Silverbirch Boathouse—-Moving Forward
Last Thursday we had a very exciting meeting about the Silverbirch Boathouse. The meeting was prompted by news from Parks Forestry & Recreation of a plan to increase public use of the site by issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a private operator to manage the facility. I asked that this process be slowed down and that the community be consulted.
What I Heard at the Meeting:
- There is no desire for a private entity inside the Silverbirch boathouse;
- As it stands today, the facility is not operating in a satisfactory way;
- An array of good ideas for how the facility could be run;
- Residents did not feel engaged in the process;
- Current permit holders deserve proper communication and process with respect to the future of the facility.
I was heartened by the high degree of passion and the numerous constructive plans that were offered. After hearing the views of permit holders and residents, I have asked that Parks Forestry & Recreation not issue a RFP and instead investigate options for enhancement and activation that respect the buildings users and heritage. And, Parks, Forestry & Recreation has agreed to do so. No changes will be made to the operation of the facility until Parks, Forestry & Recreation staff develop a strategy to better involve the community to devise a future course of action.
Plans for a RFP and the imminent cancellation of permits have been cancelled.
This decision will ensure that this quiet section of our community remains un-commercialized and peaceful now, and in the future.
I am cognizant that this important and historic building could be better managed by the City. The community wants the Silverbirch boathouse to be run more effectively and transparently, and I believe the answer to this problem is increased community involvement and guidance.
Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff will contact permit holders, keen residents and local community groups soon with a strategy for public input and consultation.