The neighbourhoods surrounding Ramsden Park are densifying at a rapid pace. This has introduced many new users to the park, making the current revitalization both necessary and timely.
During the consultation process that lead up to the new park design, I spoke with many of you, who identified that the current access from Hillsboro Avenue is unsafe. You also let me know that, as this park entrance is very well-used, upgrades addressing safety are vitally important. The existing ramp does not meet current accessibility standards, as the slope is too steep; the existing staircase is also in poor condition and unsafe. It is vitally important that residents, of all levels of ability, are able to enter and use the park safely. This neighbourhood is home to a growing number of seniors and families. As such, the new Hillsboro entrance will feature a ramp that will allow easier access for residents with walkers, strollers, and mobility devices.
Park infrastructure is built for high-volume use and designed for a 50-year life span. The new ramp and stairs are designed to meet all requirements and to provide barrier-free access to the park. There is a significant grade at the park, spanning 9 metres from the bottom to the top. The new ramp will be 187 meters, and it requires 4 landings. The staircase includes 52 risers and 4 landings. Both stairs and ramp will be constructed of steel and situated above grade. Each will measure 2.1 meters wide with handrails on both sides.
I have heard from residents, living in close proximity to Hillsboro Avenue, who are concerned about the tree removals that are necessary to create an accessible entrance at this location. I would like to assure you that I am invested in maintaining and enhancing the city's canopy, as well as improving the access and aesthetics of Ramsden Park. Urban Forestry staff have identified that the trees slated for removal near the Hillsboro entrance are either invasive or in ill health. Ramsden Park will benefit from planting native species that will thrive over the long-term. There is a plan, in place, to undertake extensive tree planting in the current phase of construction. For every tree removed, three will be added to the Park. In all, 60 new trees will be introduced to the park during Phase 2 of construction.
Recognizing that there has been a significant period of time between the public consultation and the commencing of this work, I have asked the Parks department to provide a comprehensive update to the City's website and install appropriate, signage in the park, detailing the scope of the project. I know that many of you have questions, and I believe that it is important to ensure that they are answered. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any further concerns.
The City of Toronto's dedicated page for the Ramsden Park Revitalization Project may be accessed at here.