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Work on the rink began in the second week of September and by Sept.19, the pleasure-skating concrete had already been removed and replaced with the new kidney-shape. The contractor at first estimated a January opening but now says the work may go fast enough to open in December.
The work is proceeding nicely at Wallace. When will the work begin on the rink change room, and what are the renovation plans for that area?
When are you expecting work on the change room renovations to start, and what is your guess as to when they will be completed? Have there been any changes to what is being included in the renovations since we last met on the subject a few months ago?
The change room renovations are expected to commence by mid October and be completed by the end of November. We may be exposing (removing) a section of the bulkhead next week.
Scope of work for this area has not changed; complete renovation of the change room area.
Since the gate was accidentally left open after the workers had gone, it was easy to see the progress. The header trench had been cleared of old pipes and the new ones were partly installed. The insulation for the ground (concrete is poured on top once it's been laid) had arrived. Someone had spray-painted on the stacked pink bundles: "your on camera" and "No trespassing."
So the photographer went into the centre and told the staff about the gates and they said they would take care of closing them.
Not much progress in the header trench, and not in securing the site either. But the big loops of PVC pipe have arrived, and the old (but good) compressors are sitting at the side of the rink, ready for the scrapyard.
The construction site was much better secured since then. Project manager Mike Johnson moved on to a different City posting, and was replaced by another project manager, but the work continued just the same. Rain slowed the project down repeatedly, and lots of work was done on the weekend, or whenever there was a space in the weather.
The concrete on the hockey side is curing (it will need 10 days). The plan is to pour the concrete on the pleasure-skating on Nov.22. Today the PVC tubing went in. Some people say they've hear the rink will open by Christmas. The rink supervisor says that it might not open until the middle of January. Marcel will call the project manager for an update.
Whenever it Wallace Rink does re-open, there are some plans. The women's shinny group wants to celebrate with a campfire, and Michael Monastyrskyj is talking with some other members of DigIn, about making hot chocolate at a campfire between the rink and the snow hill, when it snows.
The cement for the pleasure-skating pad was poured today. It involved a gigantic crane which had a line of cement mixer trucks ready to put cement into a funnel on the crane. The crane then carried that cement high up into its arm and back down again through a single pipe, which was hand-directed to fill concrete over the pipes and re-bar already laid. A crew of men with scraper tools smoothed out the cement.
Park staff Marcel Vieira says he's been told the concrete takes 20 days of curing, and the boards will go in after that. The hockey side has been in for weeks already, and the pleasure-skating side doesn't need boards. Hopefully that means the rink start-up will be very soon after the other rinks.
I spoke to Susan and their target is to open the rink around end of December, hopefully just on time for the busy week between Christmas and New Year's. Susan stressed, however, that there are no guaranties; in particular they will need the weather to cooperate to meet that timetable.
At Alexandra Rink today (the other rebuilt one at Bathurst and Dundas) I talked to the Orillia contractors who will be putting up the boards -- they have three more days of work there, then they're set to go over to Wallace. That leaves the question of machine readiness, presumably up to CIMCO. Marcel, has the project manager said anything to you about that?
I think the information you got is not quite right (see contractor's note above, which I just managed to get). It sounds as though ice-making can't begin until the 25th at the earliest. But because of the holidays, probably not until the 26th or 27th. That would allow the rink to open maybe the day after New Year's. (Plus the doors won't even be installed until then.) However I think there will be a few more days of holidays after that, to enjoy the new rink.
The steel stairs in the refrigeration room will not be installed until the end of December. The doors, frames and hardware will not be installed until the end of December, we are still awaiting shop drawing approval. The hardware is a long delivery item. Cimco will begin their drawdown of the refrigeration system on December 20th, 2006, 28 days from the concrete pour of November 23rd, 2006. Depending on the temperature, the system can be brought down in 5 days at 3 degrees F a day, or 7 days at 2 degrees F a day. Then ice can be made.
I made my rounds of the rinks again today, to see which ones have ice, and how the construction is coming along. I found that both rink construction projects are now gapped and vulnerable to theft/vandalism and presumably, a danger to anyone who goes and snoops/plays/steals there.
My Sympatico service is a bit erratic at times and I'm wondering if you didn't get my "danger" warning about Harry Gairey last Wednesday, to pass along to the right supervisor. Certainly nothing has changed since then. The same kind of flimsy plastic mesh barrier is also wide open at Wallace, which I think is under your supervision?
I'm surprised: I thought you told me in the summer that you could be personally fined a lot of money if anyone fell into the composting toilet hole, which was a lot smaller and less jagged than the header trench openings -- plus there's a lot of other stuff at these sites to trip and fall over. Did I misunderstand, that the City supervisor represents the property owner and therefore the buck stops with him/her?
I will forward this to the appropriate individuals. I did receive your earlier email regarding Alexandra (Harry Gairey). I had asked that the fencing be addressed. I will check Wallace out and have the require adjustments made. Tino, Brian, and Michael could you make sure the contractors protect the sites?
Rink construction workers said they'll finish construction next week (Dec.19), then the rink can begin cooling down. Some hockey boards are up.
Here is my update about Wallace Rink. Brian Green says it will not be opening until the very end of the school holidays (Jan.6) -- a pity. A Wallace Rink neighbour says he was talking to a CIMCO worker on Thursday Dec.21, and that guy told him that he had just begun the process referred to in the last message from Mike Card: "Depending on the temperature, the system can be brought down in 5 days at 3 degrees F a day, or 7 days at 2 degrees F a day. Then ice can be made."
That would mean that ice can be made as of Dec.28, which would mean the ice could be opened on New Year's Day. WHAT'S THE HOLD-UP? STAFF HOLIDAYS?
Remaining issues, short-term:
1. The change room windows are in and the floor appears to be almost laid. The old "prison-style" doors are still on -- when will they be replaced by doors with glass, like those at Dufferin?
2. The wooden stairs that allowed easier access to the parking area and the toboggan hill are gone (photo below). When will they be replaced?
3. The hillside benches/retaining supports are gone, leaving exposed dirt -- what are the plans for that?
And the longer-term issue: there's still no zamboni shelter, and in fact the zamboni has to back into a long narrow space to get to the new water tank location, which I'm told is in the compressor room -- ???
Suggestion: Could you arrange an on-site meeting to discuss these and other final details? It would need Mike Card and rink maintenance and on-site staff (Brian Green, Dexter, Tino)and one or two rink friends, if any of these folks are available, this week, plus a City staff inspector who supervises the building code rules (re putting the wooden stairs back in to allow more convenient and less dangerous rink user access).
1. Rink is ready for flooding: Rink looks excellent, must have been swept, I walked all over it and there's no nail left anywhere -- the bits of leaves etc. that are left just need a person with a broom to clean them off for an hour. Staff are available since the rink is staffed, although not open.
2. health and safety objection re edge: Appears to be the same distance drop as at City Hall and Harbourfront, edge doubles as a bench, with special white cover, same as Harbourfront. (Note: edge is not a two-foot drop -- it's 14 inches)
Re plant to install cement stair -- sounds dubious -- if it's built over the pipes at the end, the stair will freeze and be hazardous -- better to place a temporary railing and keep the end door locked, make a better design fix at end of season? Or put in a wooden ramp like at Ramsden or City Hall -- we have several available at Dufferin, left over from skateboarding -- That way the City can make the final fix conform to the actual user activity pattern.
3. Missing stairs: The stairs that were built last year connected the two sections of the park and also gave easy access to the parking lot:
The City carpenters replaced the railing in the photo with a solid railing, and that stairway immediately became the main one that people used. Other rink access options are a dangerous concrete stairway inconveniently located next to the pool building, or climbing/slipping down the hillside:
Please ask the City carpenters to build a wooden stairway to replace the one that was removed. they should do that right away, for the convenience of rink users.
Other outstanding issues:
1. Rink change area: HUGE improvement over before, still need the door to be finished and the lintel at the window (a few hours of work)
2. Washrooms are not redone, but contractor should please leave existing extra flooring on-site, to be used for washroom and outside
3. Junk needs to be taken off site
4. Construction fence should be dismantled
I was at a site meeting at Dufferin Grove this morning and a few questions arose with respect to Wallace Emerson AIR and it's start time and work still to be done.
Chris Gallop of Councillor Giambrone's office asked that you contact him with an update as to the status this week.
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 alse 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.