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Monday Outdoor Rink Report #15 March 1, 2010

1. The long-awaited permission for on-site rink program staff to contact zamboni drivers by radio came through mid-week. The radio numbers were made available on Friday, two days before the end of the season. Better late than never! Now the interesting question is whether this new protocol will remain in force into next rink season. That would be an excellent beginning.

2. There was some wet, heavy snow mid-week which was cleared off fairly promptly at all three Ward 18 rinks. Then there were several days of cloudy skies and good ice at many rinks, until luck ran out on Sunday and the sun came out. Even though it was only sunny for less than two hours (about 11 am to 1 pm), the strong sun made many rinks very wet and not very skateable.

3. Wallace Rink had very bad ice even on cloudy Saturday, and the workers suspect a mechanical problem. We'll see if it's possible to hear what plans there are to test the system.

4. On March 1, Dufferin Rink was unskateable due to the sun and the forecast is the same (or warmer) all week. Hopefully the order to close for the season will come tomorrow, to reduce the stress on the compressors. I heard that Ramsden Rink managed to keep its pleasure-skating side (only) open, but that one of its compressors went down.

5. 3-1-1 was having some problem with information, telling a caller (not me) that the rinks were open until March 28.

6. If the remaining rinks close in the next few days, I have two requests for the three Ward 18 rinks: a) that Local 416 staff be directed to help Local 79 staff to put the rinks to bed by lifting the outside skate mats (they always used to but not any more in the last 5-6 years) and b) that the mats be placed in a corner of each of the compressor rooms so that they can be located easily at the beginning of next season. This was the practice until 2 years ago. More recently, when the mats were trucked off-site to unknown points, many of the mats did not return. Setting up the rinks with insufficient mats is a struggle.

7. The past week had much back-and-forth protest/reassurance/media/meetings/facebook etc. about the removal of the recreation supervisor and the general sense that the next challenge is upon us with the Recreation Service Plan. The "conflict of interest" question is now a subject of meetings with the recreation manager: Various public meetings will no doubt follow, while on-site staff explore whether they can stand another round of warnings about the activities in Ward 18. My particular interest is whether, and in what way, the Dufferin Grove "workshop" will gradually wind down. The many letters have made me think that if the activities are gradually eliminated, and this remarkable staff group disbands, there will at least be some engaging public discussion to chronicle what happened and why it stopped.

8. The final rink report, next Monday, will be a longer attempt to summarize the season in the light of early-season rink-related letters from management.

Jutta Mason

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Content last modified on November 15, 2010, at 09:40 PM EST