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May 26, 2019: Update: Freedom of Information (FOI) response about the Dufferin Rink project

Parks and Rec Capital Projects, through Lura, wrote to CELOS on April 10, 2019, that “the ice surface and equipment require imminent replacement” to avoid “risk of equipment failure.”

That same day, CELOS asked through FOI for the engineering report showing that the concrete rink slabs (which hold the cooling pipes) are at risk of failing and need to be demolished now.

The response came on May 29. Neither the DTAH engineering report of 2018 nor the 2014 state of good repair report give evidence of any such risk. (The electronic FOI page is here.) The only reason given by the DTAH engineering consultant, for demolishing the rink slabs, is in case of “any proposed changes in size or shape” of the rinks.

The FOI response also included an internal staff email chain. The reasons given there for rink slab demolition are (1) the shape of the rink’s corners and (2) the city standards for dimensions of new rinks (many existing rinks including indoor arenas do not have the standard measurements). But the Parks supervisor for west Toronto, Nadia Blackburn, writes to her colleagues that telling the public that the “tight corners” are a reason for rink replacement is not a good idea. “I'm just concerned that this will be a sticking point that they will cling to and find a reason to oppose this. City Standards should be enough of a reason even if they don't like it.”

Our FOI request also asked for the specific bylaws and building codes that are not being adhered to at the current rink and clubhouse – “this should include information about which of those specific elements pose a risk to occupational health and safety, or where there is a concern about a future legal claim against the city.”

The FOI response was that the Buildings Department can find no relevant information, and that if we want that information from Parks and Rec it would require “a more extensive search.....but that would come with significant charges.” In other words, to find out which city bylaws and codes apply specifically to city’s Dufferin Grove rink replacement project would cost CELOS, or anyone, a lot of money.

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