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October 11, 2017 e-mail and correspondence

Subject: could I call you about our outdoor rinks offer?

Dear Councillor_____,

This is a follow-up letter to the one I sent you and some of your council colleagues on September 11, offering a free ready-to-use skate lending collection (plus helmets and hockey sticks) for a city-run outdoor rink in your ward. We had only three responses to the first letter, but Councillor Holyday had some helpful comments that may reflect the thoughts of other councillors as well. We address his comments in this letter. I will follow up with a call your office to find out whether our clarifications are of interest or whether you also feel that

1. skate lending would be too much of a draw on resources

2. there's not enough visible demand, therefore the program probably won’t succeed

3. most importantly, the interest is not there, by staff.


1. as you see in this finances link, a $2 skate lending program pays for itself

2. when Dufferin Rink introduced skate lending thirteen years ago (2004), within a year the number of skaters using the rink doubled. The same thing happened at Wallace Rink and Campbell Rink in 2011. The main people who benefited were school kids, newcomers of all ages, and lower-income families whose kids kept growing out of their skates.

3. Rink guards, building attendants and zamboni drivers at most city rinks have many gaps of idle time during their shifts. With direction from management, existing city staff can be trained internally, using Ward 18 rink staff, to integrate skate lending into their other duties. As demand grows, additional part-time staff can be added for busy times – and their cost will be covered by the program revenues. This model has worked for many years in Ward 18.

Our offer:

If your office can interest Parks and Recreation management in adding a skate lending program at your rink, we (CELOS) will do a site visit to share information about storage and logistics, and rink staff can get in touch with Ward 18 recreation supervisor Keith Storey to work out training and skate sharpening. The city already owns two portable skate sharpening machines in Ward 18, and the Partnership office has good connections with MLSE to ask for a machine ($2800 when new) for another rink. For the last 13 years, part-time city rink staff have done all the skate sharpening, inventory etc. in Ward 18.

I will be in touch, or if you like you could call me at 416 533-0153.

Jutta Mason Centre for Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

The councillors we contacted were:

Councillor Grimes (Colonel_Sam Smith, Prince of Wales, Sir Adam Beck), Palacio (Giovanni Caboto), Filion (Mel Lastman), Colle (Glen Long), Carmichael-Greb (North Toronto, Ledbury, Otter Creek), Minnan-Wong (Broadlands), Crawford (McGowan), Cressy (Harry Gairey), Wong-Tam (Ryerson), Fletcher (Greenwood), Layton (Christie), Fragedakis (Dieppe), McMahon (Kew), Doucette (High Park), Pasternak (Irving Chapley), and Ford (Sunnydale).

Also a copy was sent to Councillor Holyday.


Councillor Fletcher, Oct.11:

A number of factors contributed to the decision to not move forward with a skate lending program at this time. A lack of interest on the part of city staff was not one of them.

The uncertainty and lack of clarity around when a firm decision would be made by CELOS on whether or not the donation would be finalized also contributed to the decision to step down.

Councillor Grimes, Oct.11:

Councillor Grimes has brought your proposal to the attention of Recreation staff for ward 6. They will review the program and will be in touch with you directly if are interested in pursuing it.

-- from CELOS:

thanks for your quick reply. From your note, I will assume that if I hear no more from you, that means city Rec staff are not interested in pursuing skate lending at Colonel Sam, Sir Adam Beck, or Prince of Wales outdoor rinks.

Councillor Layton, Oct.16:

...we do not have the resources, amenities and set-up that Dufferin Grove has that helped to make the program a success. I believe that Rec staff have provided you with a list of the ways in which this could work. I have no doubts that the service would be used, but the rink guards are not trained or hired to run this program.

Councillor Fragedakis:

Is this still an option for this year? (and then some phone tag).

Councillor Filion, Oct.12:

It is not clear if this was intended for myself or for Councillor Bailao in Ward 18. If it is intended for ward 23, I would like to know what you had in mind, I would imagine, for Mel Lastman Square.

-- From CELOS:

Ward 18 has had skate lending at three city outdoor rinks for many years, as my letter says, done by city skate guards and building attendants. Our offer of the additional skate lending collection is for an outdoor rink in another ward -- in Ward 23 it would be Mel Lastman rink. You certainly have the space, but your existing staff would need to be trained internally by Rec (we can help). Over the 13 years we've been running the non-city outdoor-rinks website, we have received many emails asking if Mel Lastman offers skate lending.

From Councillor MacMahon, Oct.16:

The councilor called and said they had forwarded the email to staff and were waiting to hear back.

From Councillor Ford's office, Oct.17:

His assistant called and we went over what was said at the meeting we had, what was on offer, and the fact that Ward 18 rink staff have successfully run three skate lending programs for years, one for 14 years. The assistant said he would follow up again.

From Councillor Colle, Oct. 18:

I have reached out to the Parks and Recreation staff at Glen Long Park and am waiting to hear whether this is something they could take on.

I will let you know as soon as I hear back.

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Content last modified on October 18, 2017, at 06:59 PM EST