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posted January 10, 2008

December 3, 2007: New web site and rink glitches

An update and a forwarded message that went off to the acting recreation director. The update: saveourrinks.ca has become one section of the newly independent http://cityrinks.ca. Have a look at the site -- same good map, lots of news, and soon all 49 rinks will have their own information page.

In latest news: we just learned that the city's freedom of information office will only let us see the documentation of their 2006 budget committee suggestion (to close all the neighbourhood rinks to save money) if we pay $1560 to the staff to hunt for the information. (To be continued). And even then they may not find much: Background To 2006 Rink ClosureProposal

Four city rinks plus Harbourfront are now open and most of the rest will open this coming weekend. Please let us know how your rink is doing once it opens, and cc us on any emails you send to the general manager: [email protected] We can suggest other destinations for e-mails too -- and it seems from what we hear that e-mails play a very large role in city staff decisions.

Last thing: in the spirit of e-mail feedback to city staff, here's a forwarded e-mail sent to the acting recreation director, pointing out some rink information glitches that may confuse rink friends all over the city.

Improvements in rink info needed

Now that some city outdoor rinks have opened and the rest will soon be open, there are some communication glitches that need fixing. I'm sending this to you because I assume Recreation looks after getting the word out to Torontonians.

The city's rink hot-line (not a hot-line, but rather a recorded information line) has some difficulties, and so does the web site.

1. There is no provision for live information during bad weather. There was a no-cost live information number on the outdoor rink recording for the last three years (connecting to Dufferin Rink). That number has now been removed from the recorded message. That was a problem today, when none of the four rinks with ice were able to open until later, because of snow clearing. Is there provision for another real (live) hot-line number in case of bad weather? Otherwise, could Dufferin Rink staff once again answer those calls?

2. I didn't listen to many of the rink messages but I can report that the Dufferin Rink message cuts out just as the voice says "we are located at...." It then loops back to the start, then cuts out again, then goes to a ring which is never answered. Are there other rink recordings like that?

3. Mel Lastman Rink is listed on the city web site as opening on Dec.1. http://www.toronto.ca/parks/recreation_facilities/skating/outdoor_ice_rinks.htm But it was not open this weekend, and the rink information recording says it will open Wednesday Dec.12, i.e. later than all the other outdoor rinks. Is there a reason? (Where is harmonization here?) And could the web site and the information line recording be matched up?

4. Albert Campbell Rink in Scarborough is also listed on the city web site as opening on Dec.1. But it was also not open. The rink information line gives a message from the end of last season. Then it says that "the rink will reopen in...(pause)...December." No date given.

Dufferin Rink was full and lively from the moment it opened its doors this weekend and I think one reason is that we get the word out. I hope the word will go out more accurately about the other rinks as well. I've cc'd Lucky and Costanza and Vanessa on this, as you see, since the rink information has been a concern for them, also Tino since I gather he's the recreation supervisor in charge of the rink staffing, also Kevin Bowser since he's in charge of actually getting the rinks running. I have no contact in Scarborough, concerning Albert Campbell, but I'm sure you do.


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