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Dear City of Toronto…

I need your assistance to help keep Trace Manes Park a jewel in our community. I’ve been cleaning it up for years. And lately I’ve given this matter a lot of thought. I know my requests may be complicated to implement, but they just make sense. I’m asking now because I won’t be here forever, I don’t know if anyone will pick up my legacy and I want the park and the Leaside community to be in good hands for future generations.

Here are my beefs:

First, I’m not sure if you know this, but a number of outdoor city workers and contractors smoke on the job and toss their cigarette butts onto our sidewalks and roadways. One day as I was passing by the trash bin on the Rumsey side of the park, I saw a butt, picked it up and deposited it into the receptacle. As I was walking away I noticed smoke beginning to curl up from inside the bin. Oops. It seems the butt was still lit! I quickly found a pail in the sand pile, filled it with water from the drinking fountain and doused the fire. Interestingly, and to his credit, a Toronto Hydro worker came over, claimed ownership of the butt and apologized for not putting it out and dropping it on the ground. Just as you want Toronto citizens to responsibly dispose of their butts, I ask that you do the same.

Second, would you ask the Parks, Forestry & Recreation (PF&R) outdoor maintenance staff to pick up litter before they mow the lawns please? There is nothing more aggravating and dangerous than picking up shredded paper and pop cans after a fresh mow.

Third, is it possible to post the pickup schedule for the park and street garbage and recycle bins? They are often overflowing so it would be helpful to know if I need to call 311 to have them emergency-emptied or if the scheduled date will be enforced.

Fourth, would you advise us when our streets will be swept? Many people do not have driveway parking or have multiple cars, so large parts of many streets cannot be swept and the debris builds up. If we knew when the street sweeping was scheduled we could jockey cars around and make it easier for you to do your job. One year a neighbour took it into his own hands and shoveled everything from his curbside onto the tree roots in the park. He called it “compost.” I suggested that if it was such good compost, why didn’t he put it in his own garden or put it out as yard waste. That conversation did not go well.

And lastly, I am asking that the facilities manager for Trace Manes Community Centre take responsibility for Trace Manes Park as a whole. Here are some of the activities I handle regularly where I could use help: picking up posters that fall off the two message boards; monitoring the sports fields permit holders and cleaning up after them or notifying them if the fields are not left clean; monitoring and cleaning up after community centre groups who smoke on the front lawn and drop their butts; keeping the community centre entrance, walkways and flower beds litter free; monitoring overflowing litter bins; arranging to have assorted large random items such as shopping carts and construction equipment picked up; and cleaning up the playground.

I realize this may be an indoor/outdoor workers union issue. However I’ve been told by management that, if asked, they could direct outdoor work to indoor staff. I hope you will consider my request because when the park looks bad it reflects poorly on the city and community centre staff. This attention would take less than an hour a day and would make Leasiders feel like the City cares about making a positive impact in our community.

Yours respectfully, Cheryl.