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Wong-Tam wants residents to 'occupy' Wellesley Park


Wong-Tam wants residents to 'occupy' Wellesley Park

Provincial minister Glen Murray and Toronto Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam want the lands at 11 Wellesley returned to the public.Google Maps view of the lands at 11 Wellesley St W. IMAGE 1 OF 2
A 'battle royale' to reclaim two-acre site at 11 Wellesley: Murray
Some provincial ministers are quietly working toward creating a large urban park on the provincially owned lands at 11 Wellesley St W, a two-acre site that stretches to Breadalbane St between Yonge and Bay streets.
The vacant area has languished behind construction hording for more than a decade but was once home to a beloved city skate park. The province took over the site in the 1980s in order to build a magnificent opera building, but that project was cancelled.
Parcels of the land were later sold to developers who built skyscrapers on its Bay St side. The remaining land is now co-owned by the province and Morguard, who have been mired in a legal dispute over further development.
Toronto Centre MPP and cabinet minister Glen Murray says he’s successfully lobbied cabinet to remove the site from the province’s for-sale list, but there remains considerable skepticism about turning the site – which he estimates could be worth $150 million – into a public park.
“The battle royale is going on in my own government on 11 Wellesley,” Murray told a Church-Wellesley Community Planning Meeting he cohosted with Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam on May 7.
“Mostly the battle is getting the development community engaged to step back,” Murray says. “Part of the challenge is how to disengage the partnership with Morguard, and part of that’s with reasonable agreements elsewhere.”
Murray later said that could involve the city or province allowing Morguard to develop properties elsewhere.
“It’ll take generosity on all sides to make it work,” he says.
But Wong-Tam says any compromise can’t involve the city being forced to pay for the land.
“Asking us to pay for it is ridiculous. All we want is a little park,” Wong-Tam says. “We have the money to design, build and maintain the park if the province will unlock that land.”
Wong-Tam publicly advocated for residents to force the issue by occupying the park themselves.
“If residents want to take charge, I say take down that fence,” she says. “For 10 years we’ve lived with that hording. For 10 years we could’ve had a park.”
Support for turning the site into a park is strong among community groups, Murray said. The plan has been endorsed by several neighbourhoood associations, including Church-Wellesley, Bay-Cloverhill and Greater Yorkville.
Murray says residents who want the site turned into a park should email him a testimonial that he can show to his cabinet colleagues. He says some other cabinet ministers, including Municipal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynne and Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli have expressed support for turning the land into a park.
Murray noted that the province is contributing to new park space along Toronto’s waterfront and in the newly developing West Don Lands neighbourhood, which he says will be 25 percent green space. He also noted that the province owns lands at Dundas and Jarvis streets.
Wong-Tam told attendees at the meeting that funding for renovations to Cawthra Park next to The 519 has been raised from $500,000 to $1 million, which will include improvements to the entrances, the AIDS memorial, the dog run and more pavement over the current grassy area.
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Wel Tsk Tsk
I always enjoy reading about myself when I care to discuss the topic here which is not too often, invariable some gay wag that doesn’t know me, never met me or met me once and formed an opinion then tries to out me with; conjecture, speculation, myths, lies and damn lies. It’s truly hilarious. As to accolades from Pride Toronto I don’t seek any, never have or any other organization for that matter, nor would accept any. I would like to thank Xtra for occasional publishing my comments from time to time in the newspaper edition.
Sour, sour grapes
Foolish old man Michael F. Pare is taking a swipe at everything to do with The LGBT Village and Pride, because he didn't get a special RSVP invitation as Pride Grand Marshal. Sour, sour grapes. His lips must be so puckered and pursed...Much more than usual...Tsk. Tsk.
Do we need another queer park?
Build a playground for neighbourhood children or maybe a miniature golf course. Oh throw in a wading pool, similar to the one behind Eaton's College. In one corner of the lot erect another statue to some obscure gay folk person. Get backbencher Glenn Murray to give the $400,000 cheque destined for Pride Toronto to pay for it all, this would be a good use of taxpayers’ money.
Nice, but...
Barry W Cook Thing is, if the massive towers get built nearby on Yonge (and with the towers already in place - including the height addition to Sutton Place)' this park will have almost no sunlight on it at all. I've said it before - are we aiming for the world's first 'mushroom and moss' park? Or are we going for paving stones, a couple of benches and a few super-robust seasonals in planters instead? It ain't big enough to be the City's Central Park and until we know the status of the towers along Yonge, a bit pointless. Maybe something wacky and creative along these lines, creating inexpensive living / studio / market opportunities would be a better fit - http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2012/05/shipping-container-city-boom/1983/
Wong, you are so Wong.
Gawd, I miss the days when the village was for Gays. Now we have little things like Wong Tam running around wanting to pave things. BTW how are you going to improve the Aids Memorial? Pave over it?
"Take down that fence....?"
What I hear is, ...can you please hem the pants about an inch.... Wong-Tam is hardly inspiring. She is so transparently running to become the next mayor it makes me ill. I wish she would just take her narcissistic head out of her ass and do some...oh I don't know....real work?
I guess this is a lot
easier of an issue rather than working towards something legitimate and dire such as affordable housing? Can I suggest they are nothing more than Political Pukes? Articles like this always make me feel the need to have a long, cleansing shower.
About time
Downtown residents pay some of the highest taxes in Toronto, while living with the highest density and (by Church and Wellesley) some of the smallest park area per capita...even though millions have been collected for parks through development charges. We deserve a park!
Thank God for the Cawthra park improvements, too! It needs some attention with the summer crowds laying waste to the turf. Lets just hope they put down any new sod AFTER Pride.
A waste of taxpayers' money
Any downtown park will just be occupied by street people asking for change, drunks sleeping on benches, mentally ill people ranting, etc. For example, take a walk through the Allen Gardens any evening. The only taxpayers who use downtown parks seem to be dog walkers. So, the province should not waste money making another park at 11 Wellesley Street West. Furthermore, Councillor Wong-Tam should not be gloating that city funding for renovations to Cawthra Park next to The 519 Community Services Centre has been raised from $500,000 to $1 million. That is a total waste of $1 million. Since Cawthra Park will continue to be the domain of street people regardless of any expensive renovations, it would be better to instead give the $1 million to The 519 on the condition that they use it for a free lunch progam for the street people who occupy Cawthra Park and the Allen Gardens.
"and more ...
"and more pavement over the current grassy area."..........."and more pavement over the current grassy area." You know, like where people actually ARE! FAIL!
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