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Rink marked as closed for the first time since Dec.3.
This rink opened on Nov.25 and has been open every day except Dec.1 and 2.
This rink was supposed to open today, but it never did.
Rinks diaries from earlier years:
This rink closed for the season today. It was often listed as closed this season, in keeping with the practice in North Toronto rinks. But it was not listed as closed as often as last winter.
Although this rink was scheduled to open on Nov.25, it was never listed as open until today.
A letter was sent to the city councillor, offering a donation of a complete skate loan collection for this rink.
* people love to borrow skates
* we have 110 skates, 20 hockey sticks, 20 helmets to donate
* this kind of program has been done by city staff for 12 years at Dufferin Rink, 9 years at Wallace and Campbell -- lots of experienced staff, each one teach one
* staff often have time on their hands to lend skates and also to maintain skates
* the city has insurance that can cover this (the city is self-insured under $5 million anyway), but skate lending programs are rarely threatened with a claim if they do responsible skate maintenance.
This rink has always had less public (drop-in) shinny or pleasure-skating than any other city rink, a sample comparison is here. Why?
Marked as closed all day.
Marked as closed for most of the day.
This rink marked as closed most of the day (rain).
At 3.30 p.m. this rink is one of four city rinks marked as closed for ice conditions.
At 1 pm the rink was open and supervised, with 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. building access -- despite being listed as blank on the city's web schedule.
When asked why the rink is so often listed as closed, the staff said that couldn't be true -- that Broadlands is one of the best rinks in the city and it is rarely closed except during a snowstorm. Their theory was that maybe the supervisors were sometimes too busy to update 311 or the web page.
11 a.m: marked as closed for snow clearance.
Broadlands rink schedule is blank for both days.
Listed as closed most of the day.
Listed as closed all day.
10 a.m. this rink is listed as closed after the snowfall.
Since the last entry, this rink has been listed as closed as much as it's been open.
This rink is now finally listed as open.
Since its scheduled opening on Nov.26, this rink has never yet been listed as open. The city's web page only says "ice conditions," and the skating schedule gives lots of skating times, as though the rink was open as normal.
On March 17, when Broadlands was listed as open, I sent 311 the following email:
On March 21, I got an answer, thanking me for contacting 311 and directing me to this link here.
That link gives me this information for outdoor rinks:
Outdoor rink operational status *NEW FEATURE: Updated in real-time* (alerts are only posted for closed statuses, if no notice is posted there are no issues with the rink)
But in fact the information was wrong about Broadlands. So no acknowledgment that the "real time" posting doesn't work.
At 1 pm, the rink is listed as open. The "closed for the season" posting did not go on the website for this rink when the rest of the city shut down most of the rinks, but even so, Broadlands has been listed as "closed -- ice conditions" since March 11. Just not being updated, presumably. Today even that listing is gone. 311 says it's open, because they are getting "real time" updates.
By 6 pm, after cityrinks sent a query to 311, Broadlands was listed as "closed for the season." However three other North York rinks that were closed March 11 are still listed as staying open until March 20, but on alert as "closed -- ice conditions." They have no ice.
During this skating season, Broadlands rink has been closed almost as many days at it's been open, part of North York's conservative approach to ice management. During March, it's been closed most of the time, and yet is still scheduled to keep running until March 20.
City Councillor Minnan-Wong plans a skating party on St.Valentine's Day, February 14. More information here.
CELOS offered them free loaner skates but their office did not respond.
The rink was open with some pleasure-skaters. We asked why the rink was so often closed, and the staff said there was no particular problem -- not with the compressors nor with their zamboni. The zamboni is still working even though it has all the extra heavy work of taking off snow no matter how deep. The staff said that's because, the way the rink is built, a large plough can't get in to clean it even if there is a big snowstorm.
Listed as closed Dec.24 to the afternoon of Dec.27.
Listed as closed.
Broadlands Rink was again listed as closed today.
Broadlands Rink has been closed at least half the days in December so far.
A problem with the HOLIDAY HOURS: it appears on the city's rink information website/311that almost all of the city's rinks will have their changerooms/washrooms locked on the three main holidays: Christmas Day, Boxing Day (yes!), and New Year's Day. You can skate on most of the rinks but you can't get your kids out of the cold to change their skates and you can't take them to the washroom. This is true for Broadlands, and even worse: this rink will close at 1 pm on two other school holidays: Dec.24 and again on Dec.31.
What's the message here -- "you should be drinking, not skating" -- ?
The rink opened Nov.22, closed Nov.23, and reopened Nov.26.
"The schedule at this rink is appalling. Broadlands is my closest rink and I'm basically being told I'm not allowed to play. I pay taxes for this! My friends and I have to drive from Vic park and 401 to play in Regent park which I Do not like doing just to get some exercise. I'm 25 yrs. old and work 9-5 mon- fri. I tried taking my father to broadlands on a weekend evening and the ice was perfect but the boards were chained up, it was honestly a heartbreaking experience for both of us. We had to drive and walk 45 minutes to the new rink at Greenwood. My father is 50 yrs old and played on Broadlands ice as a child when there was league play. I think times have changed and this ice should be made more available to people like me and my father. Please tell me when I'm supposed to play hockey at this beautiful rink!?" Ed.note: Broadlands has no evening or weekend adult drop-in shinny time - see our response.
The rink was open, but there were no skaters. There have been snow squalls all day, and as I arrived at the rink, everything was white. The zamboni driver said he doesn't like it because when he takes off the snow, he shaves some ice too, and he doesn't want to do that. He said the ice is just barely thick enough for skating, and that they had to do some extra ice-making yesterday evening.
Also the zamboni looks to be an old crock. The zamboni driver said the snow gets stuck in the augur and he constantly has to get off the rink and rinse out the machine.
See also: Editor's and Rink Users' blog
There's ice on the rink and the mats are out. But no lights on -- that suggests that they're not planning night-time floods. The rink maintenance staff said that they started hose-flooding today -- four times in the daytime, and then some more in the evening around 6 pm.
11 a.m. The staff said that they are not yet ready to open. The ice has some thickness, and they have used the zamboni some. Today a two-foot strip of south-facing ice, right against the boards, appeared to be melted, showing the cement through about an inch of water.
The staff said that there were no overnight floods at Broadlands, to get the ice started, just evening floods.
City Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong's annual skating party, from 2.30 to 4.30. Before the open skating, there was a permit, comprising 7 youth just shooting a couple of pucks around. None of them except the goalie wore helmets. Perhaps permits can set their own helmet rules, because they don't fit the "supervised shinny hockey" category. (At Harry Gairey Rink it's the opposite rule -- drop-in shinny players don't tend to wear helmets but the permit skaters are told they must wear them.)
My three-year-old grand-daughter went out on the ice pushing a little stool, and the rink guard skated right over, saying, "sorry, not allowed." I told him that if she doesn't have the stool, she can't skate. He said, "no, the stool is fine, but you're not allowed to be on the ice in shoes." I stood against the boards and watched as my grand-daughter skated around the entire rink pushing her little stool, telling the rink guard, "I'm sorry, but I have to keep my eyes on her." He let me, uneasily, "I'll get in trouble with my supervisor."
The Dufferin Rink crew had brought equipment for a campfire, and kids were roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate. The crew also brought skates, and even some of the adults wanted to try skating. But the rule was that no one could push a chair, nor was our skating instructor allowed to be helping people on the ice with shoes on. So the beginners gave up and put their shoes back on.
There was a very friendly scene around the campfire, though, and inside the councillor's staff were giving out hot dogs. Lots of people.
Overcast. This rink will not be opening on schedule. The rink had only a few puddles of water. The compressors were turned off. The staff in the building asked if I was looking for a permit. He said that they had decided to keep the compressors off since they only had 100 Hp which would not be enough to keep ice in this weather. He said that maybe they would try again next week depending on the supervisors there.
Sunny. The rink operator/caretaker was in the office and another staff person also. The operator said that it would be impossible to make ice and they were not going to attempt it until it gets cold. He also said that the plexiglass barriers around the rink result in less air circulation, which makes it even harder to keep ice in.
High 1, low -5.
According to both the voice message on the phone, and a rink operator reached later, Broadlands is open and the ice is in good condition.
At 11.30 there are 18 shinny hockey players on the ice, all of them wearing helmets. The friendly zamboni driver invites me into his office and we chat about when we came to Canada (he by plane, I on a boat). He tells me that he's good at extracting pucks that get stuck in the zamboni agur -- and I can well believe it. He's been doing this work for several decades, and he takes pride in the rink.
At 9.10 pm on a mild winter night, there are 12 pleasure-skaters, enjoying one of the rare programmed public skating times. In the community room beside the rink there is a large and lively group of disabled kids and families, who can look out onto the ice through the big picture windows.
On the rink change room door there is a sign saying that the rink is available for extra drop-in skating whenever there is neither a program or a permit, but that pucks and sticks are never allowed during that time.
The zamboni driver says that the youth are really unhappy about having only two hours a week to play drop-in shinny (the remaining two hours are for little kids). On the rink office desk, there's a clipboard with a long sheet of permit slots, many of them blank for this day. Apparently the way it works is that anyone who pays, gets the permit, so there can be 20 people wanting to skate, and somebody might book the time for three people. As long they pay, the ice can be taken by the three people and the twenty are turned away. The zamboni driver says that on those occasions it feels very strange -- an empty rink, lights blazing, staff on duty -- with only a few people skating around on their own.
The economics are not impressive. Broadlands Rink, with its hustling approach to selling permits, earned $16,526.56 in permit income in 2008. That makes it the third highest-earning rink in the city. But the City estimates that the full cost, for the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division, of running the 49 outdoor rinks for the 3-month season is $5.7 million. To recover its assigned share of this cost, Broadlands would have had to earn at least $121,000 -- not close to realistic for outdoor rinks.
So the gap between income and cost is huge. Broadlands Rink currently dips into the public purse for an extra $104,474 in tax funding per season to deliver a meager 12 hours of public drop-in skating a week. At the same time, it has more staff and equipment than many rinks that offer ten times that amount of public drop-in skating.
It's time for this to change, and for City management to treat this 80% tax-funded rink as a public amenity for all the citizens for 80% of the time. Broadlands Rink should set a realistic income target and beyond that, open its gates to the many youth who love to play drop-in shinny, at the rink their parents' taxes fund.
A meeting at Councillor Minnan-Wong's office, with North York Recreation manager Costanza Allevato and Recreation supervisor Wendy Jang. The question was: how can Broadlands rink get more public drop-in shinny hockey than their current 4 hours a week? Wendy explained that signs had already been made that would allow more public skating including shinny hockey. However, she said she had become concerned about future problems with the new schedule and had held off posting them so she could seek advice from both Risk Management and Parks ice maintenance managers. There was still some uncertainty but she was willing to post paper signs in the interim, to allow the additional skating and remove the rule against ever using pucks and sticks during the unsupervised times.
The question was raised about prime time public skating, and Councillor Minnan-Wong said that there ought to be a fair balance, and that the "first principle" in considering this ought to be "maximum use of public resources." It was agreed that this would involve an analysis of the current permit schedule.
The question was raised whether it would be possible to introduce a skate-lending program to increase use in public times. Recreation management felt this would be problematic because of a city policy against cash-handling by staff.
Hello -- to follow up from Monday's meeting about Broadlands Rink:
I went there this morning hoping to take a photo of the banner or the new signs. I was surprised to see only this paper poster (photo excerpt):
"No sticks or pucks on the ice" -- so nothing has changed, still no additional shinny hockey. Can you let me know if it will be changing?
Also, the day after we met, the Dufferin Rink staff got a directive to work toward conforming with the city's cash-handling policy. Since there is no city computer at the park, this will take some working out. However, I assume there's a computer at Broadlands, so the rink staff could enter all income and expenses easily. Here is the December skate balance for Dufferin Rink (as you see, it pays for itself, especially if staff can do most of the rentals as part of their regular shift -- all staff have tons of spare time, including Local 416 staff.
Attached is the revised skate schedule for Broadlands AIR for the remainder of the season. A temporary (paper) sign has been put up effective February 19, and all location staff have been advised of the changed schedule. Installation of the permanent sign to follow.
That's a good start. Three questions:
1. Did Chapley and Glen Long get the same paper signs, or only Broadlands?
2. I see that none of the non-program shinny hockey times are in prime time, i.e. none after 3.30 on weekdays, and none on weekends. So no open shinny for school kids, nor for youth, nor for working folks. Is that because prime time is 100% permits?
3. I see that all three North York single pads are scheduled to stay open to March 15. Will they be keeping their permit schedule for the extension as well? If not, that could be a good time for shinny players (little and big) to get extra ice time in the evenings (daytime is often mush in March). Can that be arranged?
From S.P.: I got to Broadlands around 1:30pm and the rink was open so I went in and asked if I could play and he told me that its leisure skate time but since theres only one other guy, and he's playing shinny, you can go on. He told me that he was flooding at 2:30pm and that from 2:30pm - 4pm he was leaving for no apparent reason and he was locking up the rink so I'd have to come back at 5pm to play shinny for 13 and up. Nobody told me I had to wear a helmet when I went on. But later when I asked him about their rules with helmets he said that yes they do enforce it for shinny, and all the time for children of 6 and under. I told him that I want to come back but I wasn't interested in wearing a helmet. He told me sorry but those are the rules here, it's a city policy. So before I left I told him he should check up on that, cause the city isn't allowed to enforce that rule. That was pretty much it. Other than that the rink is very nice and the zamboni driver was very friendly and the whole place was in good condition.
Councillor Minnan-Wong's annual skating party. The councillor's office printed 4000 flyers and put them into all the nearby schools -- BIG response, so many people love skating.
1. allow parents on the ice with shoes on so that they can help their children learn to skate; also allow and provide a few chairs or learn to skate push things so that children can learn to skate.
2. Ask the zamboni driver not to do a flood in the middle of the public skating time. 2 hours is not that much time. Many rinks go days without a scrape or flood, which is not good, however every two hours is excessive on a special event day, meaning everyone has to leave the ice and some just go home.
3. The permit before the public skating time was 35 minutes late, so the ice was empty even longer. People should not be permitted to keep permits when they don't use them.
4. There should be many more public skating hours.
5. It would be good if the rink staff could provide basic information sheets about other local rinks and skating programs. During the skating party there were many people looking for lessons and skate rental locations, skate sharpening locations, stores that sell skates, etc. The Broadlands staff should have some information about their nearby rinks and other useful facilities. This should be the launching point of good local skate programming.
6. Put benches outside.
7. Rink staff could be included more at such events, they could help.
8. Supplies ran out too soon and it's probably good to accept that people come to these events trying in part to get their taxes back by eating free things, be prepared for a successful turnout and make sure people are available to respond to situation as it changes: so that at 3.30pm someone could notice they're low on hot chocolate or cups or hot dogs and get more in advance. Also maybe have coffee, to go with the doughnuts?
9. The yellow bar that blocks cars from hopping the curb up to the community centre also blocks skaters who want to use the rink.
10. It would be good if the Councillor went out on skates!
From Dufferin Grove skate lending group: "All skates were returned and one family even donated a good quality pair for 3 year olds! Lovely honest people."
From the CELOS visitor:
2-4pm The rink is open for public skating. Two small, but clean coed changerooms are available. There is permit hockey before and after the public skating hours. The Zamboni floods the ice before the public skate. Skaters have to wait for ten minutes before being allowed on the ice. First a supervisor discusses the state of the ice with the Zamboni driver. (Friday's public skate, which was busy, ended early because of rain.) After the discussion about the ice is finished, skaters still have to wait for the rink guard to appear. At 2:15pm a dozen skaters of various ages go on the ice, but more people are arriving. By 2:30, there are 40 skaters on the ice. By 3pm there are 70. Over the next hour, the number of people on the ice gradually becomes smaller. By 4, there are only 20 left. Two rink guards and a teenager who is a regular skater say a turn-out of 70 is exceptionally high. Most Saturdays there are only 15-20 skaters. For the Friday public skate the usual number is even smaller. The skaters are of all ages, but most are parents with their children. It is a family atmosphere. Most people seem to be in a good mood. There are a lot of conversations on the ice. Many of the people on the ice greet each other as familiar acquaintances. Almost everyone is speaking English, but Spanish, Chinese and Romanian can also be heard. Easy listening music (CHFI) is being played over a loudspeaker at the community centre, but it isn't loud. At the far end of the rink, the music is easily drowned out by the scraping of skates. At 4pm, there is an announcement over the loudspeaker informing people that the public skate is over. After the skate, the rink is scraped and flooded. (The Zamboni makes two separate passes over the ice surface.)