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Community Notebooks: Trying to make the rinks better
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Correspondence with the City re rink status posting accuracy

16-Jan-2013 [8360]

>>> Jutta Mason <> 01/15/13 09:27 >>>

Hello, James,
thank you for your interest in responding. As much as Mark may wish to
present the 311/website information as helpful and accurate, the evidence
is very mixed. As we have documented in other years, once again this year
there has been too much wrong information. A few examples:

- On *Thursday Dec.27 2012 at 5 pm*, Nathan Phillips Rink was still listed
as "closed -- snow removal in progress" when in fact it had been cleared of
snow in the morning and had skaters all day. Other rinks listed as "closed"
that day when they were actually open were Dufferin, Wallace, Harry Gairey
-- those are only the ones we know of, there must have been more

- On *Friday Dec.28 at 10 am,* 311 still listed many of those rinks as
closed. The website was finally changed at 10.15, almost 24 hours after the
last change -- during the winter's main school holidays!

- On *January 1*,* all day long,* most city rinks were listed
discouragingly as "open - no maintenance" although in fact many had
excellent ice resurfacing maintenance that day

- On* Friday, January 11 at 12 noon*, Toronto rinks appeared to have been
divided into three different weather systems. All Etobicoke and east
central rinks were listed as "operational," all north region rinks were
listed as "closed," and all west central rinks were listed as "water
covered, nets removed." Dufferin Rink was never water covered that day, and
the nets never had to be removed. There must have been others like
Dufferin, as long as the staff were doing ice maintenance. (BTW, in low-sun
early January, the nets don't sink much anyway, even when it's warm out --
in the case of compressor-cooled rinks.)

At rinks where the staff were NOT doing ice maintenance there was no way *even
for rink program staff* to find out why not. As you know, *Parks has
reverted to keeping ice maintenance staff phone numbers a secret from
on-site program staff* -- one of a number of remarkable dysfunctions in the
city's outdoor rink practices. The dysfunction highlighted in this email is
even sillier -- hiding individual rink phone numbers from the skating
public, who could use those numbers to find out the real ice conditions at
the rink of their choice. Onsite staff could update the individual rink
phone messages as conditions change (they have lots of time). They wouldn't
even have to relate to the public personally, if that makes them

For the record.


On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 6:25 PM, Jutta Mason <> wrote:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: James Dann <>
> Date: Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 11:24 AM
> Subject: Re: wrong rink information on city website again
> To: Jutta Mason <>, 311 <>
> Cc: Jim Hart <>
>  Hi Jutta:
> Please see the following from Mark Culligan the area supervisor.  Thanks
> again for your interest in our Artificial Ice Rink Program.
>  Good day Jutta.
> On Friday January 11, 2012, we experienced a day of warmer then seasonal
> temperatures with a downfall of rain through out the day. The forecast was
> for continual rainy periods that day. During these conditions the rinks do
> end up with a water cover in which rink staff work continuously in
> eliminating the excess water in order to provide the public a good ice
> surface. Staff remove the nets from the hockey pads while these conditions
> occur to prevent indentations to the ice surface caused by the formation of
> the excess water around the net areas. The conditions change as the rain
> comes to a demise and the nets are put back in place by the staff, or at
> times by the members of the public anxious to play, sometimes prematurely.
> On the date referred to, the nets were removed to prevent damage and would
> only be put back on by staff for the time periods which allowed so where no
> possible damage to the surface would be a threat. On this day the condition
> of rain was sporadic and the nets were placed and then removed again when
> warranted. It was felt that rather then having hockey players come to the
> rinks to find the nets off during these times of rain, rinks would be
> listed as "no nets", allowing players to come with a understanding that the
> nets would be missing at times of the rain water accumulations.
> Kind regards.
> Mark Culligan
> >>> Jutta Mason <> 1/11/2013 2:25 PM >>>
> Hello,
> It looks like the South west rink supervisor posted the outdoor rink web
> update without direct knowledge
> The rinks which
> are marked "water covered surface - no hockey nets" are NOT water covered
> and they do have hockey nets, which has been the situation all day so far.
> These rinks have cooling systems which can handle the amount of rain so
> far, and the ice resurfacing machines have the capacity to remove water
> (always important in case rain makes the ice get too thick).
> I assume there will be no acknowledgment of this error, as there was none
> to my other e-mails, but for the record.....
> Jutta