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March 10, 2010
Panellists “blue-sky” City’s green infrastructure
Today, members of the City’s Parks and Environment Committee listened to five expert panellists and shared their thoughts and visions for the future of the City’s parks system. This was in response to a staff report approved by Council in February, which calls for the development of a multi-year City-wide Parks Plan.

“A visionary and strategic approach to the development and management of our green infrastructure can have a profound effect - not only on the way a city performs, physically and economically, but also on the health of those who live and work there, said Councillor Paula Fletcher, Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth). “Today’s presentations have been inspiring and highlight the important contribution of our parks to the quality of life for all Torontonians. Our panellists focused on vision, innovation, artistry and engagement, themes that we will carry with us as we embark on the development of a Parks Plan for Toronto that will elevate our parks system to the next level.”

Each panellist brought their own unique perspective to today’s discussion. The panellists who addressed the committee were:
Luigi Ferrara - Director, Arts + Design, George Brown College
Jane Farrow - Executive Director, Jane’s Walk
Adele Freeman - Director, Watershed Management, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Uzma Shakir - Atkinson Economic Justice Fellow, Atkinson Foundation
Claire Hopkinson - Executive Director, Toronto Arts Council.

The Parks Plan will align service delivery with the social, economic and cultural needs of a diverse and changing population and will identify the role of parks and trails as key City infrastructure that is also part of the Toronto’s natural and environmental framework. The Plan will identify current and desired service levels; articulate the diverse needs for park-related services; provide a basis for decision-making and establish priorities and principles for investments.

Development of the Plan will engage staff, key stakeholders, and the broader community as part of a comprehensive consultation strategy. To guide the delivery of the Parks Plan, City Council has approved a set of principles:
1. Parks and Trails as City Infrastructure
2. Equitable Access for All Residents
3. Nature in the City
4. Place Making
5. Supporting a Diversity of Uses
6. Community Engagement and Partnerships
7. Environmental Goals and Practices.

Following consultation, the Parks Plan is expected to go forward to Council for consideration within the next year.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media contact:
Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation media line, 416-560-8726,



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