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posted Feburary 11, 2006
February 7 2006 rink meeting report.
Before Mr.Boyle came into the meeting room, he reprimanded two rink staff who were doing inside work, for not being out on the ice as rink guards. Since this was his first-ever visit to the rink when it was in season, and he did not introduce himself to the rink staff before berating them, the staff didn't realize right away who he was. Then Mr.Boyle addressed the meeting and told rink users that he was very unhappy to learn how much money was being spent to run the park, and that he would take steps to cut that amount back to the 2004 spending. He also said that while other parks and community centres in the city have well-running advisory councils with good relations to park staff, that was not the case at Dufferin Grove Park where he was having to solve a crisis every six months.
Union Representative Ron Moreau explained to the meeting that no matter who runs the rink, the law requires that they must take over all union agreements with Local 416. He also explained that the Employee Health and Safety legislation does indeed permit and even require all employees to leave a job site if they see a danger there. He said what is a danger is decided by the employee, and if ratified by any joint health and safety committee, the decision is binding, since the committee is the legally constituted authority for making health and safety assessments and orders. Another union representative said that zambonis are very dangerous and that any protocols designed to shield children from being run over are worth it.(see note)
The union representatives in the room seemed to agree that the only real problem was cutbacks to funding and that rink users should join the union in lobbying for more funds.
After the meeting, Jutta Mason said to Mr.Boyle that the City staff should use Dufferin Rink as an example to learn from, for how to run a rink that works well. Mr.Boyle said, on the contrary, Dufferin Rink has been the squeaky wheel long enough: "no more squeaky wheel."
The visiting union representative gave the park on-site staff (and rink users) the first specific hint of why Dufferin Rink has been singled out as a high-risk rink. He said that a child had run out onto the ice surface while the zamboni was on it.
Clarification: There was only one occasion this season when a child ran out onto the ice. On a weekday in January, thieves came to the rink and got into the bags of two school classes, both in the building and in the players’ boxes. A ten-year-old boy was missing $50 from his bag in the players’ box. The park staff and teachers were questioning some suspects, and the police had been called. Just at that time the zamboni driver arrived to scrape the ice. Jutta asked him to wait. But he said he was in a hurry and went out anyway. In the confusion the boy whose money was stolen slipped past the rink guard and ran out to the players’ box to take one more look. The driver saw him and stopped, and nothing happened. However, Jutta’s request to wait was unwelcome. Volunteers are not to “give instruction” to City staff.
It was not until two weeks later that the high-risk precautions were put in place. Dufferin Rink on-site staff were to strictly follow a new protocol; new barriers were to be set up for skaters; and an order came down that no more volunteers would be allowed to help when the zamboni was on the ice.
Note about management board research:
Six rink users put their name down for a working committee to research community boards of management. The more people who help out with the research, the more complete the information will be. Any rink users who have knowledge of community boards, please e-mail [email protected], share your insights at the rink, or leave your name and number at the zamboni café.