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Part of Community Notebooks: Bake Ovens
From: Anna Bekerman
Date: September 13, 2007
We are writing in response to your messages from last Thursday and from Tuesday with regards to granting permission for a temporary oven cooking demonstration in Bell Manor Park.
Numerous bake oven projects currently operate successfully in Toronto Parks. The Stonegate Community Health Centre is collaborating with FoodShare, the Centre for Local Research into Public Space (CELOS), and the Toronto Neighbourhood Farmers Market Network, to operate demonstration bake ovens to support community health and nutrition through cooking demonstrations. Recently the same type of bake oven was approved by the Parks Department in Withrow Park. Bake ovens are an accepted, safe, and effective community-building activity which is often connected with neighbourhood events such as picnics and farmers' markets.
A further point needs to be clarified as we noticed in your latest email, that the bake oven has been lumped into a category with campfires as "open air burning" which is not accurate. The bake oven is a confined, supervised fire, and therefore doesn´t require the campfire approval procedure. None of the temporary or permanent bake ovens operating in the city have required permission from the fire department. Since the oven falls into the same category as a barbeque (small, confined, supervised fire), the park supervisor´s permission, along with a picnic permit, should be enough for the temporary oven at Bell Manor Park.
Bake ovens, both temporary and permanent, work towards the City and Parks goals to nurture public health, nutrition and community, and we believe are an important partnership opportunity for the Parks Department. This bake oven project will not have a negative impact on either the budget or property of the Parks Department.
We would like to have confirmation from Parks that the temporary ovens that have been requested can go ahead as outlined above. Please respond ASAP, as the dates for these activities are in late September.
From: Molly Elliott
Dear Jorge Ture, I am emailing to ask your permission to host an interactive cooking demonstration on September 19th at the Good Food Market we have been running in the Lakeshore Village Park on Garnett Janes Rd. in South Etobicoke. This would require us being at the park from 1pm to 8pm that day instead of the 3:30 to 7:30 time slot our current permit runs. It is my understanding that we do not need any special permits for this activity but simply the park supervisor's permission. Attached you will find outlined details of what this even requires. More information can be attained by contacting Anna Bekerman at email@example.com or Dufferin Grove Park staff.
This activity will be run by Staff and volunteers from Dufferin Grove Park and will involve cooking flatbreads topped with market produce in a portable brick bake oven. The set up allows for people to trade experiences of bake ovens "back home" and to get their hands doughy rolling out the flatbreads. It's a great experience for both children and adults. A visual representation of the mini oven and the activities that will be involved with it can be found under the "August" posting of the "Latest News and Announcements" section of this web site: http://withrowpark.ca/wiki/wiki.php
The Good Food Market that LAMP Community Health Centre and Food Share have been running in the Lakeshore Village Park has been extremely well received by a variety of community members; most notably the seniors that reside in the Toronto Community Housing building near by that otherwise have extreme difficulty traveling to the distant No Frills supermarket or cannot afford the prices at the closer RABBA market. This "mini oven" demonstration will be an excellent way for us to end our market season and thank all the community volunteers & customers for their dedication, support & hard work.
You consideration in this matter is appreciated.
From: Jorge Ture
Date: 9/11/2007 6:19 AM
Good Morning Mrs Elliot
Further to your email dated August 31, 2007 I offer the following information.
I have reviewed your request and consulted with the park supervisors for Dufferin Grove Park and Withrow Park. Please be advised that a park permit along with fire department approval will be required. Please contact our permits section for futher information.
As well I understand that a similar request has been directed to Ed Tralla, acting parks supevisor for Wards 3 &5 and by copy of this email I will notify him of this issue and my decision.
From: Molly Elliott
Date: September 11, 2007
Thank you for your email Mr. Ture. I just want to ensure I am understanding your email correctly in that you have granted permission for us to go ahead with the mini bake oven demonstration? Though I will need to get another park permit and fire department approval?
Date: september 11, 2007
Hello Molly, thanks for cc'ing me on this. It's confusing because
The requirements of the Ontario Fire Code do allow a small, confined fire, supervised at all times, and used to cook food on a grill or a barbecue and if this is the condition found at time of occurrence the Toronto Fire Services would not have any jurisdiction
ONTARIO FIRE CODE 184.108.40.206. "Open Air Burning shall not be permitted unless approved, or unless such burning consists of a small, confined fire, supervised at all times, and used to cook food on a grill or a barbeque."
An enclosed bake-oven is even safer than a grill or a barbecue, while still falling within the same legal category. This is why the recent Brickworks temporary oven needed no permission from the Fire Department, nor did the Withrow temporary oven, and neither do the five permanent outdoor bake ovens in Toronto parks. They do however need permission from Parks, which seems to be interested in making this process as time-consuming and difficult as possible. I have cc'd the Parks manager and the director on this to see if they might be willing to change their approach, assuming that their direction is a factor here.
Partnerships (to strengthen the community) work so much better if staff try to make things as easy and open as possible -- this seems to be poorly understood here. The fact that the bakers here are very experienced people who also work for the city as part-time recreation staff makes these blockages even more of a shame.... Hopefully the bureaucratic problems will be resolved before it's too late.
Dear Mrs. Bekerman
Although the location you are commenting on does not fall under my jurisdiction you have however copied me on this email therefore I offer the following comments.
Your opinion on what may or may not be required is appreciated and noted however approval from the fire department and our permit section s required along with approval from the area parks supervisor.
From: Jutta Mason
Date: September 13, 2007
I was also only cc'd but will add to your offering with some comments of my own --
1. Perhaps you would like to come and have a look at the market (and temporary bake oven) next Wednesday, to get a sense of what's happening there?
2. Your comments sound a bit heartless but I think that's just a side-effect of what happens in a big bureaucracy of 4110 positions and an operating budget of $303 million -- people get a little lost in it.
The Foodshare Good Food market run by the LAMP Health Centre has apparently had to pay $300 to Parks and Rec Permits Section to offer fresh produce at their little market table this summer, and now another $59 to add the bake oven demonstration.
Since city supervisors (like you) earn well over $80,000 a year, and your manager and director both got into the province's $100,000 club at $107,322 and $123,116 respectively, that extra LAMP market expense may not seem like much to any of you.
However, when one adds your 24% benefits and multiplies that by 225 Parks, Rec and Forestry management positions, it's easy to see why your Permits branch would be anxious to charge as much money as possible to little groups like this. As we know from the news, your division's payroll is not adequately covered by the $221 million tax allocation your division already receives from the city.
The problem is, charging $59 extra for a cooking demonstration for an already existing permit at a tiny produce market can seem a bit unreasonable, at least to people who are looking at the situation from an outside perspective. I mean people like -- for instance -- my 82-year-old mother, who lives in the subsidized housing just across from that little market. Her pension is about $12,000 a year, and she'll have to absorb the extra cost that LAMP will now have to charge for their fresh vegetables. Unless, of course, LAMP decides that the market is not worth the trouble it took to get all the permissions, and doesn't return next year.
That would be a pity. Come and have a look, and see if you agree!
From: Pat Profiti
Date September 17, 2007
As the Parks, Forestry & Recreation Supervisor of Customer Service for the Etobicoke/York District, and the person responsible for park permits in Etobicoke/York District, I'd like to provide some clarity and hopefully provide some guidance with respect to the number of emails recently transmitted regarding bake oven requests for Lakeshore Village and Bell Manor Park.
My goal, through this email, is to hopefully clarify some confusion and the 'log jam' of emails regarding the above-noted two requests for bake ovens.
With respect to the bake oven operation at Lakeshore Village Park I wish to confirm the following:
- a conditional letter and special event permit (#781989) was issued to Molly Elliot, representing LAMP Community Health Centre, to operate a Good Food Market as a special event from July 4 to September 19th
- a permit fee of $300.00 has been paid (no balance is owing for permit #781989) to cover the 12 week operation ($25 per week for park usage) of the food market. The recently added request of the bake oven has been added onto the special event permit - no other additional fee is required
- Jorge Ture, the Parks Supervisor, as per the description provided by Molly Elliot, has approved the request for a bake oven construction and placement in the park on September 19th
- Ken Macmillan, Captain, Toronto Fire Services, has also given consent to the oven operation on September 19th
With respect to the Bell Manor request I wish to confirm the following;
- permit requests for selling or serving of food are considered through our special event permit process.
- a special event application has not been submitted for this location as of yet. As such, I would like to ask that the attached application be completed for consideration. Please fax the completed application to myself at 416-394-8935 with details and specifics.
- that a similar request for a bake oven to the one at Lakeshore Village has been made of Ed Trella, Parks Supervisor for Bell Manor.
- when all the details are submitted the request will be sent to Glenn Misiurski, District Chief, Fire Prevention, for consent. From my discussion with Glenn on Friday, having the details of the bake oven reviewed provides the appropriate consultative process between yourself (the users), the Parks Supervisor (PFR representative) and the Fire Department. This will ensure that everyone remains informed and the city's best interests are maintained.
At this time, to move forward on these two requests, an updated special event permit with the bake oven permission will be faxed to Molly Elliot at LAMP. Anna Bekerman and I will discuss further the request for Bell Manor - Anna can you please call me with your phone number.
Thank you all for your understanding and patience in this matter.
From: Anna Bekerman
Date September 17, 2007
Pat, Further to our telephone conversation today, I´d like to request a picnic permit for Wednesday Sept 26 in Bell Manor Park, between 1 pm and 9 pm (including set up and take down). As with our last picnic in August, the Stonegate Health Centre will be open for washroom access. We will follow Public Health guidelines for proper food handling, and a handwashing station will be provided on site. The maximum attendance expected is 40 people. We would like to request permission to use a portable bake oven during this picnic. Attached please find additional information about the bake oven. Please note that we would set up the bake oven in the site that has been approved by the Fire Department for campfires.
Thank you for your help, and please let me know if any more information is needed,
From: Anna Bekerman
Date: September 18, 2007
Hi Julia, I just left you a phone message as well--Lucy from the Permits dept just called to set up the picnic permit for next Wednesday, I thought it made more sense for her to speak with you to arrange for payment (we can then decide how to pay for it between us) and to have the Stonegate CHC on the actual permit. They have approval from Ed Tralla, and they´re just waiting for approval from Fire. So she´s expecting an email from you to arrange for the permit. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and, in case you need it, her phone number is 416-394-8526. Please let me know how it goes, I´ll be at the park until about 2pm today. I´m sorry to say I won´t be able to come to the market anymore as I have a class on Tuesday evenings. I´ll miss all the loyal bread customers!
Parks and Rec and their NO's