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Fairfield Greenspace to Stay Green, With or Without Rob Ford

Monique D’Sa stands with her children in front of a newly revised banner on the north side of Fairfield Park.

Monique D’Sa is ecstatic. For more than a year, the Etobicoke resident and environmental chair of the West Kingsway Ratepayers’ Association (WKRA) has been campaigning to preserve a TDSB-owned parcel of green space that, over the past twenty years, has become a de facto part of Etobicoke’s Fairfield Park. In 2009, the school board declared the land surplus and instructed its real estate subsidiary, the Toronto Lands Corporation, to court developers and find a buyer, pushing the community to act.
Yesterday, D’Sa, the WKRA, and other concerned community members finally saw their efforts pay off. In one of its final sessions before the October 25 municipal elections, Toronto’s City Council passed a motion moved by Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore Councillor Peter Milczyn to acquire the land from the school board for $6.5 million (the price tag also includes an adjacent parking lot used by Fairfield Seniors Centre).
“The greenspace is a substantial field in an area that will experience substantial growth in population in the coming years,” Milczyn told Torontoist. “The potential of the open space to be actively used for recreational uses such as a soccer pitch will be essential to provide area residents with active parkland…I was not surprised by the Council support as…[the] councillors recognize the importance of protecting existing publicly owned green spaces.”
The final council vote: forty-three to one. Care to guess who voted against the motion? We’ll give you a hint: he hates spending.

A Rob Ford volunteer posing with a “Ford for Mayor” bumper sticker during a photo op at the WKRA’s “Save the Greenspace” rally on April 10, 2010.

Yes, mayoral candidate Rob Ford was the only councillor to vote against the motion. Normally, we’d just chalk this up to Ford’s penny pinching, sigh, and call it a day, but the Etobicoke North councillor’s vote wasn’t expected to go the way it did.
In mid-April, we attended the WRKA’s “Save the Greenspace” rally at Fairfield Park, and while Ford wasn’t able to make the festivities, he did send a contingent of his campaign workers to cook hot dogs, pose for photos, and distribute “Ford for Mayor” bumper stickers, which gave the impression that he supported the cause.
“I was surprised by councillor Ford’s lone dissenting vote,” Milczyn told us. “At the public rally…councillor Ford’s supporters were present expressing his support for the local community.”
Perhaps Ford later changed his mind, or his campaign didn’t know that he opposed the cause, or maybe he never intended to support it anyway. Unfortunately, we don’t know: we asked the Ford campaign to comment, but they didn’t respond to our inquires.
Ford likes to say that he’s “as honest as the days are long.” For the residents of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Wednesday’s vote would have been a great opportunity for him to prove it.
Photos by Stephen Michalowicz/Torontoist.


  • http://undefined EricSmith

    Ford likes to say that he’s “as honest as the days are long.”

    DISCLAIMER: Rob Ford’s honesty will vary according to the season. Please consult your almanac or a qualified astronomer before acting on statements or assurances given by Rob Ford. Except where such an exclusion is not permitted by law, Rob Ford’s reliability in the case of a solar eclipse is without guarantee or warranty of any kind.

  • W. K. Lis

    “In mid-April, … Ford wasn’t able to make the festivities, he did send a contingent of his campaign workers to cook hot dogs, pose for photos, and distribute “Ford for Mayor” bumper stickers, which gave the impression that he supported the cause.” I guess Ford was at his other full-time job at the time.

  • Stephen Michalowicz

    Actually, I think he was at a fundraiser in Scarborough.

  • http://undefined theFace

    Already a powerless loser, gosh, he’d make a great mayor.

  • thelemur

    Then maybe the developers should look at Douglas Ford Park (located near Rob Ford’s house and, yes, renamed after his father). Plenty of space there.

  • http://undefined CaligulaJones

    $6.5 million here, $3.5 million for a flagpole there…Let’s see, double the cost of the only rinks the city has planned to build in 40 years to over $80 million.
    And you guys still don’t understand why people are pissed off enough to vote for Ford?

  • http://undefined theFace

    $3.5 million for a flagpole? uh, last i heard that flag pole cost in the tens of thousands and ALL the money is coming from private donations, facts are for losers though….
    Also, it’s not “pissed” enough to vote for Ford, it’s dumb enough, and that is easily understood.
    Hockey sucks, btw, play soccer.

  • http://undefined theFace

    Rename is Choke Chubby Park.

  • http://undefined theFace

    You know what’s a huge waste of cash? Kids, let’s get rid of those freeloading SOB’s ASAP! Gravy train’s over kiddies, Rob Ford’s putting a stop to your freeloading right now.

  • http://undefined thelemur

    Everyone but Ford voted in favour, which means even his fellow penny-pincher Doug Holyday and the other few conservative councillors.
    It’s not a great piece of land for development.
    The flagpole is meant to be paid for by the Emery Village BIA – some 2500 businesses in a sprawling industrial area. So far only 40 people have shown up to the meetings. Somehow I don’t think it’s going to happen.

  • qviri

    How much do you think a new rink should cost, what are you basing this estimate on, and where would you like to place it?

  • http://undefined CaligulaJones

    Hmmm…facts, losers, who is who here?
    From the Star article, to which Torontoist linked just above here:
    the city would help purchase the 5-acre parcel of land and put up the pole — construction costs alone are up to $3.5 million, mostly for the use of five cranes, Mammoliti said
    Care to put that rather elusive second digit to your IQ in gear and try again?

  • http://undefined CaligulaJones

    Well, again, I’m just going by the Star’s article (see above). No, the flagpole isn’t going to cost $3.5 million (I’d try to explain “hyperbole” to the Face, but I don’t want to feed the troll). But without the flagpole? Why even have the park there?
    And you’re right, it ain’t gonna happen anyway. Mammoliti might get some sort of park, but, as usual, the city will end up picking most of the tab – the city can’t (yet) force BIAs to do stuff like this.

  • http://undefined dowlingm

    Fordistas better lay off Mammoliti’s phallic symbol ^H^H^H flag pole – he’s one of the few councillors who would be venal enough to sign up to a Ford executive.

  • http://undefined CaligulaJones

    My comment was directly related to the rink, that became a “quad”, which became a “stacked quad” which is supposed to be near the Don Roadway and Lakeshore.
    The city hasn’t built even a single rink in over 30 years. Some say 40. There is a lot of not-exactly overused land near the Don Roadway and Lakeshore. Seems a good place for at least one.
    But, no, go big or go home. Lets have four. No problem with that. Four is better than one. Unless, see above, the city has had trouble finding funding for ONE. And remember, it also couldn’t find $160,000 to keep the outdoor rinks open. Just a thought when you want to tell me that $160,000 in a $8 billion budget isn’t worth talking about.
    Then, the Christopher Humes of Toronto get all misty and stomp their Birkenstocks. The Horror, the Horror. Can’t have PARKING lots on sacred, but inexplicably not-exactly overused land. Hence the stacking.
    Something which really hasn’t been tried before, and even though the city was originally going to spend $34 million Fed dollars, the new design is…$88 million. You do the math. Especially in a city that has over $300 million of backlog on repairs to existing parks and rec. So, by all means, lets spend money on a new “beach”, but have washrooms at existing REAL beaches rivaling the the Worst Washroom in Scotland (re: Trainspotting).
    So, I think we go, literally, back to the drawing board, see what we can get for the original price, and if anyone wants another design, we institute a Hume Tax, where pretentious twits can pay for it themselves.
    BTW, I was at the Toronto and East York Community Council meeting for an eternity last Tuesday afternoon. One of the hippies thought that Exhibition Place would be a great place for the rink – especially because of that neato train that could run people around, like they have during the CNE…I mean, jeezus, get off the bong, dude…

  • http://undefined CaligulaJones

    Heh. Great point.
    But his ego is such that Ford could tell him to lay down so he could piss initials on his back, and he’s still want the job.

  • thelemur

    I was going by the latest Globe article on it, which seems a little confused: total cost of perhaps $10 million to be raised by the BIA, but with the city buying the land for $8 million … equals a $2-million pole?

  • http://undefined rich1299

    A huge ice rink complex just opened a couple years ago, I think it was, anyways much much less than 30 or 40 years ago, at the intersection of Kipling and New Toronto St. I know some of it was privately funded but I imagine the city contributed since its open to the community.
    The change in design to a stacked 4 ice pad arena had nothing to do with Hume, they changed it because the entire design team of Waterfront Toronto threatened to all quit if they went ahead with their plan of 4 ice pads all spread out surrounded my massive parking lots in an area that’s being planned to be very urban in nature, meaning relatively dense and compact, transit and pedestrian friendly. A massive sprawling ice arena surrounded by a massive parking lot has no place in such a setting, it’d effectively ruin it by creating a massive area of dead space just like having Yorkdale like parking lot on Queen St in Parkdale. It would have been a disaster if they went ahead with their original plans. They are building a large new neighbourhood from scratch in that area, its important that they get it right the first time so its a prosperous, healthy area when its finally all developed, just because there’s lots of space there now doesn’t mean its going to stay that way for long.

  • http://undefined joe pants

    OK lets hire somebody who says ok to everything…? And lets chastise him if he doesnt…
    That should make for a great city.
    Communities have to get involved to support whats important to them, its not up to Toronto tax payers to pay for everything, Its simply not possible.
    This man has to PRIORITIZE, like any family household or business, if not debt will ruin you like cancer. Community has to pick up the slack.
    Dont fall prey to people who will promise you everything, thats why Ford is your best bet he has the guts to do what is necessary.

  • thelemur

    No one’s expecting Ford or any other candidate to just ‘say ok to everything’. Ford gave the impression that he was sympathetic to keeping the park, then voted the other way.
    The community did get involved and made their views known: they wanted to keep the park instead of letting it be sold for a short-term gain, long-term loss. You can always build condos on it later, but I can’t recall the last time condos were replaced by a park.
    Rob Ford may run a business and he may want to run the city like one, but so far all he talks about is cutting costs (which is fine) and eliminating fees and taxes (which generate revenue). He hasn’t said a word about what will be done with the money saved or what will replace the lost revenue. Businesses need to spend money too – what would Rob Ford’s Toronto do with its money?
    In fact, no one seems to know what Rob Ford wants for Toronto. What’s his plan? Is he about anything other than money?

  • http://undefined General_Guy

    I am guessing that Ford would be happy Selling Parkland to met his budget goals.
    He did say that he would sell off property and also never gave any specifics.
    Going by his track record, I would expect that High Park, Toronto Islands, The Beach, Leslie Spit and other local parks will be for sale by Ford.
    If someone can direct me to any of his literature that indicates specific properties he is looking to sell it would help clarify, but until then I fully expect that Ford will start selling our public parks.