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Diary January 2008-2009

Thursday January 1 2009

"pond" side

how not to do ice maintenance -- some work and some chat

A fine day, cold but clear, with a LOT of skaters, everyone in a good mood and "Happy New Year"-ing each other.

Ice maintenance: zamboni crew were only scheduled for Etobicoke on New Year's Day. So at Wallace Rink there was manual ice maintenance only (snowshovels and green ice scrapers) done by rec staff and skaters: 11am, 6:30pm.

Friday January 2 2009

Ice maintenance: 11am manual scrape by rink users, 1:50pm flying squad, 5:30pm manual scrape by rink users, 6:30pm flying squad.

Saturday January 3 2009

This was supposed to be the first day of skating lessons, beginning at 10 a.m. At 9.30 a skating teacher arrived. She said there were supposed to be two others, but they never showed. The resurfacing crew hadn't come to the rink yet and so the ice was still snow-covered. The rec staff shoveled out a little section of the ice so that the lessons could begin. A plow-truck showed up during the first lesson, to plow out the rink, but before the rink was done, the driver left the snow removal to an old zamboni, which was very slow. Later on, it turned out that the lessons were cancelled.

Not a good beginning, but hopefully the problems will get fixed.

Aside from that, it was a beautiful day at the rink, with higher attendance and more $2 skate rental than any day so far in this rink season (or maybe ever).

Ice maintenance: 10.30 a.m., 7.30 pm There was lots of snow piled against the boards in the morning, left there by after-hours skaters who must have used benches to move the snow out of the way.

January 4 2009

Ice maintenance: 11 am, 8 pm.

January 5 2009

Ice maintenance: 10 am and 5.45 pm. A slower pace this afternoon, now that the holidays are over, and in the evening there was a permit.

January 6 2009

There were lots of people on this rink in late afternoon-evening. Wallace Community Centre has a large and lively after-school program, and they come to skate and play shinny hockey more often now that such good skate rentals are available. Then families, and many shinny-playing youth, later.

A couple of trouble-maker youth have been banned from the rink, and one tried to return tonight. These kids are used to the opportunities that come from inconsistency, and they are taken aback when they find out that "banned" really means they can't come to skate unless they have an interview with the supervisor. To get back in, they have to agree to a schedule of community hours where do some actual work, alongside the staff, and show their willingness to stop making trouble.

Some do it, and act better when they have the freedom of the rinks again. Some have to sit out a year until they get more mature -- and they return a year later saying "I'm better now, Miss" -- and they are.

Some just keep getting into worse trouble elsewhere. But not so many.

Ice maintenance: morning before 10 a.m., and 6.40 pm.

Wednesday January 7, 2009

At 11am both rink pads were covered in snow. City workers were shovelling snow off the cobblestone path that leads from the park to the community centre.

The whole day, Wallace Rink got no ice maintenance at all.

Thursday January 8 2009

Rink was cleared in the morning, before 10 a.m., and again at 5.30 pm.

Friday January 9 2009

Ice maintenance: 3 pm and 7.15 pm. The ice was pretty snowy by 9 pm. After closing time (9 pm) shinny players are allowed on the "pond" side, and most of them chose that side tonight because it was less snowy than the hockey pad.

The sign with the original rink rules is still up. It was printed up when the change room was still sometimes a scene from the wild west, and if you read the rules (click on the sign to enlarge it), it shows. The idea that there could someday be skate rental and snacks and kids playing checkers, and parents (any that even wanted to come) reading storybooks to their kids between skating times -- it would have seemed utterly unlikely. And yet here it is, in a rink house that has windows now, and civilized behavior, and so many really spunky kids. The same kind of kids as before, only in a much better setting -- and so everyone acts better, too.

not too dark to play shinny hockey

Click on image to enlarge it.

the original rink rules

Saturday January 10 2009

From the Wallace rink co-ordinator:

Today we had a campfire on Saturday 1-3pm (we've cancelled the ones on Sunday) and it went really well with lots of people chatting around the fire. We are working on coordinating it with Tino, Joanne, and staff at the pool due to a smoky smell in the pool - we are making some adjustments week by week and it looks like we can make it work.

Ice maintenance 9 a.m., 7.30 pm

Sunday January 11 2009

Ice maintenance: 11am plough and zamboni, 6pm zamboni

Monday January 12 2009

Ice maintenance: 10am, 12:30, 5:30. A red-letter day, three times in one day!

Tuesday January 13 2009

Ice maintenance: 9.30 am and 4 pm.

Wednesday January 14 2009

Ice maintenance: 10 a.m. and 5 pm, not floods only scrapes. The flying squad say they can't flood on very cold days.

Thursday January 15 2009

Ice maintenance: before 10 a.m., again at 6. Still no floods, only 10-minute scrapes. Lots of complaints about deep ruts in the ice from lack of flooding.

Friday January 16 2009

Ice maintenance: only recorded at 2 pm. Was there another one?

Saturday January 17 2009

Ice maintenance: at 9 a.m. only. So crowded that rink users and rec staff did a manual scrape at 5.30 (Flying squad truck broke). The rink had to close at 8.30.

Sunday January 18 2009

Ice maintenance: plow and zamboni at 10.30 a.m. 12.30 p.m. rink users and rec staff shoveled both sides, 2.30 rink users and rec staff shovelled pleasure rink again. (Very full of people.) Zamboni scraped at 6 pm. No floods.

Monday January 19 2009

Ice maintenance: 10.30 am ice was open after plow and zamboni scrape, flood on the hockey side. 1 pm scrape and flood, 6 pm, scrape and flood.

Tuesday January 20 2009

Ice maintenance: pre-9.30 scrape and flood, 1 pm scrape and flood, 6 pm, scrape and flood. Three floods, but at odd times -- two of them out of prime time. The zamboni staff used the edger, which was good, but in prime time, which was bad. Sigh.

Wednesday January 21 2009

Maintenance: 10 am. scrape and flood both sides, 1 pm scrape and flood both sides (didn't need it), 6 pm scrape only -- the flooding pipe was broken, due to be repaired tomorrow and a new zamboni ice-cutting blade also due to be put on. The current blade scraped the ice into odd patterns. Ice was rough as the evening wore on, because of so many skaters and no resurfacing.

Thursday January 22 2009

Ice maintenance: pre-9am s/f, 12:30pm s/f, 6pm scrape (machine couldn't flood). Rink very busy.

E-mail from to Rink supervisor Peter Leiss and City Councillor Adam Giambrone's assistant Chris Gallop:

Bunching together two scrapes/floods at Wallace during the non-busy times and then doing only one ice maintenance in the busy times does not work. There are alternatives to make it work better. (I have found out today that Dieppe is also getting less than the necessary maintenance -- so Wallace is not the very worst of the double pads, as I thought it was. But compared e.g. to High Park it's a scandal.)

Friday January 23 2009

Ice maintenance: 12pm s/f, no evidence of any ice resurfacing earlier, 7:15pm s/f Missed one but had one closer to the busy time -- maybe an improvement?

Saturday January 24, 2009

Ice maintenance: Wallace 9.30 am s/f; 5 pm. Despite the cold they had their campfire.

Sunday January 25 2009

Ice maintenance: pre-11 a.m. s/f, and 5.30 pm s/f.

Monday January 26 2009

Ice maintenance: pre-10 a.m. s/f, 12.30 pm s/f, 6pm, s/f.

Tuesday January 27 2009

Ice maintenance:10:15am s/flood, 6:45 s/f

Wednesday January 28 2009

Ice maintenance: 10am plow on site, did pleasure and hockey side. Stopped, then started again at 1pm, then left at 1;30. still snow on both pads. Continual snow fall made ice unskatable. 7.30 plow arrived, cleared pads, zamboni did a scrape by 8, rink re-opened.

Thursday January 29 2009

Ice maintenance: 9.30 am s/f, manual by rink users and rec staff 5pm, zamboni 6.30 s/f

Councillor Adam Giambrone held a meeting at city hall with Parks supervisor Peter Leiss, Recreation supervisor Tino DeCastro, and rink coordinator Mayssan Shuja, about ice maintenance and communication issues.

From a letter from Councillor Giambrone to Brenda Patterson, general manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, January 29 2009:

''* This rink will be a priority for the flying squad

  • Minimum 3 cleanings per day
  • Maintenance will be properly spaced out throughout the day
  • Whenever possible, there will be maintenance in the evening as that is when there is the heaviest usage at this rink''

I request that PFR provide me with a plan in writing as soon as possible for how you are going to resolve the acknowledged deficiencies in current rink maintenance and consistently meet the above notes service levels. Should PFR continue to have difficult throughout the remainder of the rink season regularly meeting these minimum maintenance standards in my ward, I would like to have weekly meetings with senior PFR management staff until the problems are resolved to my satisfaction.

Additionally, I request that PFR begin work immediately on the following steps, identified at today's meeting, as being longer term solutions to all these maintenance problems:

  • Fast-track the purchase and installation of a secure zamboni tent for Wallace Emerson Rink and, once installed, have the appropriate equipment and staff on site to handle maintenance at this rink. This needs ot be accomplished before the end of the current rink season;
  • Begin design work and cost estimates for a permanent zamboni garage at Wallace Emerson and report to Budget Committee, as part of next year's budget cycle, so appropriate funding can be secured;
  • Allocate or hire qualified staff to create4 a second flying squad team, so maintenance is improved at rinks that rely on this system
  • Review and identify what additional equipment, and onsite equipment storage facilities, is needed at the various AIRs to improve maintenance levels, and have these capital investments considered by the Budget Committee as part of next year's budget process.

Thank you for your attention to these issues. I look forward to your prompt response.

Friday January 30 2009

Ice maintenance: 11.15 am s/f, 8.15 s/f. There was going to be no second resurfacing, because the flying squad zamboni was out of service. But there were such bad grooves in the ice at Wallace that the zamboni was brought up from Dufferin and they did an evening s/f.

Letter to from City Councillor Adam Giambrone, Friday Jan 30 2009

Two thirds of the way into the rink season, it is discovered that there is in fact a zamboni allocated for Wallace. It has apparently never been placed there because of concerns about vandalism.

A flying squad staff person said some time ago that the flying squad zamboni is stored up the hill at Giovanni Caboto Rink at night, inside the fence. (see photo below). So what's missing at Wallace is only a fence. Could Parks arrange to rent a "modu-lock"-type fence today, and have it installed at Wallace? There is a perfect spot for it right by the entrance pathway. It's already partially plowed and would need a maximum of an hour of a city plow to prepare the site for the fence. (See photo below, from this morning)

In case there is an objection to not having the fence secured by posts into the ground, may I suggest that such fences are commonly erected around on-site roadwork construction equipment, without puncturing the pavement to anchor them.

Could you find out whether this can be done?

fenced outside zamboni storage area at Giovanne Caboto

perfect spot for storing fenced zamboni

Reply from Chris Gallop, Councillor Giambrone's assistant, Friday January 30 2009

While it would of course be ideal if this could be installed today, we are not able to commit to that at this point. The Councillor has asked Parks to take a close look at your idea for a fence and get back to us as soon as possible. Additionally, he has told them that he doesn't care how they solve this problem (whether it be a tent, or a fence, or an igloo for that matter) as long as they solve it quickly. Once there is more news we will let the community know.

Saturday January 31 2009

Ice maintenance: 1.30 pm s/f, hand-scrape by rec staff at 4.45 pm, then 8.30 pm s/f.

City Councillor Adam Giambrone visited the rink at 5 pm and got a briefing on the ice maintenance problems. He said he would follow up this coming week.

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Content last modified on February 01, 2009, at 11:12 PM EST