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At first glance Rowntree Mills Park seems like a fantastic green space in the Humber River Valley between Kipling and Islington Aves., just south of the Vaughan-Toronto border. The paved trail here meanders all the way to Lake Ontario along the river.
It should be an active hub, but in 2009 the local city councillor, Giorgio Mammoliti, had the park gates closed to cars, due to criminal activity and loud, rowdy parties where people would trash the park.
Closing Rowntree to cars it has turned a once-busy place into a nearly deserted expanse of grass and forests. In the midday sun, the empty parking lots and unused picnic tables have a spooky, too-quiet feeling, though many people live nearby.
We’re still a car city in many ways, especially here where distances are much greater than downtown. Cars facilitate the hundreds of weekend summer picnics that happen in parks across the city.
A group of youth from the nearby Delta Family Resource Centre’s SWAG (Students Working Together as a Group) environment club are hoping that policy toward this park changes.