The Five Year Parks Plan for Toronto – What does this mean for Dieppe Park?

I was flipping through the Parks, Forestry and Recreation pages on the City of Toronto website the other day and came across their recently approved Parks Plan.  While the devil is in the details, the plan isn’t too shabby, judging from their seven key guiding principles, presented below in shortened form.  The complete document can be found here.  Of particular interest to the Friends of Dieppe Park is item Six relating to community engagement.

The Parks Plan will be guided by seven key principles that were adopted by City Council in 2010:

1. Parks and Trails as City Infrastructure – The system of parks and trails is part of a continuous city-wide green space system that also includes the natural heritage system, publicly accessible open spaces and streetscapes.

2. Equitable Access for All Residents – Parks and trails must be accessible to all residents in all parts of the City and must respond to the needs of a diverse population regardless of age, level of ability, income or cultural background.

3. Nature in the City – Natural spaces should be protected, restored and expanded.

4. Place Making – Visual appeal and a high standard of quality must be emphasized in the planning, design and ongoing management of public parks.

5. Supporting a Diversity of Uses – Parks should be able to handle a variety of uses, appropriate to their location and park type, ranging from active use to passive use, as well as balancing natural areas, tree canopy, community events, urban agriculture and cultural expression.

6. Community Engagement and Partnerships – Community involvement, through stewardship and volunteering, should be encouraged to complement existing city resources. Additionally, engaging the community and business partners to complement existing funding should be explored and implemented.

[I’ve gone to the source document and expanded the Community section below, as this is of great interest to the Friends of Dieppe Park – Ed]

1. Engage the public and stakeholders in the planning and design of parks and trails.
Identify relevant community groups and special stakeholder groups to be included in regular PF&R communications and the consultation for all project scales and types Develop a consistent approach to communicating project information to the public and stakeholders and including them in planning and design processes.

2. Encourage volunteer participation and stewardship by local communities
Take advantage of opportunities for the participation of community groups to augment existing staff resources in the ongoing management and operation of parks and trails Develop a consistent approach to guide the activities of community groups as advisors and stewards in the management and operation of parks and trails city- wide

3. Build relationships with outside funding partners
Identify opportunities to build formal partnerships with corporate donors and foundations

4. Provide a comprehensive and inclusive program of communication with the public
Develop a comprehensive communications program to inform the public about current PF&R goals, strategies, projects and programs Make use of current media and technologies to reach as broad an audience as possible

Develop communications to reach all communities and diverse cultures and languages across the city Market the system of parks and trails to potential visitors outside the city to promote tourism

7. Environmental Goals and Practices – Environmentally responsible practices and green initiatives should be incorporated into the daily planning, design, operation and maintenance of City parks and trails.

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