It was a treat to read the comments of my friend and neighbour Michael Stevenson in last month’s Leaside Life. They reflected his unsurpassed passion for Howard Talbot Park and his determination to keep the pressure on me to implement effective measures to improve the condition of its playing fields.
I have written on this matter myself in past issues. I have discussed the condition of the fields at length with Michael – most often in chance encounters on the street – and have been part of at least one formal community meeting involving parks staff and him at which needs, objectives, and strategies were canvassed.
The challenges faced by Talbot Park’s playing fields are many, most notably the high degree of use that our community makes of them and the presence of a high water table lying just below the surface.
The football field and track, moreover, are both undersized – a by-product of the tight space in which they are situated.
Thoughts of major remedial work on the playing fields of Talbot Park were shelved while we waited for Metrolinx to let us know if it would require the space as a staging area for its Eglinton Crosstown.
Metrolinx having confirmed that its plans will not interfere with Talbot Park, I have directed the 2014 capital plan to include a review of options for reconstructing the football field and/or track in standard dimensions and to scope out steps aimed at addressing the challenges faced by the various playing surfaces.
This may include negotiations with the school board leading to a revised management agreement for the football field and track.
I have also assured Michael that I will arrange for the two of us to meet with the park superintendant so that he can deliver his advice on matters concerning the fields to the person in charge. It is possible that this meeting will have taken place before this column is published.