$1 M donation to city for Earl Bales Park

by Allison Hanes (National Post) A $1-million donation to the city of Toronto is on its way to helping create an accessible water play area and sensory garden at Earl Bales Park in North York.

The parks and environment committee unanimously approved the donation for the project at today's meeting – as is city policy for gifts above $50,000 – calling it "wonderful" and "tremendous.

The money was pledged by Goldie Feldman to honour her late parents Morris and Sarah Feldman "in the hopes that it woudl allow the parks, forestry and recreation division to provide a new play facility for children and adults of all physical and cognitive skill and ability."

Once the donation is accepted by city council – another formality – the parks department will begin work on finding a design for the accessible play area through 2009. Construction would take place in 2010 and Toronto would then operate and maintain the new facilities.

Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto Danforth), chair of the parks committee, said the donation to fund the project is "exciting" for the expansive park on Bathurst St. north of the 401 that already has a ski hill.

"Earl Bales Park is truly a recognized destination for North York," she said. "It's very large and it attract people from a large area."

A city report said Toronto presently has no sensory garden and a limited number of accessible playgrounds.

A plaque honouring Ms. Feldman's parents will be erected in the new play area. Ms. Fletcher also moved a motion calling on the city to develop a uniform design for commemorative plaques.

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