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Motion introduced by Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, as a guest (allowed to bring a motion but no vote). He said he had asked staff to figure out the cost of opening 14 rinks two weeks earlier than the rest next rink season, i.e. on Nov.21 2009. Staff had brought back a report on the cost of opening all of the 49 rinks early, but Councillor Minnan-Wong said he wanted to discuss the possibility of only opening the 14.
Councillor Davis: The matter of rink season timing and length “was debated fully in council the last time for 08/09.”
Councillor Minnan-Wong: “Many people didn’t know it was going to be discussed then, since the agenda only comes out a few days before the meeting.”
Councillor Davis: “Committee agendas are on the public website of the city and it’s the responsibility of the citizens to inform themselves from there. Council approved a fourteen-week rink season for 14 extra rinks, going to March 15, and to change that again will require a new and enhanced business case.”
Councillor Mihevc to General Manager Brenda Patterson: “Is there heavy usage in March?”
GM Brenda Patterson: “not as high as in the regular rink season. But we had incredible pressure to stay open then.”
Councillor Davis to GM Patterson: “If council changed its direction, and asked you to open fourteen rinks on November 21 this year, what would that mean?”
GM Patterson: “Staffing has already been established for the whole year…it would change the work selection time, staff will have been laid off and not called back yet….Also the idea of rink users helping to shovel the rink, mentioned in the deputation, would create a Local 416 issue related to contracting out.”
Councillor Parker to GM Patterson: “What are the main costs involved with running the rinks?”
GM Patterson: “The primary cost is salary. There is also the utilities cost. There are minimum numbers of staff required to operate the rinks safely. I haven’t got enough information to answer in a more detailed way at this time.”
Councillor Minnan-Wong: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. The executive committee found $1 million to surround Sunnyside beach with a net. This item should be referred to the budget committee, and they can decide.”
Councillor Parker: “if this committee doesn’t advocate for more ice time in rinks, who will do it?”
Councillor Ainslie: “I want to move referral to the budget committee.”
Councillor Mihevc: “This raises a whole bunch of staffing issues, so I won’t support it. I would like to ask the general manager to review a menu of options, so that piloting of the earlier opening can happen in the 2010-2011 cycle….I think that Councillor Minnan-Wong is talking out of both sides of his mouth pushing for more programs at the same time as he’s pushing for us to spend less money. ”
Councillor Davis: “I urge that this committee not support this motion, and allow the general manager to work out how to staff the rinks appropriately.”
Vote: Yes to Nov. 21 2009 opening of 14 extra rinks: Councillors Parker and Ainslie.
No: Councillors Davis, Mihevc and Augimeri. Carried.
Jutta Mason and Michael Monastyrskyj