Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth) and staff of the City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing joined members of the community today to officially open the new, one-hectare park that expands the former Joel Weeks Parkette and increases green space in the community.
“It’s wonderful to see the community come together to celebrate this great park. It’s truly the centrepiece of this regeneration of the community,” Councillor Fletcher told the attendees. “The expanded Joel Weeks Park was designed with input from the residents and is a great focal point for the neighbourhood. I congratulate everyone who worked so hard to make it happen.”
Councillor Norm Kelly (Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt), Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee, also expressed enthusiasm for this park project. Councillor Kelly said, “Two important components contributed to the expansion of this park: a land exchange with our partners at Toronto Community Housing and the permanent road closure of the former Carroll Street. Those components, along with $ 1.4 million – three-quarters of which was generated through development charges and the remainder through capital budgets – increased the available parkland while providing an improved planning framework for housing.”
The design of the new park is a welcome open space that pays homage to the nearby Don River in the design of areas for seating, strolling and playing. Three large planters help to define entrances to the park. All of the original trees were included in the new design and many trees were added. The park also features new bike racks, lighting and irrigation systems, and new community garden plots.
Children can enjoy the new playground’s play structure, swings, sand play and natural play features, as well as a water play area with water jets, a rivulet and a bridge. Parents can keep an eye on their children from the concrete beach in the water play area that also helps to anchor the urban river theme.
The basketball courts have been resurfaced and include sideline seating, improving the basketball experience for players and spectators alike.
“At Toronto Community Housing, we do more than just provide housing. We also work with partners to build healthy communities,” said Gene Jones, President and CEO of Toronto Community Housing. “Joel Weeks Park will be the heart of the new Rivertowne community. Toronto Community Housing was proud to provide the land and lead construction of the park. The result is a beautiful public space where residents can meet, garden and play.”
The Rivertowne community is Canada’s first public housing development rebuilt as a mixed-income community. The dynamic, new mixed-income neighbourhood demonstrates the success of partnering and community engagement to improve the city’s public housing and the quality of the community.
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