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Monday Rink Report #2, November 30, 2009

A few more compressor-cooled rinks are now open or partly open, but the only way to find out is to go there, since the neither the rink hotline nor the city website have been updated since November 21. The 311 staff are unhappy because they receive very little information from Parks and Recreation.

One of the most urgent issues -- still - is the remarkable lack of understanding among both frontline staff and management, of how compressor cooling works at rinks. There are many remarks about the problem of any rain (?) when making ice, and the problem of above-0 temperatures.

Toronto/East York:

Nathan Philips Square Rink has excellent ice and heavy use and had good weather for the annual Festival of Lights.

Regent South Rink shows no ice-making attempts all week, up to my visit on Saturday afternoon, although the sign hoping for "Wednesday Nov.25 opening, weather permitting" is still there. The compressors are still running.

Dufferin Grove has good ice and has had very heavy use in the evenings and on the weekend. This is despite the lack of any mention on the City's website or the hotline. 311 was also not informed that Dufferin Rink was open all week. After the Star article on Nov.21 revealed that there had been volunteer overnight floods at Dufferin Rink, the Parks supervisor added late-night Local 416 hours, until 2 am, from Monday to Thursday. It's our understanding that these were additional overtime hours instead of a change in the scheduling. Note for next year: 6 pm to 2 am shifts for the first week are a cheaper way to do night-time floods, no need to start at 3 with 3 hours of nothing to do.

Hodgson was listed as open, off and on all week, but its apparently its real opening day was Saturday Nov.28. The ice is good, and remarkably thick.

Kew: unknown.

2. Etobicoke:

Instead of doing late-night floods, the Etobicoke approach was to schedule staff for days or evenings, and to remove cooling from the pleasure-skating rink pads at West Mall and Rennie Rinks. This was something we'd never seen before (and hope we won't see again). The ice at both rinks appeared skateable by Wednesday, but they were apparently not opened until the weekend. Neither of them have their pleasure-skating rinks started.

Sir Adam Beck was still having the floor laid on Nov.23, and Sunnyside Rink had multiple renovation projects ongoing -- no ice-making at either place.

3. North York:

Glen Long still had its compressor off on Tuesday Nov.24 -- no visits since then, and no news about any other North York Rink except for Mel Lastman Square. This Rink had its compressors on but no ice-making, up to last Wednesday.

4. No news on Albert Campbell Square. And no one to ask, since 311 is out of the loop.

We have begun to gather rink user names for our complaint to the ombudsman, and have sent our preparatory questions to Parks management. Thus far, none of the e-mails to management have had any acknowledgment, including the hotline and website reminders.

Jutta Mason

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Content last modified on November 15, 2010, at 09:36 PM EST