I THOUGHT I WAS THROUGH writing about the year-round plaza that is to go into the downtown, since I said I was hoping it would succeed considering council has officially approved it.
But a couple of questions came my way after I decided to end my criticism of the project, questions as to what the size of the skating rink on the plaza will be and also if the rink on the plaza means the end of the skating trail at Clergue Park.
As I was sort of thinking along the same lines myself, I passed the questions on to Tom Vair, Deputy CAO, Community Development and Enterprise Services with the city, to get the goods.
“The size of the skating rink is approximately 750 square metres,” he replied to my email. “Our consulting team has worked on other projects and examined other municipal rinks to ensure this is in line with best practices and a suitable size. “Market Square in Guelph is 740 square metres; Pat Bayly Square in Ajax is 660 square metres; Riverwalk Commons in Newmarket is 870 square metres and Prince Arthur’s Landing in Thunder Bay is 940 square metres.”
In regard to the future of the skating trail at Clergue Park he said:
“Once the plaza rink is up and running staff and Council will review the skating trail. As stated in our presentation to Council, we have had some good winters for operating the Clergue Park skating trail but we have also had winters with very limited days the outdoor rinks could be open.”
He said the rink at the plaza will have a compressor system in place to enable skating through the winter season (expected rink operations November to March).
I would hope that the Clergue skating trail is kept, even though there will be some downtime in moderate weather, because it offers a much better run for the serious skater.
The skating rink at the plaza is only 750 metres in size. To put that in perspective, that is just a little more than half the size of the ice surfaces in the John Rhodes Community Centre, one of which is a tad under a regular NHL 200-by-85-foot ice surface while the other is of NHL size.
The 85-by-185 smaller surface at the Rhodes equates to 15,725 square feet, which in turn equates to 1,460 square metres.
To my mind, this means the 750-square-metre rink at the plaza would better accommodate families who want to teach their kids how to skate than those who take their skating seriously.
Rather than dodging children and being unable to stretch their legs out on the confined space of the plaza rink, I am sure they would prefer the skating trail at Clergue Park, which is particularly appealing under the lights at night.
ALTHOUGH I KNOW YOU will never be able to convince some among us that lockdowns and masks work in a pandemic, they obviously do.
If they didn’t, we in Ontario would probably be in a situation similar to that in Alberta, where hospitals are overflowing.
As it stands, when it comes to COVID-19 in Canada, Ontario is doing far better than most provinces.
In Alberta, as you know if you pay any attention to the news, the situation as I write this is beyond dire.
And it isn’t all that great in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Quebec either.
Alberta, led by Premier Jason Kenney who is now under fire even by his own party for the incompetence he has displayed in his handling of the COVID-19 virus, has run into such a problem that it has had to ask for outside help.
As of Oct. 5, a date I had to use because of an early deadline brought on by the Thanksgiving holiday, Alberta had 1,262 new cases and a seven-day average of 1,328, figures that were down from the highs of 1,706 new cases and a seven-day average of 1,621 on Sept. 27.
Ontario on Oct. 5 had 476 new cases and a seven-day average of 574.
Ontario has a population of 14,6 million, more than three times Alberta’s 4.4 million. Yet
Alberta has more than three times as many new cases. I think that puts it in perspective as to how great the problem is in Alberta and by comparison how well we are doing in Ontario,
The disparity continues when the numbers in Quebec, B.C. and Saskatchewan are compared to Ontario.
B.C., with a population of 5.1 million, had 752 new cases and a seven-day average of 697 on Oct. 5 Quebec, with a population of 8.5 million, had 436 new cases with a seven-day average of 553, down from the highs of 995 and 698 respectively on Sept. 11. Saskatchewan, with a population of 1.2 million, had 242 new cases and a seven-day average of 427.
Of the provinces with populations over a million, Manitoba came closest to matching Ontario percentage-wise.
With its 1.4 million population, a tenth of Ontario’s, it had 95 new cases and a seven-day average of 102.
Ontario had a lockdown earlier in the year and opened too early. Premier Doug Ford, when forced to do it again a few months later, this time made it last, with the province still being in the third and final step.
With about 85 percent of Ontarians having at least one dose of a vaccine and about 75 percent having two, and with governments of all levels and many businesses and industries enforcing vaccine mandates, things finally appear to be going our way in Ontario.
But with most of the new cases being among the unvaccinated, we still have a way to go in convincing those who believe a mandate is infringing upon their individual rights, that a prick in the arm is far easier to accept than a ventilator.