City of Toronto to address flooding in Riverdale Park West

Call it a good walk spoiled or simply make sure you have on waterproof footwear, because a stroll in Toronto’s Riverdale Park West will leave you not only soggy, but caked in mud if you’re not lucky.

The city said a nearby pond has exceeded its capacity, resulting in flooding that not only blocks the neighbouring footpath, but pools of water cover large swaths of the nearby field often occupied by dog walkers and softball teams.

“”It floods regularly,” said Lou Vavougis. “Every time there’s a heavy rain or when there’s a melt in the spring, it always seems to be a mess and doesn’t seem to drain very well either.”

While he wasn’t particularly fussed about walking through a large puddle, many have been finding creative ways to avoid soggy feet.

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Random pieces of debris, including bricks and wooden pallets, dot the path offering a haphazard obstacle course over the water. The path connects both sides of the park via a walking bridge over the Don Valley Parkway. Anyone looking for a dry, mud-free route, at least for the moment, is required to hop along the park jetsam.

Alex Vasilovsky took a brief break from his run to hop along the debris and while he wasn’t overly concerned about the inconvenience, he noted those with mobility issues wouldn’t fare as well on the route.

Wooden pallets and other debris have been placed on the path offering people a chance to leapfrog over the soggy route. Matthew Bingley/Global News

“It’s just an inconvenience in the sense that it slows down a run,” Vasilovsky said. “But I mean for people who actually need a clear path, I think it’s much worse for them.”

The issue doesn’t get much better with the road less travelled. Many park-goers, like Brian Banks, could be spotted walking along Bayview Avenue at the far perimeter. Unfortunately for Banks and his brand-new sneakers, the route wasn’t anymore dry or without mud.

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Brian Banks attempted to avoid the puddles by taking a long route around the park, only to ruin a brand new of sneakers which became coated in mud. Matthew Bingley/Global News

“I thought I could make it, stupid mistake,” said Banks, pointing to his mud-caked sneakers. “There should be a crew here right now because [teams] should soon be playing ball.

“This here, they could fix right now. It’s not a big job and so on and I don’t know what they’re doing.”

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Global News requested an interview with the city’s park’s department to address the mobility issues and frequency of the flooding, but no one was made available.

In an emailed statement, a Toronto spokesperson said both Toronto Water and Parks, Forestry & Recreation were aware of the flooding and will need four days of dry weather to drain a nearby pond to determine what is causing the issue.

That work, they said, is expected to begin early next week depending on weather conditions.

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