre has been shut down the past month, and will remain so until at least December, but I was pleased to see work has finally started on the ‘state of good repairs’.  I’m trying to bite my tongue as to why it was closed for a month before the work commenced though.

Joe Pace & Sons Contracting is doing the work.

They’ve erected a safety fence around the pool itself, since it’s empty you don’t want anyone falling in.

There are two of these lifter trucks on deck, I assume to get up to the ceiling to do the lights and ducts.

Oh, and it turns out I was wrong in my previous post when I said the sauna would not be fixed.  Councillor Filion‘s recent column in the North York Post stated that they were able to be ‘creative’ with the budget and it will return operational (until someone throws water on it again I suppose).

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Sample Letter to City Planning Division re objecting to a minor variance

A fuller blog post one day will be needed to discuss the strange world of ‘minor variances’ in the City of Toronto, but for now here is a letter I just wrote. I figured since it was written, and it’s public record for those that dig, I might as well include it here in case it’s of use to others to get an idea of what might be helpful to include.

City Planning Division
North York Civic Centre
5100 Yonge Street, Toronto ON M2N 5V7
Fax to: 416-395-7200

RE: File Number: A530/12NY to be heard at Public Hearing Wed September 12, 2012 10:00am

City Planners & Comittee of Adjustment Members,

I’m writing as a resident of Ellerslie Ave to express my views regarding the Minor Variances requested for 183 Ellerslie Ave under File Number A530/12NY. The request to exceed the permitted building length is, in my view, excessive, unpleasant, and grotesque. My original objects to A907/11NY from April still stand, and I include them below. I want to point out that the only two variances (A287/11NY July 2011, and UDCA-92-712 Jan 1993) for our street that were approved for a length longer than the requested length, where never built. If you allow this variance, and it is built, it will be the longest house on the street, on the narrowest lot size.
I do not believe any houses on the block are anywhere near as long as this proposal, and at over 42% (23.82m vs 16.8m) greater than the permitted length I think you’ll be setting a bad precedent for the neighbourhood if you allow it in its current design.

That section of the block, in the back, is serene. The generously deep lots allow for an experiencethat is rarely found in the city today giving views and sight lines that are pleasant and green. Allowing this house to extend to the purposed depth would obstruct and reduce this quality. I’d also be concerned with the effects on drainage in the space with that much more of the ground being covered.

Aesthetically, the proportions of the structure would be unsightly. It is one of the skinnier lots on the street, and having such a long depth, with a narrow width would be far from the ‘golden ratio’ that architects for thousands of years have found to instill beauty in our surroundings.

Thank you for considering my objections in your ruling,

Mr. Chris Nolan
–address omitted–

P.S. please send me a copy of the Decision to the above address.

Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre Shut Down Sept-Dec 2012

Our local city swimming pool, Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre, here in North York is shutting down for “state of good repairs” maintenance work.  We’ve known about the work for months now, but it’s still a shock to the routine we had the last 5 years.  In case you’re landing here trying to find info about the closure let’s see if I can summarize for you.

UPDATE: Jan 2 — The pool has not reopened as scheduled.  “Soon” is the time-frame given.

The pool itself has been open since 1985 and hasn’t had any major work done.  They have their twice yearly multi- week shutdown for cleaning and what not, but the larger systems need their up-keep too.  The work was first approved in the city budget back in 2004, so it’s my feeling that even some of the regular upkeep was not done with as much gusto as it could have been, knowing that the big project was eminent (in government timing anyway).

The official list of work being done is as follows:

State-of-good repair and renovation work. replacement of window seals, flashing and caulking; barrier-free upgrades to stairs and ramps in pool and recreation areas; barrier-free upgrades to reception millwork; replacement of exterior doors and hardware; replacement of acoustic panels in pool area; repair of water damage at pool area skylights; refurbishment of existing air-handling unit and controls; replacement of lighting in pool area, reception area and at exterior perimeter of building; upgrades to firm alarm and emergency lighting systems; safety equipment upgrades at filter room; removal of existing gas chlorine tanks and replacement with a liquid chlorine tank system with required sensors and exhaust.

The above is estimated to cost just a little over $1,000,000. I couldn’t find an estimate on how much revenue will be lost in the months of closure. Some of the regular pool patrons really hoped the sauna would get upgraded, but their petition to do so hasn’t seemed to change the 8-year-old budget. My big wish would be removal of the hair dryers in the change room. The decibels they pump out, not to mention the tremendous energy usage, is upsetting.

From what I’ve heard from staff, pool management will relocate to near-by offices for the interim (space available in North York Civic Centre and nearby Edithvale CC), while guard staff is left to fend for themselves.  Many have been hoping to hear from other pools in the city which require staff level adjustments but it seems most, if not none, have not heard about those positions.  I’m told they are guaranteed their positions come January, but how many people can go four months unemployed waiting for a layoff to end?  I should have inquired as to their EI eligibility.  It was unclear which category the recreation assistants fell into.  Pool maintenance staff is expected to stay involved in the repairs with the contractors.

Near by pools are:

  • Antibes CC – Located near Bathurst & Finch.  Lane swim, Senior Swim, and Lessons
  • Cummer Park CC – Located on Leslie at Cummer.  Lane swim, Preschool Swim, Aquafit, and Lessons
  • North Toronto Memorial Community Center – Located on Eglinton Ave. between Yonge & Avenue Road (probably the best option for subway user).  Lane swim, Aquafit, and Lessons.
  • Northview Heights SS – Located at Bathurst & Finch.  Lessons only.
  • North York YMCA – Located at Bayview and Sheppard.  If you want to go outside of the City’s system, this could be an option for you.

Note: People asked why I didn’t include the swimming pool at the Bathurst JCC/Prosserman Centre.  That’s because it was torn down and not rebuilt yet.

If you’re looking for the fitness classes that ran in the Multi-purpose room upstairs, they will be taking place at the Willowdale Lawn Bowling Club, across the street (west over Beecroft) and just south of the Cemetery.

All this info is from personal experience.  Always check with the city (Carol Bain) if you’re unsure of any thing and we’ll all cross our fingers they’ll stay on schedule and it won’t be April 2013 when we get back in to our favourite pool.

Personally, we’re going to try out the ‘Family Swim’ way out at Wallace Emerson CC as it’ll coincide with a homeschooler friendly drop-in program.  60mins transit vs 10minute walk is not something I look forward to.

A note I just sent to my city councilor

Councilor Filion,

A few complaints regarding city services.

The new garbage collection today… the recycling truck seems to be placing everyone’s bin on the road.  Taking it from their driveway, and returning it to the street.  Additionally, the green bins were all left on their side, not standing upright.

There is confusion over the hours of the swimming pool at Mitchell Field.  The city’s website said that the afternoon swim finishes at 4:35 (Update: I did this time from memory… the site at the moment says 4:25).  The sign on the door of the lifeguards office says 4:30. The flyer available at the community centre’s desk says 4:25.  The last time we were there we were asked by the lifeguard to leave at 4:20.  I wonder what their timesheets say?  Oh, and there was graffiti in the mens changeroom there as well.

Recently a contractor for the city drove their truck through Dempsey Park.  The morning after that big rain.  They sunk in the mud.  They tore up a large portion of the hill next to the kitchen garden, not to mention the compaction of the ground from the street through to the tree they were chopping.  The local gardener says there is nothing that can be done about it since it was a contractor which has no oversight and he doesn’t have anything in his budget to repair the damage.

Beecroft road is finally finished!?
The deck built as part of Canterbury Place Park overtop of the Creek exposure is shoddy (west side south of Churchill, north of Ellerslie).  Many of the pieces don’t line up, there are exposed edges that were never cut fully (i.e. waiting for something to snag on), and if you look underneath, one of the support beams does not connect — the cement pillar is there, and the wooden beam is there, but there is a 4 cm gap between the two.  Not to mention some trash from the construction (wood offcuts) that was thrown into the creek bed below.

Where’s the pride?

Chris ‘curmudgeon’ Nolan

Update: Here is the reply I received from John Filion on September 4.

Dear ‘Curmudgeon’ Chris,

Thanks for your comments, and sorry for the delay in responding to your e-mail. I share your sentiments and was, in fact, having a conversation on this point with a friend yesterday. Not that this makes the situation any better, but in my recent experience the same lack of pride in workmanship extends also to the private sector.

Please let my office know if the garbage situation has improved. The company that has the contract has been read the riot act by City staff and it is a changeover that we are watching closely.

Best wishes,

John