By QITING WANG
East Toronto’s Dentonia Park Golf Course will not only remain an 18-hole course, but it will also be a recreational community-shared green space.
The Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) recently released an open letter about the City of Toronto’s review of its five municipally owned golf courses, including Dentonia Park, which was considered by Toronto Council last month.
“To expand these golf course opportunities beyond golf operations so that this important public resource serves the greatest public interest,” proposed TEA in the letter.
At its Feb. 3 meeting, Toronto Council agreed with city staff’s recommendations to maintain golf course operations at all five courses it owns. Those courses are Dentonia Park (just north of Victoria Park Subway Station, Tam O’Shanter in northwest Scarborough, Don Valley near Yonge Street and Hwy. 401, Scarlett Woods near Jane Street and Eglinton Avenue, and Humber Valley in Etobicoke.
“This is the most inclusive and accessible golf course in Ontario, and keeping 18 holes is the best thing to do,” said a golfer commenting on Dentonia Park Golf Course.
Dentonia gives anyone a chance to learn the sport, and many people consider the 18-hole course desirable and affordable. “This is an opportunity to build and improve on the golf experience along with community integration to improve the quality of life for everyone,” said the golfer of the review of the municipal courses.
To broaden the vision for these municipal lands beyond just golf operations, add more recreational facilities and ensure that this important public resource serves the public good, said TEA.
“Initiate a master planning process for all of the city-owned golf parklands, starting with Dentonia Park, to create more equitable access to green space in these neighbourhoods and to better serve local priorities,” the TEA letter proposed.
Council took advice from community groups, and directed the city’s General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation to identify viable urban golf course locations and install recreational facilities such as temporary natural skating rinks and trails.
Council asked the General Manager “to report back on opportunities for trail connections between the Taylor Creek ravine and Dentonia Park Golf Course, referencing the work previously undertaken as part of the Taylor Creek Park Management Plan and the Taylor Creek Watershed Master Plan, by second quarter of 2023, and to seek out any opportunities to accelerate implementation based on additional Ravine Strategy funding from government partners.”
TEA called for the improved use of natural areas on which the golf courses are located. “Adopt best environmental practices and standards for golf course grounds and operations, ensure the natural infrastructure provided by these parklands, and maximize natural area restoration,” proposed TEA.
Council also directed Parks, Forestry and Recreation to prioritize opportunities for tree planting and natural-area restoration with a focus on native species, as part of capital works on the city-owned golf courses and reduce pesticide use in the maintenance of them.
Council also stated that in line with upholding Toronto’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples the city will empower Indigenous rights in decision-making about these golf course lands.