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Monday Outdoor Rink Report #9, January 18, 2010

1. Rink usage: rink usage in our area has been up from last year -- even Giovanni Caboto Rink has more people than last year -- but the range is pretty extreme. So for example last Sunday at about 1.30 pm, Dufferin Rink had approximately 120 people, Giovanni Caboto had 17, and Glen Long Rink had 1 skater.

2. Rink benches: The general situation with benches is stingy. Hodgson Rink, much loved and well used, had three weathered benches outside beside the rink, with room for at least four more. Ramsden Rink has two park benches repainted in Maple Leaf colours, with three more in various states of disrepair, outside the rink enclosure facing in the wrong direction. Greenwood Rink, also much used, has no outside benches -- but this week two were moved outside, at the request of rink users. Good start, but much more can be done.

3. Rink events: So far, my request for special events permit information has turned up one outdoor rink event for the whole season. However, there is also the puzzle of the Toronto Maple Leafs event at Ramsden Rink on December 8, which permits has not yet found on record, and other anomalies like the Christie Pits Fun Day on January 17, a collaboration between the Christie Pits Friends group and a baseball league, which was not required to have a permit. The customary rink fun days at Wallace and Dufferin are still much under threat.

4. Needed repairs: a water fountain at Greenwood has been repaired. However, half the the overhead lights and the office power source at Campbell Rink have been off since Thursday, and the rink door at Wallace Rink still traps the skaters.

5. Community bulletin boards: these seem to be for corporate notices only. Some of the corporate notices are 3 - 4 years out of date, but a query to post more recent material is earnestly rejected. That includes lost cats and apartments for rent. Why?

6. The city's mandatory helmet policy is more than halfway in ruins. There are very few outdoor rinks in the city where the policy is still even halfway enforced. The most popular rinks ignore it during adult shinny times: Harry Gairey, Greenwood, Dufferin, Ramsden, Rennie, Wallace, Hodgson. We're not sure about Otter Creek and High Park. We've heard that Dieppe and West Mall enforce it. Giovanni Caboto used to enforce it, but an interesting workaround has developed there: during the limited hours of rink guard duty, there are 5 - 10 shinny players with helmets, and then as soon as the rink guards leave (but the zamboni driver is still on duty), a much larger number of shinny players arrives, without helmets. We repeat our alert -- the city has placed itself at high risk of lawsuits, by proclaiming an unenforced helmets policy.

7. rink opening hours, and times of public access - these vary greatly, and in mysterious ways. The most mysterious is the practice in the east end, of not opening rink change rooms until 1 pm. Of note: the only double-pad rink in the city which doesn't open in the mornings is Greenwood. This should be fixed. Also, every city rink should have some prime time public access. We will follow up with specifics.

8. flying squad: we have asked for but not yet received the regular flying squad schedule, which is information that would also be very helpful to the east-Toronto single pad hockey-board rinks. The flying squad visits to Wallace Rink continue to be unpredictable, without direct communication.

9. Ice maintenance theory: The flying squads sometimes do their ice maintenance very fast (but sometimes, happily, they take more time to do a good scrape). Apparently the order went out mid-week to do floods at every rink for every resurfacing, so that if the weekend was warm, the rinks would not lose their ice. Resurfacing needs to be fitted to the individual rinks -- for example both Hodgson and Dufferin Rinks have very high ice. With extra floods such as those ordered for last week, these rinks will be in trouble on sunny days in February, with the pipes too well insulated and not able to freeze the skating surface adequately.

10. Rink meeting at City Hall -- The recreation director was unable to attend and did not respond to the recreation items on the list we sent. The parks director suggested that the list of suggestions was too long. We will follow up with a specific inventory of what was done and what is still needed.

Jutta Mason

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Content last modified on November 15, 2010, at 09:38 PM EST