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Diary February 2008-2009

Sunday Feb 1 2009

Ice maintenance: 11.40 s/f both sides. Then nothing more.

E-mail to, from J.A., 5 pm: Today was terrible. We had a great game going and the ice was fine. Then the fly crew showed up and destroyed it by flooding (melting) it. The ice is now gone in places down to the cement. Not sure why they did that when the ice was fine to begin with. They essentially shut the rink down for the day.

It's true that in February it's very tricky to flood the ice in bright sunshine and above zero temperature. The shinny side didn't actually close down for another hour after the flying crew flooded it; the pleasure-skating side stayed open but was "rough." Even so, the rink was packed. For a while, shinny players got a part of the pond side, so everyone was jammed together.

The shinny hockey side was firm pretty soon after 6 pm but there was never another ice resurfacing so it couldn't be used -- by late evening the ice was all hard again, but because of the lack of resurfacing it was a mess: all the slush was frozen up into hard bumps.

Monday February 2 2009

Ice maintenance: 9 am s/f and edging. The hockey side stayed closed until 6.30, then at 7 pm there was another s/f.

The flying crew arrived a bit before a big school visit at 9.30. The school visit was a mixup. The school had planned an all-school "carnival" day involving all the little kids coming to the rink. Rink staff only found out a few days before, and they warned the teachers that it was too many kids for the skate rentals etc. But by then it was too late for the school to change their plans. So everyone made the best of it, and most of the kids wanted to play on the giant snow hills anyway. The flying squad did the "pond" side first, so that gave the kids enough room to skate.

In the evening, after the hockey side opened again, behind the nets there were still deep gouges from the day before. Rec staff filled them in with slush but had to stop when the permit arrived at 9pm.

Tuesday February 3 2009

Ice maintenance: before 9 a.m. scrape only. 1.40 pm plough only, on pleasure side. 15.30: s/f both sides, 7.30 s/f. forwarded J.A.'s email about Sunday ice maintenance to Parks supervisor Peter Leiss. His reply:

"Thanks for this email. I have requested meeting with recreation staff for days when it is sunny and warm. This is to set a protocol to deal with the ice and whether the rinks should be used when it is soft.

Staf have been working to restore the ice at Wallace." reply, cc'd to City Councillor Adam Giambrone's assistant Chris Gallop:

"Thanks Peter. This man's complaint makes it clear that it is your flying squad crew you really need to talk to, to suggest to them not to flood in mid-day when it's sunny. Dufferin got smart maintenance, see Dufferin Rink

The other problem is that Wallace got no maintenance on Sunday evening after sunset, so no repair. WHY did they never come back in the evening? At 10.30pm Sunday the ice was hard but full of frozen slush and gouges.

Yesterday there were only 2 ice maintenance visits at Wallace. That busy, busy rink needs its own zamboni and driver, now."

Reply from Peter Leiss, cc'd to J.A.:

I will be speaking to staff tomorrow for an explanation as to what occured on Sunday. The foreperson for the afternoon shift is on days off until tomorrow. I had directed staff on Sunday to hold off until the evening and then to go in and fix the ice.

Yesterday staff spent time rebuilding ice at Wallace and a number of other locations. As a result there were only 2 maintenances done at Wallace.

I understand the frustration related to Wallace. Parks is looking at options to provide the service requested. These options need to be fleshed out and approved before we can move forward.

Comment fromJ.A.:

Thank you for all your efforts.

In order to find a model to provide service at Wallace-Emerson, look no further than last year when the service exceeded expectations.

4 p.m., zamboni at last

smooth like glass

Wednesday February 4 2009

Ice maintenance: before 10 a.m., also a plough had moved some of the snowbanks around; 1.30 s/f (at this time the zamboni went on without giving any notice to the on-site staff, although there were hockey players and also kids on the ice); 6.30 s/f.

Thursday February 5 2009

Ice maintenance: all s&f 10am, 1pm, 6pm, 8pm.

Friday February 6 2009

Ice maintenance: pre 10, 1, 5:45, 9pm.

That's the second day with four resurfacings, one of which is the late one we asked for. That's better than the news from City Councillor Adam Giambrone's office:

PFR is committed to providing service at Wallace three times daily (the standard at all other rinks maintained by the flying squads is twice per day). Any necessary diversion to this schedule, due to weather or other factors, is now being reported daily to the General Manager's Office for oversight. Weekly logs for Wallace are also being reported to the GM's office to monitor performance. Councillor's office is also checking in regularly with GM's office to monitor performance.

The Fly Crews do follow a set rotation, but the exact timing is affected by factors such as staffing, equipment breakdowns, weather, and traffic conditions.

The maintenance schedule at Wallace Emerson, Monday to Friday, is to provide three scrape/floods a day. The first around 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. delivered by the fly crew coming from Rosedale. The second is scheduled for around 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. and is delivered by the staff person assigned to Dufferin Grove, using ice cleaning equipment dropped off at the site by the fly crew on their way back to their home base for the end of their shift. The final flood is scheduled for 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. and is delivered by the fly crew.

When the temperatures are mild, the staff have been instructed to hand flood the rink, as part of the maintenance schedule, in order to build up the ice.

PFR's current position on an onsite zamboni is that a tent is less than ideal in any circumstance. There are problems with lack of heat, lack of water, and there are, of course, security concerns. PFR believes a tent would be a stop-gap measure and is not a long-term solution. PFR is currently trying to phase out tents at other locations, like High Park, and they are saying they do not want to add another at Wallace.

Having said that, PFR has recognized that the rink operation at Wallace Emerson is a significant one, and apart from the issue with the facilities, it is a location where they would like to see both staffing and equipment resources dedicated. The GM has instructed PFR staff to begin work on the development of permanent secure space for equipment and staff, which will be considered as part of the division's Capital Plan process.

There are a lot of puzzling things in that letter. There's no tent nor zamboni nor dedicated maintenance staff, like the other 12 double pads have. But the policing is intense: daily reports to the general manager, who otherwise administers a $300++ million budget! Nobody has ever heard of such a thing. The zamboni drivers aren't happy about it.

At the same time there's no admission that this rink had a zamboni last year. It was an old wreck of a thing, but the ice was better than this year (at least until now). Security concerns, lack of water (there's plenty of water -- what could than mean?)-- they were not factors last year.

And mentioning that other flying squad rinks only get two floods a day -- as though it was a matter for gratitude that this one gets three -- only opens up that wound of the "economy class" maintenance that these central-Toronto rinks get compared to the Etobicoke and North York ones.

But then -- in a sudden reversal of even what's promised (with such precision) in the memo -- for the last two days there are FOUR maintenance sessions, one of them the late maintenance skaters have been asking for. Amazing! Wonderful! But if they were going to do that, why didn't they say so?

Saturday February 7 2009

Ice maintenance: s/f 10am, 1pm scrape only, nothing more.

Not a happy day for Wallace Rink. The earlier part of the day was stil skateable, and the remaining skating lesson went on (the other one has been cancelled for the rest of the season, for lack of a teacher).

After 3 pm there was too much water to play on the hockey side at all. Compressor down at 7pm (maybe only on hockey side?

pond side 2 pm

hockey side 2pm

roasting a marshmallow

hot chocolate at the campfire, 2 pm

Sunday February 8 2009

Ice maintenance: s/f before 9, scrape only at 12.30, s/f 2.30 pm, s/f 7.25 pm.

From shinny player J.A.: [At about 12.30] the zamboni driver wanted to flood the rink again, but instead listened to the skaters and after driving the zamboni onto the rink decided against it and gave it a good scrape instead.

The ice as a result was great and the game continued. Good to see we're making progress....nearly everyone there was so happy that he didn't flood it that many thanked him.

The compressor seems to be fine and the ice held well all day, until the final maintenance -- then the skaters said there as a long jagged crack down the middle. That sounds like what happened three weeks ago at Kew Rink, which finally had to be closed for three hours of deep flood. See what tomorrow brings.

flooding at 2.45 at plus 2 celsius and sunshine-- trouble?

No problem -- it froze up

a river of meltwater around the rink -- really a pond now!

Click on image to enlarge it.

Wallace bulletin board - refurbished

Monday February 9 2009

Ice maintenance: 10am, s&f, 5:30 s&f both sides but only 2/3 of hockey side because of slush, 8pm s&f.

No more problem with the crack down the middle.

Tuesday February 10 2009

Feb.10: a beautiful night for shinny hockey -- nine degrees

Ice maintenance: 12.15 s/f both sides. 4.30 scrape only, 8.30 s/f.

The ice was hard and beautiful at 10.30 pm even though it was nine degrees celsius. More skaters were putting on their skates, ready to join a shinny game.

Wednesday February 11 2009

Ice maintenance: possible early morn. maint. 1pm decision that ice was okay no maint. 7 pm scrape and heavy removal of water.

Thursday February 12 2009

new rink two years ago, but this door was always bad

good drainage on the pleasure-skating side

Ice-maintenance: 11:45 scrape, in good shape after, little water, 7pm scrape, ice in good shape.

In the morning before ice maintenance, the pleasure-skating pad froze up fine but the hockey pad had lots of water because there is very limited drainage when a rink is built into a hill. Lots of people skating in the evening.

Friday February 13 2009

Ice-maintenance: 9.30am,4.30,7.30,9pm all s&f.


Saturday February 14 2009

Ice-maintenance: s/f at 9.30am/12 noon/4.45pm /7pm

Astonishing again.

Sunday February 15 2009

Ice maintenance: 10 am, 2pm, 5.30 pm, 7.30 pm.

Monday February 16 2009

Ice maintenance: 10 am, 2pm, 5.30 pm, 7.30 pm.

This rink was very very busy today (Family Day).

Tuesday February 17 2009

Ice maintenance: s/f 9 am, 2 pm, 8 pm

There's a new directive -- staff must stop handling money, so that means no skate rentals and no food. No word yet on the timing of this new rule.

Wednesday February 18 2009

Ice maintenance: morning, 6 pm plow pleasure-skating pad only, 7 pm zamboni of both sides.

Thursday February 19 2009

Ice maintenance: 9am, then twice in the day no maint. 6:30 maint made it okay for program. All scrape only.

Friday February 20 2009

Ice maintenance: plough did pleasure-skating side in the a.m., but the hockey rink was much too full of snow to skate on it, s/f 1 pm, then at 8.30pm scrape only because program on at the time.

Saturday February 21 2009

Ice maintenance: s/f early in the morning, again at 2.30 pm and 8 pm.

Click on picture to enlarge it.

Click on picture to enlarge it.

See more pictures from Wallace Rink 2009 "Right 2 Play" benefit concert


Sunday February 22 2009

Ice maintenance: s/f early morning, again at 4.45 and sometime in the evening.

Monday February 23 2009

Ice maintenance: 10.30 am and 5.30pm.

Tuesday February 24 2009

Ice maintenance: 9am, 6 pm s&f both (asked for delay in maintenance of 4pm time because of after school group). Ice in pretty good shape.

Wednesday February 25 2009

Ice maintenance: 11am, 6.30pm.

Thursday February 26 2009

Ice maintenance: 10am and 7pm, scrape and flood

Friday February 27 2009

Ice maintenance: 10am, hockey side rink has big patches of shell ice. 3.30pm rink closed until maint. crew arrive, 5pm 3x scrape, and flood. Ice in better shape. shell ice still there but not dangerous as before.

Saturday February 28 2009

Ice maintenance: 9.30am s/f - crunchy ice in mid center, could have used more maintenance. 6.30pm long scrape and flood.

Sunday March 1, 2009 -- closing day for Wallace Rink

Ice maintenance: 9.30s/f 12s/f. 4pm s/f.

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Content last modified on March 03, 2009, at 08:07 PM EST