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Paul Ronan
Director of Parks
City of Toronto

Paper version of e-mail sent December 10, 2008

Hello Paul,

Attached is the first Zanetti Report* - a list of current outdoor rink issues relating to Parks in Weeks One and Two of the rink season. The list is prepared by CELOS, and begins our fourth season of systematic monitoring and follow-up of the outdoor rink operations. Many of the issues are carried over from other years.

I'm sending the report to you as the person who can immediately give direction to improve this situation. On the basis of this first Zanetti Report, I've summarized the most urgent outdoor rink issues. I have also added (highlighted) information we need from you -- I will call your office tomorrow (unless I hear earlier) to find out whether you prefer that we should go through freedom of information instead of asking you directly.

1. Staffing: there seems to be a difference in staffing between districts. How many ice resurfacer operators are assigned to the city's outdoor rinks in total (56? More?). What is their staffing allocation in each district? There are evident ice maintenance staff shortages in South District, and as a result there are very obvious and consistent differences in ice maintenance between districts.

2. Equipment: there seems to be a large inconsistency in ice resurfacer equipment allocation between different districts. How many ice resurfacers in total are allocated to the City's outdoor ice rinks, of each type? In which districts (or at what rinks) are they placed?

3. Communication: this has two main problems:
a) poor connections between staff. Please let us know: is there an explicit policy in any district of not passing information between rink maintenance staff (CUPE Local 416) and rink program staff (CUPE Local 79)?
b) poor information for skaters. Parks maintenance staff in West and North District are not trained to allow the maximum possible free public skating on these public rinks, using all available non-permit time. Many posted rink information signs are outdated or non-existent.

4. Training: Although Dufferin Rink is said to be a "training" site, we saw very little evidence of on-site training being done there. One rink user reports being told by a Parks supervisor that there are 19 new rink ice maintenance staff currently being trained. 5blue%If so, of what does this training consist and where is it taking place?

Our recommendations now:
1. Please direct Parks rink staff to collaborate with Recreation rink staff in information-sharing and problem-solving, at every level -- fix information bottlenecks, and follow up to make sure this collaboration doesn't stall.

2. Please examine the staffing and equipment of the outdoor rinks and reallocate lead hands and equipment so that there is no discrepancy between the districts.

3. Please remedy the training omissions in Parks lead hands, emphasizing the public nature of the rinks and their consequent availability for free pleasure skating or shinny hockey when no permit is on the ice 4. Please remove the explicit non-communication policy between Parks staff and We are providing you with feedback and follow-up, as well as getting the word about rinks out there -- for free. We have long sought friendly, active co-operation.

If you would prefer to discuss these issues on the phone: I can be reached at 416 533-0153, if you let me know a time in advance. I am also willing to come and meet with you tomorrow or Friday if you wish.

Jutta Mason

  • Why "Zanetti report": Named after past director Mario Zanetti, whose slogan was "let's make it work" -- our slogan too.

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Content last modified on January 12, 2009, at 04:01 PM EST