As you may have seen in the media, a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) skatepark was recently constructed in Ward 18 on a public right-of-way and road way at the western terminus of Paton Rd. After being made aware of this structure by community members and city staff, I sought clarification of the rules surrounding the building of the skatepark and the possibilities of keeping it but unfortunately the skatepark structure was demolished by City staff at a surprising speed.
City staff have advised that this construction/encroachment is not permitted as it is in direct contravention of the City's Street Bylaw Chapter 743 and have expressed serious safety and liability issues with having concrete ramping structures on the City's right-of-way/road allowance. Staff further expressed concerns about water run-off from the concrete surfaces and area drainage issues.
Staff noted that the elevated ramps of the skatepark adjacent to the rail corridor could more easier allow people to climb the fence and enter the rail corridor. In the medium term, this area will also form a new pedestrian connection on Paton Rd between both sides of the rail corridor as part of Metrolinx's Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project.
I have been in touch with the group that constructed the skatepark and at our November meeting of City Council we directed City staff from Parks, Forestry & Recreation to start discussions with this group and the Toronto Skateboard Advisory Committee to see how we can harness these energies and talents to fulfill their needs in the west-end of Toronto. To view the motion I moved at council, please click here.
At City Council we also voted to adopt Toronto's Skateboard Strategy to advance Toronto's network of skateboard facilities amenities and programs. You can view Toronto's Skateboard Strategy by clicking here.