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Rink Diary 2010 - 2011

Saturday November 13, 2010

There's a deep construction pit to the south of the rink. The ad billboards say it's going to be Canada's tallest condominium building, called Aura, by the Canderel Stoneridge Company. Three bedroom apartments start at $1 million, a parking spot starts at $45,000.

The website advertises the park as one of the buildings important amenities, "a three-acre oasis to call your own," and says the company will collaborate with the City of Toronto to undertake "a total rejuvenation of the park." Both the pit and the rink show up on their "live image" from their webcam.

It will be interesting to see what they come up with, and whether the City can negotiate an ongoing maintenance fund. Right now, the stucco is peeling, the strange plastic windows are yellowing, and the "rink opening sign" from five years ago still has not been replaced.


stucco peeling off rink change house

the big construction pit on the south side

late-night hockey bothered the apartment residents last season

opening date sign from five years ago, still up

This rink has consistently experienced problems with the cooling plant, which is always said to be on its last legs and then reviving. For sure the rink is an orphan, and if the condo company want to take it over, it has to be an improvement. At the moment, homeless people come there on warm days, to sit on the benches. The owners of million dollar apartments and homeless people -- that would make in interesting interface.

Saturday December 4, 2010

Weather: high minus 1, low minus 6 , cloudy

College Park rink doesn't look like it's seen a zamboni yet, but the ice is thick and it looks like it's ready to go. However the rink house was locked. There was no sign on the rink house doors, but an old sign from four years ago, never removed from the railing, says the rink will open Dec.98, "weather permitting."

Just south of the rink is the huge condo building site.


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Wed, Dec 8, 2010

1:24 PM, letter from Rink manager James Dann to: 52 Division/David Belluomini Intercon security

Please see the following letter in reference to Barbara Ann Scott after hour shinny hockey playing.

We are hoping that you'll be able to assist us in eliminating this disruption to residents.

Please don't hesitate to contact me should you require any further detail.

David Belluomini [email protected]

52 Division Toronto Police Services [email protected]e.ca

Re: Trespass to property at Barbara Ann Scott Skating Rink after hours

We are hopeful that you will be able to assist us with the on going late night shinny hockey playing at Barbara Ann Scott artificial ice rink after 10 pm nightly. While staff make every effort to ensure that late night hockey does not take place it has been continually an issue over the past few years. By means of this letter I'm hopeful that between Security and the Police we will be able to address the numerous complaints we receive.

I would like to advise that, with respect to the Trespass to Property Act, the Toronto Police Services and Intercon Security are authorized to act as agents of the City of Toronto for purposes of administering the Act and to take appropriate action, including removing people in contravention of the Act. The authority being extended to your Department is intended to be directed only against trespassers.

It is understood that this authority may be revoked at any time upon written notice being received by the appropriate police inspector or other designated police contact at the relevant division.

At 10:41 PM, Dec.8, A.C. wrote:

Thank you for writing this letter Mr. Dann. It is much appreciated.

Its currently 10:40 pm and like most nights, there are people playing hockey.

Several observations that I've made over the last 2 years are as follows:

  • There are no clear signs that tell people not to play hockey beyond rink operating hours
  • Even if people know, there is no incentive to stop
  • There are lights surrounding the rink even past operating hours, essentially making it ideal for people to play hockey
  • Residents at College Park are not aware of how to handle the situation, no signage of who to call
  • When security is called at say 10:30 pm (after weeks of finally figuring out who to call), they can arrive anywhere between 45 min and 3 hrs and the hockey players have already left

The issue is magnified even more as the Aura building construction begins at 7 am sharp every morning. Thus if people are playing hockey well past midnight, there is less than 7 hrs of expected minimal noise to get sleep.

My question is, after reading this letter, what proactive actions can be taken?

One easy fix would be to turn off the lights at the rink. Another would be to put up clear signs with a number to call.

Your swift action would be much appreciated as it was an ongoing issue for 6 months last year with absolutely no resolution and I invested a great deal of time interacting with the city (both security and at the offices) on a daily basis.

My apologies if I sound frustrated but as I type, all I hear are very loud slap shots...

From A.C. to Rink manager James Dann, 11.40 pm Dec.8 2010

It's 11:40 pm right now and there are over 15 people playing hockey at the Barbara Ann Scott Rink.

I appreciate the letter but I'm really hoping that we can resolve this issue so that it does not become another 70 emails back and forth like last season (I've cc'd a few ppl who were involved last year).

At this point, my only action has been calling the security number: 416-392-1212. I called at 10:00 pm but the game still persists.

Please do let me know if there is anything we can do. As an FYI, by turning off the lights to the rink or creating signage, it would in my opinion alleviate the problem.

E-mail from Rink manager James Dann to A.C., Dec.12 2010

Upon consultation with my technical and parks supervisor they have both indicated the morality lights are not able to be shut off for safety reasons. Signage will be an effective deterrent when coupled with the trespass letter as a tool for police and on site security to pass along to the hockey players.

I have a sign being made up and hope to have it up by Friday.

E-mail from Bruce Fraser, City of Toronto Corporate Security Supervisor, to A.C. Dec.16 2010

I will increase our Mobile Patrol Officer's pro-active patrols to deter / stop after hours use @ the Barbara Ann Scott Outdoor Ice Rink between the hours of 10 PM & 1 AM effective immediately.

Saturday Dec.18 2010

no hockey playing allowed

A "no hockey" sign is up, near the out-of-date rink opening sign. At 12 noon there were only two people skating, a dad and his son, who was still wobbly, just learning. The building attendant was talking on his cell phone, and it took a while for me to catch his eye. There was a barrier across the washrooms, with an "out of service" sign on it. I asked him what was wrong. He said that the plumbing is fine but the lights are not bright, and the barrier has been up since opening day.

I asked him about the hockey complaints and he said no one is allowed to play hockey. I clarified that the hockey complaints are for after-hours hockey, and we talked about that for a few moments. The conversation was interrupted twice when the attendant opened the door and gave a shrill whistle at two people who tried to go on the ice with their shoes. He said he had to stop them because of liability.

So the number of users stayed at only two, and those two seemed to be getting ready to leave.

E-mail from cityrinks.ca to recreation supervisor Wendy Jang, Dec.18 2010

Hi Wendy, you're probably already aware of this, since it's one of your rinks -- the washrooms have been closed off, apparently, for two weeks.

Will somebody be in soon to change the light bulbs?

Jan.4 2011, letter from B.C. to rink manager James Dann and others

As a new year is upon us, I am disappointed to report that the situation has not changed at the Barbara Ann Scott rink. Groups of hockey players have been playing after 10 pm on a nightly basis. I do not know if it is the same group of people but they have very little incentive to stop playing. Firstly, city security (Bruce's) team has been the one bright spot in this situation as they have dispatched security to the rink and have been exceptionally courteous whenever I call the office. Secondly, I went outside to check this weekend and there is no signage with the operating hours. The two small signs that say 'no hockey' have been there since I moved into College Park about 2.5 years ago but its not followed. There are lights from the building (where Skaters lace up) that directly shine into the rink that makes playing hockey actually quite ideal because its very bright, coupled with the street lamps all along the rink. Honestly, I can see why people would want to play hockey there. While I would love to not send out these emails and call security every night, frankly it is just frustrating not being able to sleep after 12:30 am when construction begins promptly at 7 am the next day. Can we think of some options to fix the problem? There has to be a way to ensure that people follow the city rules of not playing hockey past 10 pm at Barbara Ann Scott. I have also tried calling the police a few times. As a potential option, could we work out an agreement between the city and Vertica security where they can directly kindly ask people to stop playing? I think it would save a lot of time, from say 1 hr down to 5 minutes. P.S. Currently, there are 4 people playing outside at around 12:30 am.

Jan.7 2011, letter from A.C. to City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam

Can you please provide us with an update on how this complaint is being addressed? What steps have been taken over the last month? Unfortunately, the situation has not improved and hockey players are visiting the rink on a nightly basis, even though there are clear signs against ice hockey and of the operating hours. The residents at College Park have been making phone complaints to the city rink staff and the Toronto police each evening after 10 pm.

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

February 14 2011, from Melissa Wong, constituency assistant to City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. to A.C.

I apologize for the delay in responding to you. I saw that James Dann has suggested setting up a meeting. Kindly let me know if you have had a chance to discuss this Mr. Dann. If you have set up a meeting, please let me know if you would also like someone from the Councillor's office to attend.

I will follow up with the Parks department regarding current enforcement of the rink rules.

From Monica Silva, Vertica resident Services, to City Rinks manager James Dann, Feb.16 2011

Thanks for the attached letter, however, it is very similar to the one that was provided to our security department back on the 8th of December.

As mentioned before by Intercon Security they will not be able to assist you in this matter unless the City decides to enter into a contract with Intercon Security. Our security department will not be held responsible or take full liability for incidents that may occur on city property. Their main focus is to secure the College Park premises only.

An email was sent my Intercon Security back on the 17th of December and an email was sent by me back on the 29th of December addressed to James indicating the same thing.

Residents of College Park Suites should not be disturbed after 10:00pm by patrons using a city skating rink that clearly states hours of operation, rules and regulations should be better enforced. We our now approaching Spring and quite honestly it seems like this issue will not be resolved before then as many people have been in communication for the past three months and no significant improvement has been noted. My main concern now is our we going to be having this same issue come next winter.

Please email us your thoughts.

To Monica Silva, Vertica resident Services, from City Rinks manager James Dann, Feb.16 2011

Thanks Monica for the clarification. From a parks operation side we have done what we can do. I'll continue to assist our security and police to provide increased enforcement.

Feb.17 2011, from City Rinks manager James Dann to A.C.

I will continue to support our corporate security in enforcement issues and have raised this to higher levels with our colleagues in recreation as well. We will obviously need to have the police on board to assist us in this endeavor as well. I recognize that you are frustrated and hope that we will be able to improve upon this situation as we move forward. I will cc you on any future correspondence with regards to the rink.

Feb.17 2011, from A.C. to rink manager James Dann

Thanks James. The real concern is that we're into late February and its very possible that we've let a real opportunity slip for the second year where we are being reactive (and not proactive) to the situation. I tried to be proactive on December 4th when I first sent Mr. Koropeski a note about the upcoming rink season. If you read Mr. Korepeski's email below, he was very clear with his message: "I undertake to gather the various City staff who have a role in this and develop a solution well prior to next season."

Unfortunately we are now well into the season and at the latest count, there have been another 70 emails exchanged to attempt to address the issue. On top of this, I have made daily calls to the police and security staff and this accounts to a lot of time spent!

I completely appreciate your team's support but it would be tremendous to understand where the accountability lies and what are the concrete actions that the City is taking to ensure that the problem is resolved. For instance:

  • Can City Security commit to visiting the rink at 11 pm and 12 midnight each night?
  • Can hockey players be fined or issued warnings by the police for not following the rink rules?
  • Can there be large 'No Hockey' signs up?
  • Can the rink spotlights be turned off?

after 10 pm -- spotlights on

I am by no means trying to pinpoint the blame on any one person or party. However, I feel that we could approach the problem a little different compared to what we have done as of late.

The bottom line is that there is no deterrence or penalty for breaking the rules. Attached is a picture of the rink after 10 pm when its supposed to be closed. Its an ideal place to play hockey when there are spotlights all around. What people don't realize is that the 'slap shot' noises create very loud echo sounds and it keeps people from sleeping.

Anyway, appreciate your help thus far James, I know you're trying.

E-mail from cityrinks.ca to A.C., Feb.17 2011

the midnight hockey guys need to move to Ryerson Rink. As far as I know, no one lives right near there -- true? The skaters can be moved by speaking to them repeatedly and following up in a sustained way. We had a problem at Dufferin Rink with midnight hockey five years back, because it's also very well lit and people climbed the fence every night and slammed pucks around. We put so much attention on it, and I came out a few nights in a row (at 2 a.m.!) and made appealing speeches. Finally it was so embarrassing for them to be bothered by a matronly lady (me) that they went to a more remote rink instead (they were shift workers in construction).

The trick is to find out who they are and see whether they can be embarrassed out of there or whether they need to get tickets. Three tickets would do the trick (the stick) plus a thermos of hot chocolate waiting for them at Ryerson Rink (the carrot -- and that's only partly a joke). All this is entirely within the capabilities of the people on your cc list.

Next season, if the city doesn't come through with a better solution the very first week, let's try this. One more thing -- you may be wasting your breath asking for less inviting lighting. We asked for that, and it was refused. But that's not the only trick in the book.

E-mail from Rinks manager James Dann to A.C., Feb,25 2011

Your request to me should actually be directed at Corporate Security. My parks staff are not on duty at this point.

E-mail from Bruce Fraser, Coroporate security supervisor, to A.C., Feb.26 2011

On Dec. 16th 2010 I instructed our Mobile staff to increase our pro-active Patrols @ the Barbara Ann Scott Outdoor Ice Rink @ 420 Yonge Street between the hours of 2200 hours & 0100 hours until further notice & to remove anyone found on the ice surface after 2200 hours.

Per below. Unfortunately our Mobile staff have other mandatory duties @ 11 PM nightly & reactive patrols are not possible @ that time. I will further instruct our Mobile staff to attend the Barbara Ann Scott Outdoor Ice Rink @ 420 Yonge Street between the hours of 11:30 PM to midnight whenever possible until further notice & to remove anyone found on the ice surface @ that time.

Please be aware that there are a number of operational reasons that this time specific reactive patrol might not be possible each evening, such as staff requests for security assistance & alarm response calls.

E-mail from A.C. to corporate security supervisor Bruce Fraser and City Rinks manager James Dann from A.C., Feb.26

Really do appreciate our proactive action. If security can check out the rink at say 10:30 pm (or some time before the Mobile Staff mandatory duties) and at around midnight on a nightly basis that would be tremendous. I currently call either the police or the Mobile Staff on an almost nightly basis to report hockey players and would like to minimize this where possible. James - I know you sent a letter to the police at the beginning of the season, have you heard back? Also, Councillor Wongtam has been cc'd on these emails and I'm not sure what assistance can come from the councillor's office. It would be great if we could get a response.

E-mail to A.C. from Melissa Wong, assistant to City Councillor Wong-Tam, Feb.28 2011

I have raised this with the Councillor, and I have monitored your correspondence, but have not yet had a chance to speak with her directly about this. Now that the budget has wrapped up, I am hoping I will be able to raise this with her.

I will let you know once I have been able to talk to her.

E-mail from A.C. to Melissa Wong, assistant to City Councillor Wong-Tam, Feb.28 2011

Great, thank you for following up Melissa.

Please let us know if the Councillor has any recommendations.

E-mail from corporate security supervisor Bruce Fraser to A.C., March 1 2011

P,F&R staff have informed me that they will be turning off the Barbara Ann Scott Outdoor Ice Rink compressors today & staff will go by to hot water the ice surface to melt it in spots & make the surface unuseable for skating. I will continue the re-active patrols to ensure that the after hours skating has stopped for the season.

E-mail from A.C. to corporate security supervisor Bruce Fraser

This might just mean no more 11 pm phone calls for the rest of the winter season!

August 2011

Aura building going up higher

The big hole has been replaced by the first 4-5 storeys of the condo. In summertime, the scene is much friendlier, with the fountains and lots of people sitting around the periphery of the "pond."


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Content last modified on September 06, 2011, at 06:37 PM EST