What to do about Byron

New lighting, crosswalks among ideas for renewed Byron Park. Photo by Andrea Tomkins.

A map showing a strip of the Byron Linear Park was filled with suggestions at a public meeting that took place at the Churchill Seniors’ Recreation Centre on October 7 – including play structures, a natural sitting area and a “Welcome to Westboro” sign.

Councillor Katherine Hobbs invited residents out to the meeting, where they could give feedback on improvements they would like to see on the Byron Linear Park west of Golden Avenue.

The funding comes from cash-in-lieu of parkland from developments in the area.

Hobbs said this would be the first meeting of many consultations with the community.

“We’re hoping to get as many recommendations as possible to contribute ideas to the parks people,” said Hobbs. “They will develop the plan, and that will start the consultation process. It’s an important park for people, and has become a really critical place for the Westboro Farmers’ Market.”

Hobbs said the meeting focused on that particular part of the park because of community feedback in Westboro, Westboro Beach and McKellar Heights.

But in addition to offering their park suggestions at the meeting, residents also voiced their concerns over the nearby Westboro Farmers’ Market that is run on the piece of land.

Many said they would like the new improvements to be related to the market.

“My eight-year-old was woken up by trucks at five in the morning,” said Westboro resident Emma Hancock, who lives very close to the cenotaph.

“There are trucks pulling up to unload under trees and damaging them, they are destroying the grass… kids can’t ride bikes or play in the street, and they can’t play in the Byron Linear Park.”

Other residents voiced their opinions about city planning procedures.

“I’m a bit surprised about this discussion, and perturbed by the very short notice that was given for this consultation,” said Westboro resident Charles Ficner. “I’m very troubled by what’s going on.”
Ficner added that he was tired of seeing plans being forced upon the community – using the example of the Byron Linear Park that runs behind the former convent development which developers are using as an access way.

Some residents also suggested crosswalks on Byron – particularly because the street has gotten much busier, and cars are driving faster.

Westboro resident Brian Seymour said he walked to the evening meeting through the park, and noticed there was no lighting.

“I’d like to see lighting,” Seymour said. “I find that it’s very dark when walking down the park at night.”

The Byron Linear Park, west of Golden Avenue, was up for discussion at a public meeting that took place at the Churchill Seniors’ Recreation Centre on October 7. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

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