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To help figure out the question of costs, here are some recent rink season income numbers from Dufferin Rink's skate loan program, posted in the CELOS financial section:
[Source: the first three totals are from the CELOS Quickbooks accounting program, the second three totals are from PFR through Freedom of Information.]
In actual fact, the income for each of those years was higher, because this table only includes the three full months of rink operation, not the partial months of November or March when the rink was open.
The city's SAP book-keeping record does not specify which part-time hours were paid to the skate loan staff, but since the $2 skate loans earned an average of $120 to $166 a day, and most days need much less than 10 part-timer hours, it's clear that there is money left for skate upkeep after paying wages.
The variability from year to year is related partly to the weather, partly to organizational factors that can be addressed.
The economics of the "Dufferin Grove Park model," as it's often called, have shifted alarmingly since the city decided to transfer control from the on-site part-time city staff running the program, to an additional layer of off-site full-time community recreation programmers. Staffing costs have ballooned, and food income that formerly supported other programs has gone into the negative.
When Dufferin Grove is run in this way, it seems clear that the programs certainly cost too much and should be shut down.