For better use and better management. The UNOFFICIAL Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks
Stories we're following, longer term:
Simla Skating Club, in India. Their town is so high up in the hills that they need no machinery for the ice to stay frozen in winter.
"120 pairs of donated skates inspiring Regent Park residents to hit the ice." Sub-headline: "Free skate-lending program only offered at 2 events in Regent Park this winter"
....with a partial story about skate lending,saying Councillor Layton "first proposed" the idea last week. Actually we sent him and 14 other councillors our skate lending offer on Sept.11 2017. But, who's counting?
Jan.13, 2018, Tory on twitter
Jan.12, 2018: May Warren in the Star -- another follow-up to skate lending, with a headline turning Councillor Layton into the champion -- a shift from his previous stance.
Jan.11, 2018 May Warren, in Metro News, a follow up about skate lending.
Dec.29, 2017: CityTV "City website causing confusion over outdoor skating rinks closures."
Dec.17, 2017, Globe, Andrew Savory, "Toronto gets three new skating venues"
Dec.14, 2017: Maytree Foundation Newsletter: Story of Change
Dec.7, 2017: Press Reader here.
Dec.6, 2017: Metro News here.
Nov.28, 2017: Edward Keenan from the Star give the outdoor rinks a plug. They included a reader questionnaire asking who's looking forward to using the rinks -- only 267 say they are. And in fact many of the outdoor rinks don't get much use. But there's a nice photo showing three guys (illegally) playing pond hockey on Ryerson Rink.
Nov.25, 2017, CBC radio "Toronto's outdoor rinks opening despite warm, cloudy day." [8 celsius]
Nov.20, 2017: CBC radio morning news here
Nov.20, 2017: CBC radio Here and Now afternoon show piece here.
Nov.18, 2017, Metro News here
March 26, 2017 (Updated from June 26. 2012), Globe. Kelly Grant, "Auditor slams Toronto energy retrofit program"
Jan.23, 2017, CBC Radio, Metro Morning "How Toronto's skating rinks stay frozen even when temperatures rise" Quotes cityrinks.ca/CELOS information about the mechanics, and the parks director's description of a rink as a "giant refrigerator."
From: CUPE Local 79 <[email protected]>
Date: February 10, 2016 at 6:46:21 PM EST
To: Local 79 members
Subject: Bargaining update: Raise the stakes - Take your breaks!
Reply-To: CUPE Local 79 <[email protected]>
Join us for a great skate on Family Day!
On February 15, Locals 79, 416 and 4948 are hosting skating parties at rinks across Toronto. It’s a great opportunity for you and your family to get a little ice time while showing the public our dedication and commitment to the quality public services that make Toronto a great place to live.
The skating events will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.on Monday, February 15, at the following rinks:
Nathan Phillips Square, Mel Lastman Square, Scarborough Civic Centre and High Park.
There will be free hot chocolate, visits for the kids from some Minions and maybe even a Storm Trooper or two, and lots of fun.
CTV News: "Skating Ban to be lifted at High Park's Grenadier Pond"
Toronto City Council voted 28-9 on Thursday in favour of a program that will allow skating on a designated area of Grenadier Pond next year... Doucette proposed that the city allocate $50,000 to hire an "ice engineer" who would test the thickness and quality of the ice on a daily basis, for a period of eight weeks.
He or she would then post signs or flags to let skaters know when the ice is safe to use, and which parts of the pond are available for skating....Council voted in favour of the motion only after [Councillor] Doucette agreed to drop the funding request from $50,000 to $25,000.
Instead of hiring an engineer, city staffers will be trained to do the tests.
Weather permitting, legal skating will begin in the winter of 2016-17.
"a one-time capital outlay of $192,000 and annual operating costs of $123,000, to cover “the services of an ice engineer and ice surveyor,” “de-naturalization of a portion of the eastern shoreline to ensure safe access,” “maintenance staff … maintain the ice surface,” yet more staff to provide first aid and keep skaters in their officially approved area, “purchase of required maintenance equipment such as a Zamboni,” “construction of a seasonal storage building,” a “safety perimeter boundary, a flag system, minor safety lighting and signage,” “seasonal washroom facilities and office space for staff.” So that people can skate on frozen water. Which they do anyway, every year it’s safe, without incident. It is beyond parody."
Chris Selley "Keep the Bureaucrats off the Ice"
"For city hall, $200,000 for rinks is a stretch." Globe column by Marcus Gee. Some excerpts:
The city’s 2015 budget is close to $10-billion. Spending by the parks, forestry and recreation department alone stands at $437-million...
The city government has a staggering list of responsibilities. It issues 45,000 building permits a year and conducts 165,000 building inspections. Its paramedics answered 274,220 medical calls last year, while the year before its cops made 41,255 arrests. It maintains more than 4,000 emergency-shelter beds in 58 locations.
City hall is spending $162-million for new subway cars and $600-million for new buses, not to mention $1.6-billion to upgrade the Ashbridges Bay sewage plant and $88-million to build new bike paths. Its state-of-good-repair backlog – what it needs to keep everything from falling apart – stood at $3.7-billion for 2014....Within a few years, city hall forecasts it will bump up against its debt ceiling, which keeps debt-servicing costs to under 15 per cent of its tax levy....
The plain fact is that the city must either a) do fewer things for its residents, or b) ask them to pay more for what they get. On past evidence, it will opt to do c) neither, and get Tim Hortons to pay for ice rinks instead.
Comment from CityRinks: There is a fourth option: do some better housekeeping of the outdoor rinks program.
(1) Open the rinks as soon as the sun is low and people are excited about winter (mid-November).
(2) Turn the rinks into more hospitable places, so that they’ll get maximum use during the skating season. That includes keeping the change rooms and washrooms open on all the stat holidays, and having more skate rentals. Staff can move the focus from rule-enforcement to fostering people’s enjoyment of skating, of the outdoors, and of wintertime neighbourhood sociability.
(2) Then close the rinks when the sun gets too high for good ice, fuel costs go through the roof, and attendance drops off anyway (early March).
Globe editorial "Skating rinks are an essential service."
Globe: "Toronto moves toward making more outdoor rinks available." Excerpts:
Toronto’s parks committee has moved to address recent criticism over the city’s ice skating policies, approving two motions that aim to make more outdoor rinks available, and for longer.
On Wednesday, the committee approved a motion to create a contingency fund that would allow the city to extend its outdoor rink season in years when the weather is cold enough to do so. The committee also approved a motion that asks city staff to report back on the viability of allowing skating on Grenadier Pond in High Park.
Globe: "Last-minute donation needed to extend Toronto's skating season." Excerpts:
Waste management company Green For Life, which last Friday pledged $100,000 to keep additional rinks open through the March break, withdrew the offer after city staff flagged problems over the weekend. Tim Hortons stepped in Tuesday with a replacement donation, matching a $100,000 gift from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The corporate funds will allow an additional 12 rinks to stay open for an extended season, taking the total in the city to 29. All others are now closed....
...Councillor Gord Perks said the rules on donations and sponsorship are clear and the switch could have been avoided if the sponsorship deal had been vetted by city staff before they were announced.
“In between the announcement and today, someone in the public service checked the rules and found that there was a problem with GFL,” he said. “I think it’s a great thing that members for the community want to step up and help out, but we have to make sure that we are absolutely spotless when we take that money.”
MLSE also has extensive dealings with the city, including a $10-million loan it received from the city last year for the expansion of BMO field.
Asked whether city policies were followed in securing the donations, Mr. Tory said the corporate donors approached the city and details were worked out by city staff. He agreed measures need to be taken to avoid such last-minute fixes in the future.
“I think we have to take a serious look at how many rinks we can keep open with city funds – knowing that they are not unlimited – through the school-break week,“ he said.
The Star: editorial "Toronto should find money to keep its outdoor ice rinks open."
The Star: "Corporate donors keeping 12 rinks open"
The Star: "Eleven Outdoor rinks will remain open until March 16"
The Star -- Councillor Sarah Doucette will ask staff for a report
The Star - a story about writer Richard Sanger's yearly adventures on Grenadier Pond
CBC story and poll about skating on the pond.
National Post editorial about skating on Grenadier Pond
"Get out there and skate" by Peter Kuitenbrouwer.
Star editorial about skating and tobogganing