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News 2005

News 2005

posted August 12, 2005 from the August Newsletter


If you ever wonder why the rink house washrooms are often messy and not so nice to be in, here’s the reason – there’s no caretaker to clean them. In fact, there’s no provision for cleaning the rink house at all. During summer, the wading pool staff are supposed to fit it in, and because of all the things going on at the park, it’s often a real strain for them to find the time.

Toronto Parks and Recreation has good caretakers on staff, but our park is not eligible for any caretaker hours because the rink house was originally meant to be only a change house for skaters, i.e. not very busy. This is one of the problems we’d like the general manager, Brenda Librecz, to consider when we meet with her: when new things happen in a park, how can staffing arrangements be adapted? In our case, the washrooms are used by thousands of people year-round. On paper, though, we remain simply a rink house, not on the list for caretaker cleaning.

posted August 7, 2005

Maintenance snapshot; progress, but mysterious fan behaviour

Hello Don,

Progress report on Dufferin Grove Park:

  • the drinking fountain attached to the north wall of the park field house works again, and so does the dog fountain (I assume -- I don't own a dog anymore)
  • the inside rink house doors have been repaired so they can be locked again, and I believe that your staff are returning on Monday to remove the vertical bar mechanism on both the outside and the inside rink house doors, so we'll hopefully have less trouble with the locks than we've had in the past 12 years
  • an electrician has come to the compressor room to check the fan and he told the park staff there's nothing wrong with it.

Thanks so much for all these follow-ups.

As for the fan, as of Friday night (Aug.5) it's still running all the time (there is clearly nothing wrong with its ability to run.). I'm puzzled because I can't remember the fan running 24 hours a day when the compressors are off, during the 12 years I've been hanging around the park.

I don't know how much power a fan takes. I have heard, though, that the City has taken out (or is considering taking out?) a loan of $10.3 million to hire a giant U.S. company called Cinergy to help Parks and Rec do energy conservation and spend less on power. Apparently paying back this loan will cost over a million dollars a year of your (our) operating funds. Oh dear.

To my mind, it doesn't take a Fortune 500 company to tell us how to conserve energy. One commonsense principle seems to be that "every little bit helps." Would turning off this fan maybe help too?


posted June 7, 2005


Trash police, May 2005

photo by Wallie Seto, May 2005

A City by-law enforcement officer has been going through park trash bags to find out if household garbage is being dumped at the park. In such cases, she often finds evidence of addresses, and she then goes to that house and gives them a ticket for $375. The park garbage bins also have new signs on them, warning of fines between $5000 and $10,000 for dumping household trash in parks. At the bottom of the signs it says: there may be a cash reward for reporting illegal dumping. (Snitching on our neighbours for money? That sounds like a direction we might not want to take.) The by-law enforcement officer tells us that the problem is not bad at our park - only two or three trash baskets tend to have household garbage, and some of those folks have now been given a ticket.

posted January 18, 2005

Park recycling is finally working well

After a site meeting between Public Works and the Environment, Parks, and the Friends of Dufferin Grove Park, the exact pickup location was marked out and on Dec.10 2004, the first recycling bins were picked up at the park. Since then, the pickup happens every second Friday: we collect two "toters" of paper and cardboard, one "toter" of pop cans and juice boxes, five household-size food scrap bins, and about four more small bins of assorted rcycling. We're surprised by how much we can divert from the trash stream. And the rink house is a good place for kids to learn. We see them practising -- paper towels (from wiping their skate blades) in the green bin, juice boxes in the blue bin, the cardboard box from their new skates in the grey bin, the mini-pizza that fell on the floor in the green bin, etc.

posted February 2, 2005

(Thanks to Wallie Seto for the pictures.)

posted January 15, 2005

Stuck in the snow at Dufferin Rink

On the Thursday before Christmas there was a snowstorm that started with 20 cm. of snow and then turned into ice rain. Then it turned very cold. When the city ploughs cleared the little dead-end piece of Dufferin Park Avenue right by the rink, they left a four foot-wide snow bank on the south side of the street next to the rink house, all the way down to the corner light. Five days after that storm, we called City Councillor Adam Giambrone's office. We asked an assistant: Could our Councillor get in touch with Public Works and let them know that the rink is a public facility that gets between 2500 and 3000 visits in during a holiday week? Could he let them know that the snow bank had cut off emergency and maintenance vehicle access to the building all week? Could he arrange for a city plough, so that cars bringing hockey kids and gear would stop getting stuck there?

The councillor's assistant called us back the next day and said that the Public Works supervisor had personally inspected our street and had decided that the snow piles, more compressed by then (from all the stuck cars rocking back and forth) but still reaching four feet into the street, were "up to code." The councillor's assistant said there was nothing more he could do. After we made a fuss, Councillor Giambrone personally left a phone message at the rink, saying that it was unrealistic to expect more help during the holiday week, when most city departments had only a skeleton staff.

Who knew, that city services take the same holidays the school kids take! It's a bit unnerving, though. Surely school holidays are not a time to do second-rate snow clearing so that a family facility like our rink becomes a tough place to get to. And also: how could it be that blocking the way to a well-used winter City facility with a wide snow bank for a week is "up to code" for the snowplough crews…..? (Who devised that code?)

Kevin Beaulieu, who also works in Councillor Giambrone's office, has said he'll try to work something out with Public Works before the next snowstorm. In case that doesn't bring an improvement, the person in charge of City snow removal is Andy Koropeski, Director of South District Transportation Services. His e-mail is . Friends of the rink might want to post that address on their fridge.

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