Lo­cals en­vi­sion new Rose­hill Reser­voir

City will be forced to re­move 55 trees for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion project

Midtown Post - - News | Neighbourhood - — Jasen Sag­man

For lo­cals liv­ing in the Yonge Street and St. Clair Av­enue area, the Rose­hill Reser­voir is first and fore­most their park. So when the Sum­mer­hill Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (SRA) heard the beloved green space would be torn apart for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work, they wanted to en­sure the com­mu­nity would have a say in its re­design.

The City of Toronto pro­posed a draft plan for the site by land­scape ar­chi­tects AE + Brodie & As­so­ci­ates. How­ever, Deb­o­rah Briggs, pres­i­dent of the SRA, said the com­mu­nity dis­agreed with cer­tain el­e­ments of the plan. So lo­cals ral­lied to form a group called the Rose­hill Vi­sion to come up with their own de­sign.

“This group is work­ing with coun­cil­lors [Kristyn Wong-Tam and Josh Mat­low], city staff and the com­mu­nity to de­velop a longterm vi­sion for the reser­voir to meet the needs of the sur­round­ing res­i­dents,” said Briggs.

Dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion made in Novem­ber, the group ar­gued the de­sign didn’t in­clude enough sport and play ar­eas and the wash­rooms were too far out of sight. But the main is­sue the group is look­ing to ad­dress is the im­pact con­struc­tion will have on the tree canopy.

“It is the ex­pec­ta­tion of the com­mu­nity that as few trees will be re­moved as pos­si­ble and those that are re­moved will be re­placed.”

Ac­cord­ing to Lyne Kyle, of Toronto Wa­ter, the City of Toronto will need to re­move ap­prox­i­mately 55 trees dur­ing the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process.

“Tree plant­ing on top of the reser­voir will not be per­mit­ted, in order to pro­tect the reser­voir’s roof struc­ture and new water­proof­ing mem­brane,” Kyle added.

Ward 27 coun­cil­lor Kristyn Wong-Tam has asked the group to keep that in mind dur­ing con­sul­ta­tions for the fi­nal vi­sion.

“A vi­sion rec­og­niz­ing that there are tech­ni­cal, phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions be­cause it is a reser­voir project and we’re build­ing not in un­lim­ited grow depth, but rather on top of a con­crete roof,” said Wong-Tam.

Wong-Tam said she em­pathizes with the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity but in­sisted the project is vi­tal.

“As the city builds around these types of in­fras­truc­ture pro­jects and in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion hap­pens, com­mu­nity mem­bers see it as strictly a park and per­haps do not rec­og­nize the im­por­tance of the wa­ter reser­voir com­po­nent,” she added.

The up­grades will take three years to com­plete and are nec­es­sary to en­sure the struc­tural in­tegrity of the reser­voir, ex­tend its ser­vice life and bring the in­fras­truc­ture back to a state of good re­pair.

A pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion is planned for the spring, with con­struc­tion slated for 2018.

ST. CLAIR AVE. Coun­cil­lors Josh Mat­low and Kristyn Wong-Tam are work­ing with res­i­dents to re­design the space over the reser­voir

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