Members of the SVRA, Vermont Square Park Dog Off-Leash Association (DOA), City Staff from DOLA (Nancy Aranha and Tara Coley), our Park Supervisor, Brian Green, Nadia Blackburn (General Supervisor, Parks TEY), Bob Duguid and Gord Dol (Dol Turf Specialists) met in Vermont Square Park on April 26, 2018 to view existing conditions and discuss a plan to address issues of concern specific to the central field.
Those issues include: grading, drainage, sub surface soil conditions (the compacted soil and ways to improve those conditions) viable field covers and conditions around the stage including pronounced irrigation heads (tripping hazards).
- the high/heavy use of the field by humans and dogs,
- The intense compaction /conditions of the earth in the field area
- the effects of dog urine on grass,
- the impact of uses including dog activity on the field after a (heavy) rain and during the Spring thaw that damages plant root systems
A variety of field covers beyond sod (Kentucky Blue Grass) and grass were discussed along with the preference to ensure as much access to the field as possible during the spring and summer months.
Historically, although grass is the original ground cover for much of the southern portion of the park/the central field, it has never been successful over time//with heavy use of the central field (although it does grow elsewhere with relative success.) Instead, several native species such as Chickweed, Camomile and Plantain have established in the field and elsewhere with relative success. Unfortunately, since 2015, the ground/soil in the park’s central field has become incredibly compacted allowing the perfect conditions for Knotweed to take root. Knotweed is a highly invasive and noxious species that the City of Toronto strives to eliminate. It muscles out other species. It is an annual, meaning, the plant goes to seed then dies back in the fall and re-emerges in the spring leaving the area bare during the shoulder seasons.
The group decided the following plan for the Spring/May 2018
Beginning the week of May 14, 2018, Dol Turf Specialists will:
- Excavate around the stage and install 4″ depth of limestone screenings,
- Lower east CB frame and grate by 2″ / one ring,
- Grade out ponding areas and make adjustments to grade in the existing swales to ensure drainage flow to CB’s. Remove surplus excavated material from site,
- Core aerate the field to 6″ depth
- Seed with 3 way Ryegrass
- Set up “barriers” in area to be protected, not the entire field.
- Perform second round of aeration and slit seeding with ryegrass at future date 2018
- Every two weeks, Parks and/or community reps, or both, will relocate barriers to protect another section of field, and rotate the protection area around the field. This will gradually open up increasingly more field area within weeks of the start date.
***Top soil will be added if/as required
The main stage are and adjacent field area will be available for OPEN TUNING Festival 2018 use on June 9, 2018
PLEASE NOTE: During this time, the treed area east of the playground/stage and south of Bill Bolton Arena will be available for any off-leash activity.
The SVRA and VSP DOA will ensure messaging to the community is consistent and accurate. Signs will be posted at the park/on the fences around the site, email blasts, information on the SVRA website and Seaton Village and the Dog People Facebook group pages will be updated.
Other notes: future field upkeep and care is essential to the long-term success of the field. The SVRA and DOA + Park Staff will endeavour to find ways to curtail use of the field during the spring thaw, wet seasons, and after a (heavy rain.)