It’s like David versus Goliath, only this time, David won! Earlier today, the City of Guelph’s Chief Administrative Officer Ann Pappert announced that an agreement has been reached with a group neighbours in Pine Ridge to keep a less than officially sanctioned local skating rink. The rink is technically on city land between two subdivisions in the south end, but all that kids having fun and enjoying exercise got on someone’s nerve, and they made some noise about it to city hall. Reacting the quickly, the city has announced that they’ve reach a short term solution that should make everyone in the area happy, allowing the kids to keep skating as the city keeps working toward some new permanent rules regarding the situation.
Here’s the press release from Ann Pappert and the City of Guelph:
Guelph, ON, January 30, 2015 – We said yesterday that we’re interested in working with the residents of Pine Ridge on a mutually satisfactory solution with respect to what has become a well-used neighbourhood rink.
Our challenge is to work with residents to balance a number of competing interests. In this case we need to balance the desire for community recreation with the right to peaceful enjoyment of private property; liability issues and the safeguarding of the environment.
While the City works through these matters we will allow Pine Ridge residents to continue to use the rink they’ve built until a significant thaw. They can use the rink from sun-up to sun-down, without music, lights or electrical hook ups and at their own risk, thereby limiting the impact on some residents’ enjoyment of their adjoining property.
This interim solution doesn’t reflect a final decision, but it gives the City some short-term assurance while allowing residents of Pine Ridge to continue to enjoy their rink.
Next week, senior City staff will work with Pine Ridge residents to discuss this interim solution and longer-term options.
Outdoor rinks are wonderful neighbourhood assets. The City believes wholeheartedly in their benefits which is why we support neighbourhood groups working with the City, through a number of in-kind supports, in building their own rinks.
But rinks need to be safe. And they need to respect the rights of every resident in the neighbourhood. And, finally, they can’t compromise natural areas or the infrastructure built to protect those natural areas. That infrastructure, after all, is funded by every resident through their property taxes and the City is obliged to look after that investment.
The City looks forward to next week’s conversations. We’ll keep you apprised of how they go.