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Thursday, July 21, 2011
Don't dump Riverdale Farm, city asked
TORONTO - Don’t sell the farm.
More than 100 speakers lined up Thursday to ask city councillors not to close Riverdale Farm or make other cuts suggested by the core services review of the $187-million worth of budgets overseen by the parks and environment committee.
The High Park Zoo and the Far Enough Farm on Toronto Island are also suggested for the chopping block along with shuttering the Toronto Environment Office and trimming back on grass cutting and snow removal in the city’s parks.
Anne Pastuszak, from the Riverdale Park West Improvement Planning committee, delivered a petition with 7,413 signatures asking the city to spare the Riverdale Farm.
She called the farm an “icon” that provides social benefits and increases the quality of life in the area.
“I believe that KPMG did what they were asked to do, they were asked to go line by line and identify a number that equaled a cost, they spent no time evaluating the benefits of the services,” she said. “They aren’t looking at the social benefits, the social determinants, the social value of health, so in effect they’ve done 50% of a cost-benefit analysis.”
The city shouldn’t make a decision to close the farm with only 50% of the information, Pastuszak said.
Deputy mayor Doug Holyday said council needs to look at everything within the city to find savings.
“There has to be (some cuts),” Holyday said, adding the service review has never been done before. “A lot of services being provided aren’t totally necessary.”