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posted on February 12, 2015
By: Reporter/Byline: By John Spears Toronto Star
Source: The Star
Natural ice rinks in Toronto should no longer be maintained by city staff, a report to city council says. The proposed cut would affect 44 rinks, the staff report says. It would save $135,000 a year.
The report describes the proposal as "harmonizing" the operation of natural ice rinks. It says that last year, community groups maintained 24 natural ice rinks for public skating. The city set up boards and provided hoses and lighting, but volunteers flooded the rinks and shovelled them except after exceptionally heavy snowfalls.
The city maintained 56 rinks, including 12 ponds.
But the report said the heavy snows of January, followed by a long spell of mild weather, made it hard to develop and maintain the rinks.
The report says the city should continue to maintain rinks on ponds because of public safety.
The other rinks currently maintained by city staff should be turned over to community groups, it says.
The proposal will be considered by the city's economic development committee on Monday.
Councillor Ila Bossons (Midtown) said the report is one more example of a city fraying at the edges.
Public areas are messier, city trees are untrimmed and potholes are showing up on city streets, she said. Now, the city can't afford ice rinks.
"We're inventing new standards all the time, except they're always lower, not higher, " she said.
In some areas, local volunteers might do a better job of maintaining rinks than city staff, she said. But some neighbourhoods don't have strong community groups to organize the work and keep rinks going.