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posted November 24, 2008
The Community Development and Recreation Committee recommends that weather permitting, the Outdoor Artificial Ice skating season of twelve weeks be extended at a total of 14 outdoor artificial ice rinks, as indicated in Attachment 1, for an additional two week period to March 15, 2009. Decision Document
This is the letter cityrinks sent to all the councillors on November 14 2008:
Dear Councillor Mihevc,
Last night Councillor Minnan-Wong's office made us aware of a staff report relating to the March extension of the outdoor artificial ice rink season. The item is scheduled to be considered at today's meeting of the Community Development and Recreation Committee: Outdoor Artificial Ice Rink Season. Councillor Minnan-Wong was aware of our long-term involvement with these rinks, as apparently no other councillor or PFR staff was, since we were not notified about this item. Sadly, none of us can change our schedules to come and depute. We will be tracking your committee's decision on this with interest, however. Here are our concerns:
The staff report says: "There are no financial implications arising from this report. The total operating cost of keeping 14 city-owned and operated outdoor artificial ice rinks open for an additional two week period in early March is $172,000."
But the need to find that extra money must be why Rec management has already sent out the order to close the rinks on Christmas Day this year and shorten rink hours on other popular winter holidays including the new Family Day.
The puzzling thing about this March rink plan is: why bother? As the staff report says, March break doesn't begin until March 16 in 2009, so the outdoor rinks won't be open during March Break anyway.
The staff report itself says that last March, keeping the rinks open had lousy results: "there were [only!!] 25 to 40 skaters on each rink per day.....During most days in March, the sunlight and warmer temperatures deteriorated ice conditions at all locations." We agree with this description, except that there were even fewer skaters at some of the rinks. Many of them were closed much of the time. CELOS Information Bulletin:City Outdoor Ice Rinks, March 2008
And yet the report says that staff recommend 14 rinks to stay open into mid-March this year, and every year from now on. If any committee member could question this recommendation, that would be a good idea.
See also Outdoor Rinks And Weather