For better use and better management. The UNOFFICIAL Website of Toronto's Outdoor Skating Rinks
The contractor is coming in tomorrow to make the health and safety improvements. They should finish sometime tomorrow afternoon and then the rink will be ready to be flooded. It should happen by Thursday at the latest. Brian also agreed to provide feedback tomorrow morning on your questions about whether a ramp might work better than a concrete step.
I'm still waiting to hear back from Susan and Mike about the stairs.
I'm just writing to relay the latest news on Wallace rink that I just got from Brian Green.
To comply with the health and safety order, they are building some wooden steps today. This is in fact a temporary solution, similar to what you suggested with your temporary ramp idea. They are going to put some matting on top of the steps so they don't get slippery. If this temporary solution ends up working well this winter it could then become the permanent solution, or if not they will build something else in the summer.
Tomorrow the rink will be fully swept and then the rink flooded Friday morning. Brian also said that they are going to clean up the junk lying around the area. They will also be laying down additional matting outside and in the washrooms as soon as they can.
Additionally, Susan Korrick has said that she will be contacting me shortly with information about the plans for new stairs.
I'm glad that they're using wood to build the extra platform at Wallace because I think it may turn out that it will have to be ripped out. It's a last-minute fundamental design change (ordered by Employee Health and Safety staff?????)
I think it will spoil the bench feature at Wallace, which works so well at Harbourfront.
Wallace Rink is by now the poster child for the CELOS Parks Committee Report for January 23. We will describe the various odd things that happened and ask the committee to ask the Parks staff to explain. Certainly one thing we'll try to find out is what the chain of command is for deciding on design changes, and we'll also find out whether the buck stops anywhere.
Since it's going to rain tonight, I assume the compressors have been turned on at Wallace now.
Once we get the rink going, I think it makes perfect sense to watch carefully how this new wooden step is working in practice and think about whether we should keep it in future years, build something different in the summer, or even remove it entirely next year. I plan to ask staff to review the whole thing after the rink season and make a decision about what to do next year.
The step is really a minor issue though compared to the big picture priority of just getting the rink operational and open to the public asap. I hope you are right about the compressor being turned on at this point. It also doesn't look like the weather is going to cooperate, 11 degree highs forecast for tomorrow and 9 degrees for Saturday, the compressors may have trouble coping with that.
Those are all very good questions you've raised regarding the whole process and we are also very keen on hearing the answers from Parks staff. Should make for interesting reading!
Compressor-cooled rinks are built for exactly this kind of weather and as long as it's cloudy in the next few days, and as long as they did in fact turn on the compressors tonight, there's a reasonable chance of ice-making. If there had been adequate collaboration among all the city staff when the rink was first set to go, the nails wouldn't have been frozen into the rink surface and then the rink would have been going already and in fine shape. But hopefully it will still go ahead.
The other city rinks are all in very good condition, since the ice is still thin and the sun is still at its lowest candle-power. (Dec.21, the shortest day of the year, was just two weeks ago.)
As for the expense of the wooden platform and the question of whose authority is being invoked here for this last-minute design change, you might want to start checking into that now. But CELOS will also put those questions in writing, and follow up.
I'll take your word for it on the compressors, you know far more about how they work than I do. Someone once told me that they were designed to operate up to 7 degrees celsius so that is why I thought they might have trouble keeping up.
As for the question of expense and authority, I'm going to ask Kevin Bowser to review the issue once he gets back from vacation. My sense is that Brian was really the person who took the initiative on this one, his hand having been forced by the health and safety order. Had he not acted quickly to comply with the order the rink opening may have been delayed even further, which we all wanted to avoid.
From Chris Gallop, assistant to City Councillor Adam Giambrone, to Jutta Mason, Jan.10 2007 Yes, staff confirmed this morning that there is some money left in the minor maintenance budget to cover the costs of the stairs at Wallace, so the project is a go. I asked for clarification on when the work will happen and I am still waiting to hear back. I have no idea what the big project the carpenters mentioned is or how it affects their availability.
I also saw your previous email about your surprise that the stairs weren't included in the renovation tender. My understanding is that they were cut out of the project to free up money for more changeroom improvements. I believe that the assumption at that point was that the old wooden stairs would remain in place. I am unclear on why they were taken out, but I am assuming it is because the slope destabilized during construction and dislodged the stairs from their moorings, so they had to be removed for safety reasons.
Tech Services staff finally received their official marching orders on this today. They were instructed by their manager to get this done as soon as possible so long as the stairs they build comply with the relevant codes. Domenic Fantauzzi will be taking the lead on organizing the details for this project. I still don't have a clear sense on the timing (I will be following up with Domenic) but feel this is a very encouraging development and that this project is slowly but steadily moving forward. Hopefully I'll have more to tell you on Friday.
It would be good to meet on-site with you and the Wallace Rink project manager, and staff who wish to attend, to discuss:
-- remaining current work, e.g. compressor-room doors, embankment where the retaining wall was removed, fixed benches attached to change-room interior walls, etc.
-- work for next year: washrooms, zamboni garage set in hillside
-- stairs in hillside
-- which unexpected costs caused the hillside stairs to be taken out of the project
-- step-down which now makes the long seating area covering dangerously slippery (was it ever intended to be a stairway?) -- what i the capital projects section position on this last-minute change?
Other updates necessary for the Jan.28 Open House
Are you available for an on-site debrief meeting about the Wallace rink project this week at one of the times noted below? If you can also review the file so you are able to respond to the questions in the suggested agenda below that would be helpful. This is to prepare for a community open house about the project that is taking place on the 28th.
I'm hoping that you're right and the Wallace stairs might indeed go in this week. Tonight a couple of us went up there and shovelled/chipped out all the ice where the stairs are going. So now the cement is bare and the carpenters have a clear field.
More than happy to provide what I can..
I took over the project during the final stages of construction, so I may not have all that you require but I will summarize to date where we are.
All of the exterior work involving grounds will be completed in the spring when weather permits, that includes grading and sodding the embankment and the perimeter areas of the the new rink site. Other areas of additional work that we are still working on include, the new benches for the change room, we are finalizing the materials and design, they will be installed as soon as possible.
We are also working on the upgrading of the washrooms, as you know these were in very pour condition and were very unsanitary. These will be completed by spring. The existing washrooms have been cleaned up and are being used until this is done.
The benches and the washrooms were only recently added to the contractors list of items to do, thats why they are not completed. As far as the hillside stairs, they were in the design concept only but not part of this contract, possibly future. The priority of this item was further down the line following the change rooms and washrooms.
As far as the design concept, including the step down area from one rink to another, from what I have seen the preliminary sketches and drawings were circulated and overall design discussed at various meetings.
Thanks for setting up this meeting. It's wonderful to hear that there will be benches in the change rooms and also that the washrooms will be spruced up a bit. If any plumbing is going to be redone in the washrooms, it would be helpful to see if a sink/drain connection can be roughed in to the adjacent office at the same time, to allow for a community snack bar at a later date, when the funds are there.
Since Sunday is the open house, it would be helpful if we could have the loan of some drawings connected with this project, of the same type as were in the big blueprint book that the contractor had. Because the health-and-safety step-down has created new problems and may have to be removed in the spring, it would be especially helpful to have the detailed drawing of that edge (the west edge of the pleasure-skating rink).
The wooden stairs to lead from the rink to the parking lot, have been finished. However, the chain-link fence was closed up yesterday, and it will have to be re-opened.
Site meeting with the rink architect from Totten Sims Hubicki, and Mike Card, the project manager. It turns out that several railings haven't yet been installed, and there was discussion of how the health-and-safety-ordered modification step-down might be remedied slightly to replace a bit of the seating that was lost. Neither the architect, nor the project manager, nor the parks supervisor said they were at all worried about the unmarked edge of most of the pleasure skating rink. They said that if it was a problem, pylons could be kept there.
The original recreation request to have all the inside change room benches free-standing, so that the room could be multi-purpose the other 40 weeks of the year, had been forgotten. But the architect and the program manager said that the benches would be modified now to allow this.
The welders came to modify the chain-link fence and the stairway is now available to rink users, so they can get out to the parking lot without going a long way around.
At the Open House yesterday almost everyone who talked to us (98%) said that there have to be railings to help people get up and down the slope between the change room and the rink. People are clinging to the concrete retaining wall (and the electrical conduits there), falling, using the tractor that's STILL parked there (!!?!) as a place to hold on.
Even a wooden railing would be a help, to get it in place quickly, and then there needs to be a metal railing for both sides as soon as they can be made. Maybe it could be made at the same time as the two missing railings we saw on the blueprint on Friday?
I will raise this concern right away.
Thanks for your email. Could you copy Brian Green in issues related to rinks as he is the supervisor for Rink Operations West. I have copied Brian in on this email.
here's a copy, as you requested, of the email about the missing railings for the slope between Wallace Rink and the change room. This is what it looks like (in this case a guy is hanging on to the broken tractor using it like a railing instead.
It took three days to get the installation of the step-down along the side of the pleasure rink. This change room access slope has now been identified as a problem, and both staff and rink users have slipped and fallen. I heard nothing back. Can you find out whether this problem is being addressed?
Attached is a sketch of the revised mounting of the benches along the raised elevation between the pleasure skating rink and the hockey rink. I think it captures the input received by everyone at the meeting that day. Please forward this to whoever would like to see it.
I want to move on the revision so return comments as soon as possible.
Attachment: Bench Plan:
Attachment: Bench Section:
If you and other rink users have any further feedback, e.g. from the open house, re: the proposed changes below, we need to know as soon as possible.
thanks for sending along the sketches. I won't have time to talk any more with people until after I get the rink report in to Adam on Monday, but after that will be lots of time -- they can't go ahead until the snow melts anyway, and watching the patterns of use is the best approach.
Mike made it sound like they plan to move sooner than that.
Then please ask them not to "move sooner than that." They said everything was a tearing hurry last year and then they didn't even begin until mid-September. They made a mess with that health and safety thing and now it's time to wait for a week.
Can you let me know if there's a problem with that?
Note that rink staff and I asked for a meeting with Mike about two months ago and he had plenty of time not to answer me then.
How are they going to build on ice and snow anyway? (!!)
I'm sure it will be at least a week, probably a few weeks before they get to it, but hopefully it will still be done sooner than the spring (although you are right, I have no idea how they plan to build on the snow, but I'm not a technical person). Right now Mike is waiting for feedback and concurence from the 3 P&R managers, so that alone will probably take at least a week.
I'll let him know to expect further feedback from you and other rink users about the design.
Recreation supervisor Tino Decastro found a railing, left over from last year, when it was removed from a different wall. So the tech services staff came and put it up. Much better!
I printed off the sketch in your attachment and took it up to Wallace today. Both rink staff and rink users discussed it on-site today. The scale on the drawing doesn't match what we saw up there. Beyond that, both staff and users felt that the bench as sketched in your attachment will make the problem worse. Please don't let them go ahead with it until there's been more thought put in. The priority here is not a last-minute haste (after all those delays!) but getting it right for the rink users.
Two alternative suggestions so far:
1. mine still stands, to take out most of the wooden step-down. In that case I also think Tino should consider removing half the boards covering the players' boxes, and trying this again. Hockey players (not only the bad guys) dislike the loss of the players' boxes. Then the white benches could be relocated and the step downs would not be needed except (perhaps) at the actual exit doors.
2. Christina Oliveira (rink staff) had another suggestion -- to leave the wooden step-down but put an actual long bench (with a back) all along the step-down. Here's her rough sketch, from the side.
She can explain it very well and there was enthusiasm for her idea from others there.
You mentioned that both staff and rink users felt that the bench, as sketched by Mike Card, will make the problem worse? Why is that? Can you provide more details please.
Everybody thought that it would create a worse trip hazard, plus a strange narrow passage. I think they're right. This needs another site meeting. It's a drag but having an unworkable structure is a lot more of a drag. Maybe we could roll that together with your meeting with us on Friday? Just meet up there with Tino and some rink staff?
I spoke to Mike Card about it and he has no objections to taking additional time to make sure we get the bench right. Basically he is now looking at doing the changes once the rink season is over. This will provide an opportunity for further discussions among rink users and PFR staff of what worked and what didn't work during the current season and develop a final list of changes for Mike to implement in the spring.
Now that the snow is out at Wallace, I imagine Mike Card will want to tie up the loose ends. Here are the issues of which I am aware:
With the landscaping it's important to keep in mind that there needs to be a level place for the donated zamboni tent.
one puzzling detail is the repair of the terraced hillside, in order not to make it too steep.
concrete cracks in lots of places:
big gap underneath where all the pucks go out! .....and restoration of the bench feature.
This could best be done by restoring the traditional players boxes:
They are still hollow so the top can be removed and the doors can be relocated from the middle section. For some reason there are four doors in the middle section, so maybe two of them could be removed completely, two relocated to the players boxes -- that still leaves the standard one entry and exit door at the NE end of the hockey rink. The metal benches could then be added into the players' boxes, making a wider walkway by the long boundary bench that forms the southern edge of the rink, with no confusion and no need for OHSA modifications. The wood from the disassembled step-down could be re-used to make perimeter benches around the rest of the rink, giving rink users an excellent pleasure-skating set-up and also giving skaters a visible warning of the edge of the ice surface all around -- addressing a serious liability concern.
There are also railings to be installed and probably other things that Mike is very aware of but I am not.
We will need to put together a list of all the finishing touches that are needed at Wallace. Can you please call me when you get a chance to discuss it.
Chris, pardon my lack of grasp of the four cardinal directions. The bench that needs to be restored is not to the south of the pleasure rink, it forms the western edge of the pleasure pad.
The edge-bench is a very common form for rinks, as we see at City Hall, at Harbourfront, College Park, and in this photo from Amsterdam. It will be very nice when Wallace can get its edge-bench back too
First of all we are in an active contract with the General Contractor. We still have our normal process to follow in completing there contract, that means they need to finish there project then we will go through deficiencies. The Consultant will review the finishes and we will accept or not accept pending that ongoing review. The contractor needs to complete there contractural obligation. My agreement was to look at the seating along the concrete step with staff if minor adjustments need to be made. I have no problem in meeting to discuss this item further.
When can the bench be discussed? Did you want to meet after the compressor doors, railing, cracks, swing gates, landscaping etc.etc. are done, or sooner?
There is some landscaping to be done as part of the project and I heard they want to incorporate a drainage feature or ditch (or something like that). It's important to make sure, if you folks can come up with the zamboni tent, that they leave a good level place to put it. Do you think there's a good chance that the hockey women can raise those funds for next rink season? Should the City be serious in making sure the site is prepared for it?