Shout-Out To The Ward 33 Team! – Ward 33 E-Blast June 1st

Shout-out to the Ward 33 Team!

Can I brag about my wonderful Ward 33 Team? I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks. It takes a lot of prep to be ready for a police board meeting, a heavy council session agenda and the massive Consumers Next planning study going through Planning & Growth Committee. But the whole time I was engaged in these tasks, the @Ward33Team has been back and forth to the ward, planning and executing events, answering concerns and always applying a strong community and social development lens to everything they do.

Take a look at what Katherine Martin has to report on a great Participatory Budgeting (PB) ribbon cutting last weekend:

Fitness Park Ribbon Cutting!

Two years ago our PB Champion Walter submitted an idea for a fitness park in his local park.This past weekend we held the grand opening of our brand new adult Fitness Park located at Bellbury. We were joined by members of the PB Steering Committee, past PB champions and residents to celebrate the park. Members of Fairview Community Health Centre were on hand to guide us through some warm-up exercises and prepare us for a workout.

This year’s PB process starts in September but it is never too early to start thinking of project ideas.If you have an idea and want to stay connected reach out to our office. If you are interested in being part of outreach, vote days or just want more information on how you can be involved join us for our PB Volunteer Information Session June 12th 4:00 pm at Parkway Forest Community Centre.

PB Diaries will be back in July – stay tuned for updates on other PB projects!

Don’t be surprised to see me on that fitness equipment this summer. It is very versatile. Whether you are a PSW looking for low impact activities for your senior client, or a runner looking for a way to break up your routine with a bit of strength training, the signage at the park will show you safe ways to work out in the sun. Get Thee to Bellbury Park!

Katherine and I were joined at that joyous event by a summer addition to our team, Jordan Celotto, who is with us as part of the City’s Indigenous Internship program. Jordan has already proven to be a valuable and fun addition to the team and will learn a tremendous amount by shadowing Katherine through the files she leads such as Participatory Budgeting and liaising with the Fairview Interagency Network.

As soon as the opening of Walter’s fitness park project was complete, Shawna Teper, my executive assistant and team manager convened a meeting of City Parks Capital staff to get updates on all outstanding parks projects in our ward. I rushed into the middle of the meeting from Planning & Growth Committee to find they had already calendarized and applied the funding to parks improvements across 2017, 2018 and 2019. There is a lot coming through a combination of Participatory Budgeting winning projects, growth projects funded from development and some much-needed state-of-good-repair. Shawna and Katherine had done an excellent job of incorporating the input we get from you all year as you use our parks, all I needed to do was tweak a little. We will be highlighting this work in future columns over the summer.

The team also does its best to encourage interested community members to join in the accomplishments. Lately, Katherine has been teaming up with a young constituent with a great future and a real interest in community building. Mustapha Khamissa is a busy U of T student whom I met on Twitter. Sometimes that’s where we connect with residents right here in the ward. When time permits, Mustapha’s joins our Participatory Budgeting efforts. Volunteering as a facilitator with the Ward 33 team is skill building that Mustapha will use in whatever exciting venture he embarks upon. He was with Katherine and I when we met with a new community group with a great purpose. Here’s the report:

Friends of Parkway Forest Park

This past Monday I attended a brainstorming meeting for one of our wonderful new community groups, The Friends of Parkway Forest Park. The meeting was a great opportunity start to planning for summer in the park. If you are interested in hosting a picnic, movie night, or community event in your local park this summer now is the time to start planning!

Park People have a number of great resources to help get you started and my office can guide you through the process.

Check out the Friends of Parkway Forest Park
on Facebook here:

Mustapha sharing ideas on improvements to Parkway Forest Park

This week’s column was inspired by some very kind comments from a couple at the fitness park opening. They warmly shook my hand, wished me luck for the future and then proceeded to thank me for so many things I have done in the ward over the years. I have to change the ‘me’ and the ‘I’ to ‘we’. Everything that happens in Ward 33 happens because of a ‘we’ made up of Shawna Teper, Katherine Martin, Tom Gleason and Jordan Celotto, and spectacular volunteers too numerous to mention just like Walter or Mustapha and then, only then, me. There are lots of summer events coming up where you will see us all. When you see a team member popping popcorn, or running a meeting or answering your complaint take a moment to say, “Thanks, Team!”