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E-mail to cityrinks.ca, 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.
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.
Cityrinks.ca 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."
Cityrinks.ca 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.
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.
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.
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:
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?
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?
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.
Click on image to enlarge it.
Ice maintenance: 10am, s&f, 5:30 s&f both sides but only 2/3 of hockey side because of slush, 8pm s&f.
Ice maintenance: 12.15 s/f both sides. 4.30 scrape only, 8.30 s/f.
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.
Click on picture to enlarge it.
Click on picture to enlarge it.
See more pictures from Wallace Rink 2009 "Right 2 Play" benefit concert
Ice maintenance: 10.30 am and 5.30pm.
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.
Ice maintenance: 11am, 6.30pm.
Ice maintenance: 10am and 7pm, scrape and flood
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.
Ice maintenance: 9.30am s/f - crunchy ice in mid center, could have used more maintenance. 6.30pm long scrape and flood.