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February 13, 2004
City officials announce Withrow Park will remain closed
Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth) announced today that
officials from Toronto Parks and Recreation had accepted a recommendation from
Public Health staff to construct a secure barrier around Withrow Park and to
keep the park closed until further notice.

This action follows an event yesterday in which a potentially dangerous food
substance was uncovered in the snow by a dog. Withrow Park was closed to the
public 12 days ago following evidence of poisoning of numerous dogs.

Councillor Fletcher said that Parks staff will attempt to have a fence built
that allows for access to the clubhouse and rink facilities. "Public safety
comes first and while it is necessary to keep the park closed, we are hopeful
that we can open those facilities where there is no risk to public or animal

Reg Ayre, Manager of Healthy Environments at Toronto Public Health, reported
that test results from contaminated food samples collected last week confirmed
the presence of Carbofuran, a highly toxic pesticide. "We are asking everyone
to stay out of the park until we can provide assurances that there is no risk
of exposure to this dangerous chemical."

Don Boyle, Director of Parks and Recreation (South District), indicated that
work is underway to contract a supplier and begin construction of the fence.
"We are moving as quickly as we can to secure the park and to protect the
safety of residents and their pets. We recognize this is very disappointing
news to park users, but we want to make sure the park is safe before we
re-open, and we're hopeful we can provide access to the rink and clubhouse very

Councillor Fletcher thanked residents of the Withrow Park neighbourhood for
their co-operation. "Everyone has been very patient as we work together to
address a very difficult issue. City staff are working hard to ensure the
safety of the neighbourhod and we will continue to provide information updates
on a timely basis as we take these next steps."

Media contact:
Susan Sperling, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7974



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