Leaside community fed up with playing field's deplorable conditions

Meeting April 29 at Leaside High School to hatch out a plan to improve notorious field

Meeting April 29 at Leaside High School to hatch out a plan to improve notorious field

When Gerard Steele’s eldest son began attending Leaside High School five years ago, it didn’t take long for the soccer coach to discover the sorry state of the school’s playing field.

“Absolutely disgusted” by the muddy, pothole-filled field —located on a portion of Talbot Park — Steele began asking questions, but it soon proved to be an exercise in futility, he says.

“Everybody blamed everybody else.”

Now, with another son attending the school, Steele’s not willing to let the problem slide.

“The kids at Leaside deserve better,” said Steele.

The community is trying to come up with solutions and improvements to the years-old problem at a public meeting being held at the school on April 29.

“This is a community issue,” said Steele who explained that the park is not just for the students but is used for various public recreational activities like jogging and dogwalking.

Poor drainage, holes and an uneven field have made the conditions so bad that Leaside’s rugby team travels to another field to play.
Steele said the condition of the grass is awful, and the entire field needs to be redone, not just a patchwork fix.

He noted the running track needs to be resurfaced, as the gravel is old and cracked. Like the playing field, it’s also a safety hazard, he says, and the scoreboard needs to be replaced.

Area councillor John Parker said he realizes there is a need to improve the field. He is also planning to attend the public meeting.

“The Leaside field is apparently notorious as one of the most dangerous fields in the city,” said Parker.

He said responsibility for maintaining the field is split between two organizations, the Toronto District School Board and Toronto Parks and Recreation. Both organizations need to find a balance in maintaining the field year round, he said.

Parker said he wants to get the field in proper working order before the next school season begins so it will be ready for teams.

Other field users scheduled to speak at the meeting include members from Leaside Baseball, the Leaside Soccer Club, Leaside Lawn Bowling Club and a representative from Toronto Parks and Rec.

About this article:

By: Shannon Vieira
Posted: Apr 22 2010 4:29 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto