Riverdale Park West wading pool upgrade report

Local Interest

Riverdale Park West wading pool upgrade report

The City of Toronto held a public consultation meeting Jan. 15 at the Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club on Spuce Street to present options for a repair and refresh of the wading pool at Riverdale Park West. The building project is set to start in fall 2018, to be completed in time for the summer 2019. About two dozen residents attended and Ward 28 City Councillor Lucy Troisi and city staff were there to present the project and answer questions. CRA board director Carolyn Jarman attended and reports the following:

There are several reasons the current wading pool is in poor repair:
* centre turret is an obstruction for lifeguards;
* lids are in poor repair and are too heavy for students to be lifting;
* need to bring services up to the surface;
* need to replace entire concrete tank and apron around the tank.

Three design options

Each has various seating and shade options. All options need to meet AODA obligations for accessibility (therefore some seating must have backrests and arm rests, primary paths must be paved).

1. Large plaza area, shade umbrellas, seat walls with a mix of backs and backless;
2. No plaza; Muskoka deck chairs with umbrellas spread around; traditional park benches / memorial benches;
3. Irregular shape – no more circular pool; more tot room, less room for older kids and there’s more variety in depth. Single shade structure with benches.

There were many comments and questions from those attending the meeting. A sample:

What materials will be used? The pool will be concrete; rubber would become more slippery and need frequent replacement.

How deep will the pool be? The pool will not be deeper than the current design.

Design critiques

* Some people will object to the modern furniture – the Cabbagetown District Hertag Committee heritage will review the design
* Umbrellas obscure the line of sight
* Benches obscure the line of sight
* There will never be enough chairs/benches for all the caregivers/parents watching their kids; more chairs/benches equals less visibility for those on blankets behind the chairs 
* Parents want to be able to sit in the shade (may have small babies who will play on blankets and babies shouldn’t be in full sun) – keeping sight lines open is important
* Plaza – could we incorporate the design elements from the work that was done at the end of Carlton Street
* Picnic area: Some people wanted one, some didn’t
* Drinking fountain, with bottle filler – What about the dogs? Can’t have water fountain for dogs because it’s too close to the wading pool 

Other concerns

* Presence of benches or other “gathering spaces” that attract people who drink, smoke or engage in other “malarkey”. Some at the meeting want no benches or seating areas added  in the park, and others asked the wading pool be moved elsewhere in the park, but city staff said the location will not change.
* Garbage: Could garbage people look at improving design/services? Currently garbage bins are full, aren’t emptied often enough, and there aren’t enough of them.

In conclusion

People at the meeting preferred the third design (irregular shape) but without the sun shade proposed.

The line of sight is incredibly important to both parents (during the day use) and those concerned about malarkey happening at night.

Seating is important but should not be placed where it will block the pool’s visibility for the vast majority of parents/caregivers who sit on blankets on the grass.

For more information and to give further feedback, email nancy.chater@toronto.ca

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