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Correspondence with Parks Director Richard Ubbens

Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Fwd: open letter with a suggestion
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2010 13:51:43 -0500
From: Esther Afriat <[email protected]>
To: Jutta Mason <[email protected]>

Dear Ms. Mason,

Please see the letter below from Richard Ubbens, Parks Director in response to your e-mail and letter to Brenda Patterson, General Manager.

Thank you,

Esther Afriat
Admin Assistant
General Manager's Office
Parks, Forestry and Recreation

  • Dear Ms. Mason,

Thank you for your correspondence with respect to the outdoor rink operation. As you know, 14 of the City's outdoor rinks were scheduled to open early on November 20. Due to the current weather conditions, the planned early opening has been adjusted. We now expect to have these 14 locations up and running by November 27. The remaining outdoor rinks are scheduled to open on December 4, as planned.

We acknowledge that the one-week delay to the early opening of the 14 rinks is disappointing for our many rink enthusiasts. However, the decision is prudent based on weather conditions, energy consumption, appropriate allocation of resources, our experience with not being able to make ice in these conditions last year and other technical factors.

Based on our current infrastructure and plant capacity, we require three consecutive days with temperatures no higher than 5 degrees to build and sustain ice. Compressors will be turned on this coming Monday November 22, provided weather conditions are more conducive to ice-making at this time. Based on this assumption, flooding will commence on Wednesday November 24, at which point we hope there will be a reasonable expectation of being able to build ice throughout the afternoon and evenings and successfully maintain it, at most, if not all, locations.

Turning compressors on earlier would have required compressors to run 24-hours a day resulting in significant costs, environmental impacts and wear-and-tear on equipment. Ice that may have been built in the evening would not have been sustained due to warm ground temperatures, sunlight, rain and air temperature; in short, we still would not have ice.

It is our goal to build ice effectively and efficiently, and ensure that it can be sustained in a cost effective and responsible manner, to the benefit of ice users and residents. The one-week adjustment to the early opening date will allow us to achieve this outcome, weather permitting.

I appreciate your disappointment and thank you for your interest in this program. We look forward to our early opening by November 27, and a long and enjoyable outdoor rink season, thereafter.

Yours truly,

Richard Ubbens
Director, Parks
Parks, Forestry and Recreation

Response To Parks Director

Original Message --------
Subject: ice-making during snow next Thursday?
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2010 00:24:29 -0500
From: Jutta Mason <[email protected]>
To: Richard Ubbens <[email protected]>
CC: Councillor Adam Giambrone <[email protected]>, Brenda Patterson <[email protected]>, Sue Corke <[email protected]>

Hi Richard -- the reasoning in your letter will have to be taken up with the councillors on the parks committee, when they are appointed, and certainly this story has legs. As it stands, your letter ignores the fact that the rinks were most certainly able to make ice last year when night floods were used, i.e. proper ice-making procedure. Perhaps you'd like to go over the rink logs again?

and for a more extreme example of ice holding well:

And since Harbourfront has been opening in the third week of November since it was built, and is still using its 1983 compressors, I hope you'll agree that the damage-to-the-compressors argument doesn't work either.

As for the other points, our group has been working for the good use of outdoor rinks for about 15 years and still has no standing with you folks. Time for a big change, and we'll work hard toward that end, joined by others across the city:

I am grateful for this week of enlightenment.

I do warn you, though, that if the forecast is right and it will indeed snow next Thursday, ice-making will be quite a bit more difficult than it would have been this week. Conditions in that case may further prolong the time lost to skaters, and their neighborhoods.


Park Director Invites CityRinks editor to a meeting

Original Message --------
Subject: Re: ice-making during snow next Thursday?
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2010 16:18:18 -0500
From: Richard Ubbens <[email protected]>
To: Jutta Mason <[email protected]>

Dear Ms. Mason,

Thank you for your correspondence regarding the outdoor rinks. I appreciate your interest in the rink operation.

Like you, it is our desire to get the outdoor rinks up and operating as soon as possible, while we ensure that we are spending our allocated budget resources responsibly and effectively.

While we had hoped to turn compressors on this Monday November 22, we are monitoring weather conditions closely. The Environment Canada forecast (please see: ) predicts a high of 10 degrees Sunday, 14 degrees Monday and 11 degrees on Tuesday with night-time temperatures of 10 degrees. Cooler temperatures are not forecast until next Wednesday.

I would be pleased to meet with you to discuss your experience with the rink operation. Please contact my Administrative Assistant, Tina Ferreira, at 416-392-7912 to schedule a time.

I look forward to meeting with you.

Yours truly,

Richard Ubbens, R.P.F.
Director, Parks
Parks, Forestry and Recreation

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