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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis




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posted February 12, 2008

Outdoor rink ice maintenance cost increase

Cost of Toronto/East York outdoor ice rinks, per rink pad:

Toronto (a.k.a. South District) has 28 outdoor compressor-cooled rink pads at 21 locations (7 are double-pad rinks). It has 23 seasonal rink operators assigned to those rinks. The cost for one season of these zamboni operators is $13,063 per ice pad.

Cost of Etobicoke/York outdoor ice rinks, per rink pad:

Etobicoke (a.k.a. West District) has 23 outdoor compressor-cooled rink pads at 19 locations (4 are double-pad rinks). It has 28 seasonal rink operators assigned to those rinks. The cost for one season of these zamboni operators is $19,360 per ice pad.

The City is about to switch all the outdoor rinks to the more expensive Etobicoke model. Why?

(Ice maintenance in the 2007/2008 in Etobicoke/West District has not been better than in Toronto/South District.)

Zamboni operator changes - the math.

2007/2008: winter seasonal job selection, covering 41 outdoor rinks (7 North York rinks are not listed in the seasonal jobs because they are permanent caretaker jobs):

51 operators x 14 weeks = 714 weeks total

3 operators x 16 weeks = 48 weeks total

762 total weeks for the whole rink season

Wages: $22.81/hr. x 40 hours/week = $912.40/ week

Plus benefits = $223.53/week

Total wage cost is $1135.93 /per driver week x 762 weeks

Cost of seasonal zamboni operators for this winter's outdoor rink season: $865,584.69

2008/2009: winter zamboni operators, covering 41 outdoor rinks:

Total of 762 weeks for the whole outdoor rink season.

If the operator number stayed the same but the wages went up to $26.93/week* x 40 hours/week = $1077.20/week

Plus benefits = $263.91/week

Total wage cost is $1341.11/ week

Cost of zamboni drivers would be $1,021,928.86

Plus 5 additional zamboni operators in the new plan:

5 x $1341.11 = $6705.55/week x 14 weeks = $93,877.70

Total cost of 2008/2009 season: $1,115,806.56

Increase from this rink season to next: $250,221.87

*New job title: Leadhand (Parks)File #07-CSA14214

Jan.22, 2008, E-mail from Jutta Mason to Wynna Brown, assistant to Parks, Forestry and recreation general manager Brenda Librecz

I am pretty mystified -- why were the outdoor rinks moved out of the Parks Committee since they're under Parks (Kevin Bowser)? Was that on staff advice?

Parks is currently setting about to make a huge change that will cost the Division an additional quarter of a million dollars ($250,221.87, by my calculation) for outdoor rink maintenance staffing next season.

Since this change is due to be put in "for life" as Kevin Bowser said at our recent meeting with him, and the hirings are set for March, CELOS will need to discuss the matter with councillors well before the April Community Services and Recreation Committee meeting. The decision to use more zamboni operators for higher pay to do the same amount of work is effectively a policy decision, since that means the PFR budget is going for increases in outdoor rink staffing wage/ staff numbers instead of for the earlier rink openings (at selected major neighbourhood rinks) that many rink users have asked for, for years now.

In addition, this increase in outdoor rink maintenance staffing-costs relates to the additional $5.714 million from increased user fees, that PFR says it has already included in its 2008 operating budget (p.3, "Improving Access to Recreation"). A plan that raises user fees and abolishes priority centres, and then spends a quarter of a million dollars more (for the re-introduction of a very debatable old-order outdoor rink-maintenance approach), needs public discussion with our political representatives.

To make sure that I read the numbers right, I need to see the PFR proposed operating budget document that's going to Budget Committee in the next few weeks. Can you tell me where I can get a copy? I need it before the deputations tomorrow evening, and I can go and pick it up in person at City Hall if you can give me an idea where to get it.

The two charts on which I based my calculations above are this one from the CUPE Local 416 web site: zamboni operator assignments and the City's Lead-hand (Parks) job posting on Dec.7, 2007.

Content last modified on April 18, 2008, at 12:43 PM EST