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October 18/07 10:43 am - Centennial Park Master Plan Meeting (Toronto)


Posted by Editor on 10/18/07
 

Centennial Park Master Plan Meeting (Toronto) - Please Attend!

Parks, Forestry and Recreation will be holding a public meeting for interested citizens regarding the new Masterplan for Centennial Park on November 1st at 6:00 pm. The Master Plan will include a concept plan and detailed multi-year implementation strategy for the revitalization of the entire 525-acre site as a public community recreation facility.

TCAT has learned that the plans do not currently incorporate the needs of cyclists - a proposed loop for bike races was opposed by staff and there is little to no bike parking. Also, the trail link across Etobicoke Creek into Mississauga is opposed by staff.

Date: Thursday, November 1st
Time: 6:00pm.
Location: Centennial Park Olympium, 2nd floor, 590 Rathburn Road, just West of Renforth Road

Agenda:
• Open House at 6:00 PM
• Presentation at 6:30 PM
• Workshop to follow presentation
• Wrap-up at 8:00.

For more information on the master plan and consultation process, visit www.toronto.ca/parks/parks_gardens/centennial.htm.


We need to pack this room with cyclists supporting the attached proposal (or something like it). Please pass this on to as many cyclists as possible. Below is the proposal for the Toronto Cycling Training Facility envisioned for Centennial Park, Toronto. For more info, please contact Craig Fagan at cfagan@sympatico.ca

Cycling Proposal

View Diagram

You will notice that much of the proposed facility utilizes the existing gravel road system with some new path and a BMX track within the hydro right of way, a new climb/descent from the top of the ski hill which also follows existing tails and the extension of the Chalet patio for another 5 metres outside of the existing fencing so that we can connect to the north and south side roadways.

Note: Cross-country mountain bike trails need to be added to the proposal but I do not have the practical experience to direct where they should go or how they should appear, except to say they need to be wide enough to enable pedestrians and cyclists to pass each other (the problem identified with many existing trails). Utilizing portions of the Etobicoke Creek ravine require approval of the conservation authority. Such approval may be possible but are not part of the new master plan for Centennial Park.

Road and Recreation: You will also notice that the roadway system offers choice, so that not only can multiple programs occur at the same time but also there is enough option to train on a different course each week.

Cyclo-Cross: Continue as we currently do, except with more lighting in the flats to enable longer and flatter courses.

BMX: A track to UCI standards to be built within the new paved area of the currently un-utilized hydro corridor.

Trick BMX: could be added anywhere within the road course, but not currently part of CCA's insurance program and thus may cause liability issues if participants of an OCA sanctioned program utilize it. Also neighbours tend to have mistaken attitudes of Trick BMX athletes.

Track: excluded at this time but may be added in the future after we have proven that these facilities get significant usage to warrant considering taking the financial and usage risk that a track would entail.

Why this side of the park?
• The ski chalet is under-utilized in the non-snow months... cycling would give this 2 level facility additional usage such as classrooms, weight-room and even the patio could be licenced for select races. The absence of a dry lit location is a hindrance to running cycling day camps, the ski chalet is a perfect base of operations/rain-day location for them.
• There is concern by other park users of conflict between fast-moving cyclists and picnickers, soccer, cricket and baseball players. Being over here we don't negatively impact them, which means we won't need as many marshals and set-up would be a lot less effort.
• There is nothing environmentally sensitive in this area and our courses can easily manoeuvre around hydro towers and other park users like the community garden plots.
• Washroom and water for bike wash are currently in place and just require minor alteration.

Needs:
• All areas identified by double yellow to be asphalt surfaced with photo-cell street lamps on a timer system to enable evening use of the facility.
• A 250m, 333m or 500m inside diameter 5m to 7m wide paved surface with slightly raised banks circle for both track-cycling training and interval training. Size is determined by whichever size would fit within the width of the hydro right of way. (Note: We utilized the model airplane circle for 2-up pursuits as part of our youth cycling program this past May and June; the kids loved it!)
• Adding showers to the ski centre's chalet and exterior access public washrooms
• No un-fenced leash-free dog areas within the course or adjacent to it. As existing programming proves, other park usage is compatible with cycling.

Usage:
• There is no safe pace for children to learn how to bike ride; this path system would give them such a place.
• There is no regular-fixed place for cyclists to learn how to race their bicycle.
• 43% of adults ride bicycles on a monthly basis, the vast majority youth 6 to 18 do so on a daily basis. Just as the City has built infrastructure for soccer, baseball, hockey, swimming, cricket to enable people to move from the unstructured neighbourhood empty lots and the rivers and lake to a structured training-playing facility so to does cycling (BMX, road, cross-country mountain biking and cycle cross) need such a facility. The absence of such is a significant hindrance to the growth of the sport. This facility would go a long way to correcting this omission.
• The Midweek Club currently runs Monday and Tuesday evening programming from April to September; we would move our existing programming into the park, other clubs may do likewise. And Midweek would expand its programming to include a summer day program for children and youth.
• This facility would enable a group like Midweek to host Friday night races under the lights from May until Labour Day like is done in major cities around the world.
• Midweek currently runs a Tuesday night cyclo-cross program on the ski hill from September until December (or the ski hill opens, whichever comes first). We would expand programming to a second night each week.
• Midweek currently host International Ranked Cyclo-cross races within the facility each November; the goal is to move these up to World Cup status within 5 years. (This year is the 12th year of such races occurring at Centennial.)
• Other cycling disciplines (BMX, mountain and recreational) requires safe, traffic-free space, this would supply it
• It is estimated this facility would be used daily by novices to internationally ranked cyclists to usage levels matching those of Centennial's soccer and baseball fields.

Funding:
It is estimated the cost to do this work is between $0.75 million and $1.5 million. While it would be nice to do it all at once, phasing-in is possible. Since Midweek has a decade-long track record delivering programming we are eligible for Federal grants and Trillium funds for facility upgrades. Other grants and donations may also be available. Plus we can fundraise to deliver the 1/3rd corporate support ($250,000 to $500,000) needed to access Federal and Trillium dollars. Such corporate funds may seem high, when you consider the corporate funds that enabled the national tennis centre this goal is small potatoes.

 


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