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A meeting at Councillor Minnan-Wong's office, with North York Recreation manager Costanza Allevato and Recreation supervisor Wendy Jang. The question was: how can Broadlands rink get more public drop-in shinny hockey than their current 4 hours a week? Wendy explained that signs had already been made that would allow more public skating including shinny hockey. However, she said she had become concerned about future problems with the new schedule and had held off posting them so she could seek advice from both Risk Management and Parks ice maintenance managers. There was still some uncertainty but she was willing to post paper signs in the interim, to allow the additional skating and remove the rule against ever using pucks and sticks during the unsupervised times.
The question was raised about prime time public skating, and Councillor Minnan-Wong said that there ought to be a fair balance, and that the "first principle" in considering this ought to be "maximum use of public resources." It was agreed that this would involve an analysis of the current permit schedule.
The question was raised whether it would be possible to introduce a skate-lending program to increase use in public times. Recreation management felt this would be problematic because of a city policy against cash-handling by staff.
Ice maintenance: 1.15 pm scrape and flood. 7 pm scrape and flood. Over the course of the day the ice melted and turned to slush along the north boards and at the east end where the sun was beating down the hardest. It was still soft along the boards after the Zamboni left.
It was Family Day and by 2pm the rink was a busy place with 13 hockey players and 14 pleasure skaters sharing the ice. At 3:30pm there were 16 hockey players and 11 pleasure skaters. Rec staff rented out 11 pairs of skates. The number of skate rentals has gone up in the past week. This seems to be connected to Adam Giambrone's visit on February 8. Most Sundays there is no pleasure skating time at Campbell, but an exception was made for the councillor's visit. The event attracted a lot of people who don't usually come to the rink and some young people learned for the first time that rentals are available. They have been coming ever since.
Weather: Sunny, high of minus 1, low of minus 8.
Ice maintenance: 9 am, 12 noon, 7 pm, 9 pm, all scrape and flood.
But the 9 pm maintenance had two feet of ice not resurfaced because it was grainy from the afternoon sun. Very tricky for the permit -- they took the scrapers and did it again themselves, to try and fix it a bit.
The rink was really, really crowded and lots of skaters with little kids just gave up and moved over to the snow hills. Now that most of the snow has melted away, the snow hills are still huge and dramatic for play.
Ice maintenance: 10 am, 2pm, 5.30 pm, 7.30 pm.
This rink was very very busy today (Family Day).
All the stores in malls, and all the community centres and libraries, were closed. So the rinks were packed (a sunny day).
It was a sunny day, and the rink was really, really full.
E-mail from L.S.
Today is a perfect skating day, with bright sunshine and a temperature that's not too high or low. I visited the Ryerson rink between about 12 and 1 and there were at least a dozen skaters, including several families with children and one man I recognized from my figure-skating club. Apparently one of our club coaches works at Ryerson and also uses the rink . This rink may be an orphan but it has interested friends out there.
Unfortunately, the ice conditions at opening were not up to an acceptable standard, except around the perimeter of the rink There were more than 6 craters in the ice surface. When I complained, the attendant quickly placed chairs and cones on the largest depressions, and called in a supervisor who promised it would be fixed "within a day or two". Fixed today would be better, but alas, we orphan-rink supporters cannot be too demanding.
I am happy to report that the building was open as scheduled today (noon) and the attendant was a truly charming gent who says he's 45 but looks 25! Maybe he was pulling my leg...
The cityrinks.ca visitor was also there. L.S. pointed out the craters in the ice, and they looked pretty deep.
One of the skaters told L.S. that she was an interfering busybody and so was the cityrinks visitor, and they should both mind their own business. This was on the basis of overhearing the complaint about the craters. His bark was worse than his bite, though -- he said he loves the downtown rinks, except for Nathan Phillips Square Rink, which is too crowded. He was unenthusiastic about anything like skate rentals, which he felt would bring more users to Ryerson Rink. It turned out that one of the best things about the rink, for him, is that so few people use it. Fair enough! But nevertheless, the rinks are expensive to run, and they need better care. The huge rock that forms part of the change room wall is marred by graffiti. And the place needs paint.
The "rink hotline" says that College Park Rink is closed for the rest of the season due to technical problems. So the bad ice must have been the sign already. Now there's only a big dirty puddle with a bit of ice floating in it. Sad.
Big trouble. The compressor plant sits below grade, and with all the rain in the previous day, water collected and ran down toward the compressor building and flooded it. CIMCO and Parks staff were there setting up more pumps -- the header trench had a huge amount of water in it too. The tech guy said that the building started to have water in it yesterday, then he started a sump pump and it went down. Later the water began to rise again, so he went out and bought another sump pump, set it up, and again the water went down. But in late evening, he said, as the rain got harder, suddenly there was like a river of water coming toward the compressor building. He put on high boots and turned off the compressors, and watched as the water flowed right down the stairwell.
"How long until the building and the header trench can be drained and the rink can start up again?" -- "No idea." But they're used to this: "It's happened about eighteen times before!"
There are new lakes all over the place. The problem is, the ground is frozen and can't absorb the rain and the meltwater from yesterday. On the news: part of the subway has had to shut down because there's water in the tunnels by Union Station.
Who can stop water? You can't.
At 10.30 there was water in the center on the hockey pad but the sides were freezing up well (good drainage). The drainage was even better on the pleasure-skating pad and it was more or less ready to be skated on. The zamboni driver was just about to go on. Open from early afternoon.
Weather: high 4, low -6. A few tiny bits of rain, no more after one pm.
Ice maintenance: no morning scrape - to let the water "thicken" so it will bond with the ice below. The foreman says it's better when skaters are skating on it so that they make groves that will fill in with the rain water (but no skaters wanted to skate on this raw morning). 12 noon: scrape. 3.30 scrape, 7pm scrape, 9pm scrape and flood of both pads.
After the first scrape, the ice was lovely, but there were very few skaters until the permit and pond-hockey time (after 9 pm). It seems that most people don't really "get" that a compressor-cooled ice rink stays frozen even if it's above zero -- especially if it's all-day clouds like today.
A rainy day with a high of 8. Closed technically all day long, because of weather forecast of torrential downpours -- so they cancelled all permits in west and closed all rinks. Yet at 1:30 seemed solid, a little wet, a concrete worry near boards patched up. 7pm good condition, ice dry, still closed technically but allowing people to skate if they wanted to.
Ice maintenance: 9 am s/f, 1 pm s/f and edging, 3.15 agreed to skip, 7 pm s/f, 9 pm s/flood on hockey side only/ The ice was good, and the shinny players got to play in short sleeves. They had a really good time (women on the hockey side, men on the "pond" side), except for one woman who broke her arm, and had to leave in an ambulance. She was philosophical: "it can happen."
| good ice here too, 9 celsius
The zamboni foreperson said he heard that one of the city's road snow contractors had dumped all that dirty road snow in the park (Feb.8 entry). It sounds like they may be paid by the load, so dumping more loads has a payoff.
Ice maintenance: 12.15 s/f both sides. 4.30 scrape only, 8.30 s/f.
The ice was hard and beautiful at 10.30 pm even though it was nine degrees celsius. More skaters were putting on their skates, ready to join a shinny game.
Ice maintenance: 10 a.m. s/f. That's all, but the ice held well.
Sundays 10-4pm are shared use, which means hockey players and pleasure skaters share the ice. In practice, this period is dominated by hockey with several lively games happening over the course of the day. However, pleasure skaters do show up once in a while and there seem to be more of them now than earlier in the year. Some skaters, even those with young children, are quite comfortable sharing the ice with big, fast-moving hockey players.
Yesterday staff were approached by a man who had questions about the rink. Today he showed up with two young girls to pleasure skate alongside the hockey players. When rink staff checked to see if they were having any problems on the ice, he said everything was fine. Afterwards, the man and his two girls drank chocolate and ate cookies in the changeroom.
Earlier in the week, rec staff got a call from Marjolein Winterink who works in Ward 18 Councillor Adam Giambrone's office. She wanted to organize a skating event at Campbell rink. Rec staff set aside 4-6 for pleasure skating and built a campfire by the side of the rink. Marjolein brought hot chocolate and marshmellows. The turnout was good. Campbell saw more pleasure skaters today than any other day so far this year. There were roughly 30 skaters on the ice during both hours while other people just stood around the campfire talking to the councillor and each other. The skaters were of all ages and there was more than one stroller parked by the open Zamboni gates. The councillor used the occasion to ask rink staff about ice maintenance.
Ice maintenance: s/f before 9, scrape only at 12.30, s/f 2.30 pm, s/f 7.25 pm.
From shinny player J.A.: [At about 12.30] the zamboni driver wanted to flood the rink again, but instead listened to the skaters and after driving the zamboni onto the rink decided against it and gave it a good scrape instead.
The ice as a result was great and the game continued. Good to see we're making progress....nearly everyone there was so happy that he didn't flood it that many thanked him.
The compressor seems to be fine and the ice held well all day, until the final maintenance -- then the skaters said there as a long jagged crack down the middle. That sounds like what happened three weeks ago at Kew Rink, which finally had to be closed for three hours of deep flood. See what tomorrow brings.
Click on image to enlarge it.
Weather: high of 2, low minus 7. Sunny most of the day.
Ice maintenance: 9 am s/f, next resurfacing was skipped because of bright sun, plus 2 temp., ice looked good and no thin spots. 4.55 s/f, 8.05 s/f.
Despite the sun, the ice held, except for the sides, which needed cones. The maintenance workers pointed out that there were big piles of dirty, salty snow dumped in the park, in among the clean zamboni snow dumps. In the morning some of the salty snow to the east of the rink had melted and had begun to flow onto the hockey rink. One of the rec staff said she had noticed two big Mack trucks and a loader dumping snow at 2 a.m. about a week ago. Could be contractors with the City. A big mess!