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Dear outdoor rink supporters,
This is NOT an announcement of the reopening of the outdoor rinks today, despite the chilly weather.
This is to let you know that, with the encouragement of City Councillor Janet Davis, in the past week there have been two friendly meetings between CELOS (which runs the cityrinks.ca website) and City staff. One of the meetings included the new Parks director, Andy Koropeski. Outdoor rinks are under him. The outcome of the conversations so far is that there will be a nuts-and-bolts meeting soon, about - the current two-tier outdoor ice maintenance arrangements (twice the staff hours at Etobicoke and North York single-pad hockey rinks versus Central Toronto) - the scarcity of free drop-in skating (including shinny hockey) at North York outdoor rinks, and (to a lesser degree) in Etobicoke.
Also, General Manager Brenda Patterson has said she will revisit the contentious city policy requiring mandatory helmets for adult shinny hockey. This will need public input before the start of next rink season.
And city staff say that updates about day-to-day ice conditions will be much more easily available next season.
This is a good time for some compliments to Councillor Davis and city staff for responding to all those e-mails they got from many of you rink supporters. If you don't want to make up your own letter, here's a cut-and-paste option:
As a supporter of outdoor ice rinks I want to thank you for following up on our requests for improvements. We look forward to seeing the results next season. These rinks are a wonderful civic resource and your work is appreciated!