ParkTales - Frances visits cuts targets

Frances shines light as Mayor Rob Ford victimizes Parkdale

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

Mayor Rob Ford you need to come to my community centre and my Parkdale Library.
 
Maybe then you will think twice about the cuts you are planning to these valuable community services.
 
We have just learned of proposed cuts to the Parkdale Library.
 
They include a 13 hour reduction in hours each week, fewer new titles and copies of books, audiobooks, DVDs and magazines.
 
Now to the Community Centre, another hub of activity in my community.
 
The place where everyone congregates, socializes, exercises, engages in sports, attend dance and yoga classes. The Women’s Centre where women can come and enjoy a free lunch and share experiences.
 
The Community Centre is a place where young people are drawn off the streets by using the facilities there. It's also the home of a prized basketball team.
 
 At the McCormick Community Centre, where I attend the seniors arthritis swim, I enjoy watching the daycare classes on the main floor. I always stop to watch the little ones laughing as they play together. A rainbow of different nationalities. A real United Nations.
 
As I was watching them one day it struck me. I hope this daycare centre is not one of the ones targeted by Mayor Ford’s  “Gravy Train”.
 
Curious, I asked the staff if the daycare was on the list and sure enough I was told that it was. The staff is collecting signatures from parents in hopes of saving the program.
 
The staff said it is a shame because grandparents bring their grandchildren, single parents depend on it, mothers on maternity leave use it.
 
“It is always packed, as you can see.”
 
I said please take my name I would like to help in any way I can to save this wonderful program.
 
On my way home I couldn’t help thinking about the consequences if the daycare was closed. I stopped to have a coffee and read the paper at my favorite café, Poor John's on Queen Street.
 
There in the Toronto Star I read confirmation that our Parkdale Library is going to have cuts to services.
 
I immediately went to the library to ask the staff about the situation.
 
They informed me that the library will be closed on Sundays and on other days the hours would be cut. This, in spite of the fact that the library is full all the time.
 
Students rely on the library as a place to study. Especially on Sundays when it is targeted to close.
 
All ages make full use of our Parkdale Library.
 
I can only conclude that Mayor Rob Ford has never been to a library or a community centre to observe what gems they are. What a service to the community they provide.
 
A six year old child expressed it well.
 
When I was attending the Occupy Toronto Demonstration in Toronto at City Hall Square, everyone was writing messages on the pavement in the square.
 
I noticed a six year old girl writing her slogan:
 
“Please Mister Mayor don’t cut our programs that will hurt. “
 
I smiled and congratulated her.
 
My Parkdale.

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