NO accountability to explain or discuss a perceived "problem".
N0 more bench for skaters.
This staff member of the health and safety committee (like all city staff) is not elected, and therefore has no accountability to the park users and constituents of the neighbourhood where the changes were made. Despite the actual scope of their decision-making power in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA,) CELOS researchers found no requirement that committee staff members give notice of - or account to - citizens for the decisions they make.
Would we be willing to accept this absence of accountability or responsibility for decisions made by our elected officials?
Under what, if any conditions are we willing to agree to give power over our public amenities to decision-makers who have no on-going obligation to discuss proposed decisions and take responsibility for the decisions they make?
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 also 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. From Chris Gallop, assistant to Councillor Adam Giambrone, to Jutta Mason, Jan.5 2007
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.
It would be good to meet on-site with you and the Wallace Rink project manager, and staff who wish to attend, to discuss:
-- remaining current work, e.g. compressor-room doors, embankment where the retaining wall was removed, fixed benches attached to change-room interior walls, etc.
-- work for next year: washrooms, zamboni garage set in hillside
-- stairs in hillside
-- which unexpected costs caused the hillside stairs to be taken out of the project
-- step-down which now makes the long seating area covering dangerously slippery (was it ever intended to be a stairway?) -- what i the capital projects section position on this last-minute change?
Other updates necessary for the Jan.28 Open House