Letter: Questions remain re: Kew refresh

It’s beginning to look like a beautiful new addition to Kew Gardens. Many of us, but not all, agreed that something should have been done to help our tired entrance to our beloved park. Thank you for the newly appointed Beach BIA and Mary Margaret McMahon for seeing this through. It was wonderful to see the gathering of children at the Halloween Party weeks ago. As the work at Kew Gardens is coming closer to completion, I, as well as other Beachers, wonder what happened to many of the features that were agreed upon for the proposed refresh.

There are many things missing from our agreement, including the amount of trees, signage, and finishing work. I personally find it upsetting and shocking that for $1,200,000 the cenotaph could not have been cleaned.

In my mind, if it had been finished as proposed and as had been agreed upon by the public, it would be much more appealing to the eye. There would also  be less scepticism throughout the community.

I have attempted to get information from Mayor John Tory, Siu Yu, City of Toronto, Senior Project Coordinator, Beaches BIA and Mary Margaret McMahon, who was the only one to reply. She has told me that “we are well aware of the outstanding issues with the new refresh and are working hard to install the final details. A couple of items will need to be installed in the warmer weather next spring.”

I have a few questions. What happened? Who authorized all these changes? With all these items missing from the publically agreed upon plans, how much cheaper is the final cost?

Clyde Robinson

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Absolutely not! Cleaning the Cenotaph would destroy its patina of charm to the structure and to the neighbourhood and should not be done. It’s not a piece of old furniture. It is a sobering reminder of those who sacrificed their lives, for us, on the alter of freedom in the service of Canada. It should be left alone to age naturally and gracefully and peacefully.

It’s fountain should be operationalized, currently it just collects garbage. During the consultation phase of the park refresh, I mentioned that several times. City staff told me the fountain was in working condition. I inspected it and found all the plumbing ripped out of it. I am grateful however, that the Monument was brought up-to-date with its new inscription.

Hello Bob,
By cleaning the Cenotaph, I was referring to the algae. I agree that the natural aging of the stone should be left to Mother Nature.
I have lived in the Beach for 35 years, and I can’t remember the fountain ever working, perhaps I just forget.. Have you pursued this issue of the fountain not working to Mary Margaret McMahon or the City staff that told you it was operational?

Thanks Clyde, I did mention it several times during the consultation process and said that it was disrespectful to the memory of veterans and the original Cenotaph donors to leave it the way it is.

If they don’t want to operationalize the fountain – and they should- then they should at least make a planter out of it. Currently it collects garbage. When I was a kid ( almost 60 years ago) I played in Kew and often drank from the fountain. So I know it was working and then we all noticed sometimes the water was on and sometimes off. So it became an unreliable source of refreshment.

At this point I think there is no budget available to fix it given the apparent cost over runs. Questions coming from more people, not just me, will get some attention and perhaps you could inquire as well. I certainly would appreciate it.

I forgot to mention that another missing item from what the public agreed to, and is on the final plans is a new water fountain-which was not installed?!?

Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion. Since you are so smart, I wonder why you didn’t notice “Honor” is the American spelling. Get a life and do something instead of tortured meaningless commenting.

Bob Murdoch-I’m shocked to hear about your comment about cost overruns. I had no idea, nor have I heard about it from anyone else, where did you hear this? Shame, shame, shame the taxpayers are getting burned once again, when in fact there are numerous deletions and deficiencies. $1,200,000 for what? Not only that, but this job dragged on so long, took the whole summer and still is not finished!?! MMM and a reporter from the Beach Metro are looking into this, we’ll see what happens. My original letter to the editor stated all these problems, however the end product was edited to the final copy of what we now read from the Beach Metro edition of January 12, 2017. I, also was expecting to see more of a subscription, and yes good eye for the misspelling of Honour. The new granite base for the Cenotaph is one of the many missing items that was proposed. There’s something going on with this entire project. Hopefully MMM and the Beach Metro will find out what’s going on and make things right, as we the public agreed to, through our consultations.

Hi Clyde-My area of concentration was to protect and update the Cenotaph. There was considerable denial about who actually owned the Cenotaph and therefore who was responsible for it. The fact that it was protected and NOT moved or relocated , and that it was updated pleased me and several others including most if not all of the members of the Royal Canadian Legion, so I m appreciative of MMM work. With the respect to the fountain it really should be operationalized or used for some meaningful purpose other than an ad hoc trash container. I recall, I think with some cautious accuracy and failing memory, reading about cost over runs in the BMN. All I can tell you is-I did bring this up a few times during the consultation phase. The staff told me the fountain was operationalized. I and one other person inspected the fountain and found the plumbing ripped out.

I think, as I have often said, those men and women in the service of our great nation, who sacrificed their lives, for us, on the alter of freedom expect and deserve the Cenotaph to be maintained properly in their memory. Certainly the ‘Beaches Businessmen’s Association” who donated the Cenotaph to the City on or about 1948 would.

Finally I felt from the beginning that the exercise was architect-driven and the Cenotaph was viewed as a piece of old furniture that needed to be moved to accommodate deck space. I want to be clear that MMM was and is very supportive of the monument and I don’t want to politicize a…

MMM has said that the initial $420K, went up to $720K and finally $1.2 Million once the designers and architects got involved.
Just so you know, this is what is missing from the publically agreed upon plans and pictures provided by the City.
Not as yet installed- drinking fountain, vine wall, tables and chairs, completion of electrical work, no artistic metal wall dedicated to Joseph Williams, granite base for Cenotaph, and as you say make the fountain operational, round instead of square metal grates around the trees(much better looking as it breaks up the square shapes of the paving stones, signage still has not gone up- especially to inform drivers NOT to drive on the new surface as it doesn’t have the proper foundation to support vehicles which has happened numerous times now, I don’t count 30 new mature trees, by aggregate pathways they meant ugly 3/4″ gravel?, new sod should have been laid where the detour path was.
I’m sorry, but I see things as black and white. What we agreed to and what we seem to be getting, well quite simply we’re not talking apples to apples here. As offered, MMM and the Beach Metro reporter will reveal what’s going on, hopefully sooner than later.

Clyde FYI: I think it important to note ( at least for my sanity) that initially the Cenotaph was in trouble. The architects wanted it moved and out-of-the-way. They wanted it pushed up against the fence and then someone wanted to pushed back down toward the pool area. Then there was the time consuming and extremely frustrating fight about ownership and responsibility. Even considering that the donor of the Cenotaph is recorded on the Cenotaph, the City insisted it was the property and responsibility of the Legion and then the Lions. I felt the architects and the City wanted to avoid any expenses associated with the movement of the Cenotaph. I felt the architects and some City staff regarded the Cenotaph as a nuisance. There is much more to this but I am running out of space and time……………………

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