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Long Term Problem

It seems that Parks staff may be working to close the outdoor ice rinks permanently.

Reason for worry:

1. In May 2007, all Councillors received a big, colourful binder from Parks, Forestry and Recreation, called “Councillor Resource Kit.” Under “Overview of Programs and Services”, Artificial Ice Rinks (A.I.R.s) are omitted. Under “Parks, Forestry, and Recreation by the Numbers” indoor arenas are listed, but no A.I.R.s are on the list.

Moreover, in the Sports listing, there is no reference to hockey at all.

2. In 2007, an internal Parks report (Service Planning and Provision Strategy Options) showed an alarming misunderstanding of the difference between compressor-cooled artificial ice rinks and natural ice rinks. It stated that both kinds of rinks are "limited to a relatively short operational season that has recently been further reduced as climatic changes result in fewer days when it is possible to have natural ice or maintain outdoor artificial ice." This is incorrect. Properly-run artificial ice rinks function perfectly in the low-sun season, November to February. Climate change has not affected these rinks.

3. In January 2006, Parks management recommended to the Budget Committee that all A.I.R.s should be permanently closed, except Nathan Phillips Square and Mel Lastman Square. (They’d be kept open 14 weeks.)This recommendation was not accepted at that time -- it often takes a few years for a staff recommendation to gain approval.

History of outdoor rink reductions

City of Toronto staff report, March 29, 2001

To: Budget Advisory Committee

From: Joe Halstead, Commissioner Economic Development, Culture and Tourism

Subject: Parks and Recreation Division - Information Requests on 2001 Operating Budget

page 3: Reduction in operating season for Outdoor Artificial Ice Rinks (AIR’s): The proposed adjustment to Outdoor AIRs is to reduce the operating season by 2 weeks to harmonize at a 10 week season from mid December to the end of February. This will be a reduction uniform across the City of Toronto. Outdoor skating would still be available at Nathan Phillips Square, Mel Lastman Square and Albert Campbell Square for the full season. Indoor public skating will provide an alternative and will be available at 60 indoor locations throughout the City. This is a reduction of 3.4 FTEs and $0.096 M.

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Content last modified on October 10, 2007, at 05:52 AM EST