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Custodians:

City Councillor Layton on why there can't be skate lending at any more neighbourhood outdoor rinks

(and where he's wrong)

West End Phoenix, "WTF: City rejects a $2 skate lending program." Joe Pack, December 2017.
Councillor Layton: "We've starved our Parks and Rec budget for so many years. We have not funded the operation of our rinks to include staff to run the programs, which is very unfortunate.

Comment: The operating budget of the outdoor rinks is well over $6 million per 12-week rink season. $2 skate lending at Dufferin Rink brings in between $10,000 and $15,000 of income a year.

But with other demands on our recreation budget, I don't think it's getting priority. There are staff at those rinks but they're typically there to address safety issues, so you can't have them running to the back and fitting people for skates.

Comment: So the rink staff are doing security, not recreation? When was that decided, and by whom?

We need to have eyes on the rink....

Comment: As rink users know, the bored staff spend most of their time sitting around, not looking at the rink. Skate lending makes a rink safer and more fun for staff too.

As councillors, we have to determine how to fund these programs, tinkering here and there, but typically, what's on the table at the same time are other funding priorities like park maintenance. I tried raising the tax rate to offset the costs and it wasn't accepted.

Also, the City can't accept donated skates without [evaluating them for safety purposes]. The City doesn't have the expertise to maintain skates so they don't become a liability [to skaters].

Comment: city staff can run a skate lending program just fine. The "how-to" slide show that Dufferin Rink staff put together is here. Good skate maintenance is part of the job, and can be taught in 20 minutes.

The City is constantly being sued for small incidents on City property."

Comment: In 12 years of skate lending at Dufferin Rink, there has never been a lawsuit. Across the city, in a sample 9-year period of rink injury claims, there were only three minor injury claims for any reason, for all outdoor rinks.

If Councillor Layton has new injury claim information relating to outdoor rinks, we hope he can send it to us.

In a Dec.27 tweet, Councillor Layton wrote "my responses to questions came from city staff."

If staff are giving wrong information, or managing public amenities poorly, who but our elected councillors can make sure staff fix the problems?


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Content last modified on December 28, 2017, at 07:52 AM EST