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EXCLUSIVE: Boundary confusion leaves daycare walkway snowed in

Last Updated Dec 28, 2017 at 11:21 pm EDT

It’s an 11-year mystery, one Toronto daycare said it hasn’t been able to solve. Who is in charge of maintaining a walkway that’s bordered by several facilities, including a city park and arena, a school and Hydro One wires?

Parents and staff at Red Apple Daycare say, for years they’ve been force to pave their own way through piles of snow and icy conditions. The daycare is inside St. John XXIII Catholic School, adjacent to the city’s Angela James Arena, and also bordered by Flemingdon Park.

Parents use the arena’s parking lot to pick-up and drop-off their kids, but say there’s great difficulty in doing that during the winter months because it’s never maintained.

“I don’t want this to be a constant battle, I want our children to be safe and I want people who are escorting our children to and from school to be safe,” parent Angelique Rouleau told CityNews.

“It’s a fundamental right for our kids to be in a safe environment when they go to school. That should include en-route as well.”

Rouleau, who has a four-year old son at the daycare, said parents use the arena parking-lot when pick ups and drop offs. She added that the other parking-lot on site is reserved for staff at the Catholic school, and vehicles aren’t permitted by law to stop at the in front of the school.

The daycare, which has been operating in the space for more than a decade and is attended by nearly 150 kids, said it’s been challenging to figure out who’s responsible for the walkway.

“Every time we’ve asked in the past, the Toronto Catholic District School Board said that’s not the boundary they adhere to and the City of Toronto has said the same thing,” Neena Locke, executive director of the Red Apple Day Care, said.

“So we’ve always had this issue in the winter-time — who’s going to plow that area? And we always had the same issues that we’re going through now, in terms of families now being able to walk down there and being a hazard.”

Both the City of Toronto’s Transportation Services and Park, Forestry and Recreation say the path is on the property of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and isn’t maintained by the city.

The school board is currently closed for the holidays, but CityNews was able to rely the parents and daycare’s concerns to a spokesperson, who said their on-call facilities team visited the site Thursday morning.

John Yan also added that though the walkway in question appears to be on the school board’s property, they would need to consult the official city registered plan for the site plan to verify those details.

“Regardless, the walkway is on the current snow plow map and the responsibility of the snow removal contractor assigned to St. John XXIII Catholic School,” Yan said in an email to CityNews.

“The contractor was immediately contacted this morning and told to remove the snow.”

By Thursday, the walkway had been cleared of the snow, ice and salted.