I believe the East Berm option is the best solution for the following reasons: 1) most economical because it only requires wood posts /wiring similar to existing fencing along service road running along Don River and gardens around the parkside. No other amenities are required or requested. There is no need for expensive amenities like special surface treatment, water fountains, benches, lighting standards, shade (trees, umbrellas), pipes, drainage, etc., compared to Underpass West OLA option (UPW) estimated to costs $500,000++ 2) low hanging fruit and low tech solution which can be implemented very quickly with signs and perhaps other minor changes compared to UPW which will be built in two phases over 3 years starting 2023 at the earliest and completed 2026 (TBD); 3) I completely understand TRCA’s mandate to protect the structural integrity of the Flood Plain Landform (FPL) by not allowing any structure to penetrate the berm. However, as mentioned, there already exists shallow wood posts/wiring along the service road and park gardens. Presumably the existing posts do not comprise the FPL therefore some new posts should not affect the FPL either. As per point 1, no amenities are necessary or requested that will breach the surface of the berm; 4) With all due respect, the City’s requirement for a fenced OLA is a bit of a red herring. A fence makes sense for safety and security reasons if an OLA is surrounded by public streets because of traffic, TTC vehicles, sidewalks, parking, traffic lights, etc. However this quiet location is bordered by a gated service road and a high ridge separating the meadow side from the parkside which is clearly delineated by a cement walking path from Bayview Avenue to the elevated playground area. You never seen families/kids playing, have picnics, sunbathing, reading on the meadowside so there is no need to separate the dog owners from other park users with a fence because there already exists a natural barrier between them. A good example/precedent of a naturalized OLA without a fence is Cherry Beach Park where natural wildlife, indigenous vegetation and dog users use the park harmoniously; 5) The OLA City Report requires the City to take into consideration the unique characteristics, size and topography of each park when considering new OLAs. I would submit a fence per say is not required taking everything into consideration. As a fall back, you could install fencing/wiring on the east side of the ridge walking path similar to fencing already installed around the park gardens; 5) formalizing the East Berm as an OLA avoids having to reduce other valuable park space to build an OLA somewhere else which will likely create issues with other park users.
The late Jane Jacobs, renowned urban planner and city builder believed the best/vibrant neighborhoods grow organically from the “ground up” and not from the “top down”. A great example is Kensington Market where local residents decided where is the best place to live, work and play. My wife, dog and I have lived in West Don Lands for over 5 years. We use the park multiple times every day. It is a fantastic park addressing many multiple uses. In most cases, local residents know what’s best for their neighbourhood. Based on our discussions and experience, I respectfully submit the large majority of the dog and non-dog owner have implicitly chosen East Berm as their preferred OLA location. The governing authorities (City, TRCA, WT) should listen to the residents and make this happen. Thank you for your consideration.