Living With Festivals in Woodbine Park #beachto

June 21, 2016 in Latest Community News Blog, Real Estate Blog

The festivals in Woodbine Park are in full swing.  Almost every weekend in the summer has an event in the park.  My family, along with many of our neighbours, enjoy living so close to the park and being able to walk across the street to watch and participate in events such as the Beaches Jazz Festival, Woofstock, Afrofest,  and one of my favourites,  Ribfest .  These events are free and welcoming to not just us as neighbours, but to all Torontonians.  Although the organizers of events pay for permits, somehow the City isn’t satisfied with its monetary return and has now deemed our neighbourhood park a saviour to its mismanagement of our tax dollars. That’s why they allowed Bestival, with its approximately $100 a day admission for each patron.

Our councillor was quoted in one of our local publications as saying that the revenue from renting the park to commercial event operators is a positive thing as the money would be reinvested in city parks.  Well, if you walked through Woodbine Park after Bestival, you’ll see that any profit the City made will have to be re-invested in the park just to bring it back to standard.  The heavy trucks, booths and other equipment have killed a lot of the grass and damaged the grounds. I wonder why we even have an irrigation system in the park now.  The whole area where concerts are held may as well be paved over.

Fences were also erected to keep us (and the wildlife) out days before the actual event.  Including the time it took to strike or tear down everything that made up Bestival, taxpayers weren’t allowed access to half the park for almost two weeks.  To top it off, City Parks employees were seen cleaning up and removing garbage from an event that was “commercial”.

Bestival organizers and those who attended, say it was amazing and hugely successful. But, is a large commercial event such as Bestival good for our neighbourhood?

About 15,000 people attended the event on each day.  The music was the loudest I have ever experienced in the 14 years I’ve lived in the neighbourhood and was non-stop from around Noon to 11:00pm on Saturday and from Noon to 10:00pm on Sunday.   It was so loud that my house shook.  I’m not exaggerating. The walls vibrated, we couldn’t hear the audio from our tv and were forced to close all of our windows during a beautiful weekend, just to have a conversation in our own home.

I called 311 to file a noise complaint. After being put on hold for about 5 minutes, I was told that the festival’s permit allowed them an exemption under the noise bylaw.  Why weren’t the residents of our neighbourhood informed about this? If we had known, we would have left town for the weekend.

When I moved into Woodbine Park, I knew the neighbourhood would be busy every weekend because of its close proximity to the beach. I knew it would attract tens of thousands of people on Victoria Day and Canada Day for the fireworks. As the park started being used each weekend for the different events, my family and most of my neighbours attended and participated in them. However, nothing prepared us for Bestival.

I want to congratulate the organizers and the city on the success of Bestival, but it’s too big and loud for our neighbourhood.  Please don’t come back next year. Go back to Toronto Island, or take it to a venue like Downsview Park, or Exhibition Place that can handle it.

You may or may not agree with me. In any case contact Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon 416-392-1376 or mmcmaho3@toronto.ca and give her your feedback on Bestival and any other events that are staged in the park.  If we don’t commend or complain, she’ll never know.

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