Reality bites as residents complain of free ice skating

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The swimming pool area of the condominium complex Aeroshack is littered with wads of icy pellets that stay in the air like small metallic torpedoes. “That is a hockey puck,”…

Reality bites as residents complain of free ice skating

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The swimming pool area of the condominium complex Aeroshack is littered with wads of icy pellets that stay in the air like small metallic torpedoes.

“That is a hockey puck,” says Jackie Henderson, who has lived in the high-rise for about a year.

Reality seems to be catching up with hockey-mad Toronto, which has been spending more time indoors as temperatures rise.

But Toronto residents don’t have to worry about the traffic jams and long waits at the rink. The city says it’s relaxing some rink rules that may have frustrated neighbors.

The Curieuse, an official site for the city of Toronto, announced the news on Wednesday. Curieuse staffers in parks, recreation and culture will be providing ice and a skating rink throughout the season at Aeroshack and other condominium-owned or other “permanent outdoor spaces in close proximity to local residents,” the statement said.

“The Curieuse is committed to an aggressive reentry, and although this is still a weather-dependent program, we aim to see the total number of permanent, outdoor skating rinks across Toronto grow to 30 by the end of February,” the statement continued.

Residents at the Aeroshack community were not happy, however.

“I think the Curieuse might want to be at home,” says Mohamed Farah, a resident for nearly three years who lives on the second floor of the condominium. He’s also the president of the condominium association.

The Aeroshack developers wanted to spend more money on bringing the rink outside, he said.

“We had the rink installed after the community voted in favor of it,” he said.

The ice usually isn’t frozen, and sometimes residents complained about the smell of grime and chemicals from the public hand-pumps, said Vaness Ducharme, an Aeroshack resident for a decade. The rink, like most in the city, is staffed year-round with public hand-pumps, she said.

The Curieuse said in its statement that it’s working with the condos to provide permanent outdoor facilities “on an as-needed basis.”

Gisele Lauzon, the director of strategy and communications for Aeroshack, said in an email to CNNMoney that the rink had recently been a popular gathering spot with local kids and was one of the top pickers on the Condo Lifestyle website.

“Last year we saw an increase in housing at the complex due to skyrocketing land costs in the [Toronto] area,” Lauzon said. “The number of players on the Arena this year was an average of 60 kids each night and 12 teams.”

The Aeroshack condominium is being marketed to people who are budget conscious and would like to relocate to the city.

“It looks really nice and doesn’t cost a lot of money to rent,” Ducharme said of the rink.

Aeroshack put up a sign last year and an LED sign this year, she said.

Aeroshack’s residents have the option of either purchasing a condo in the complex or staying in an apartment at the Aeroshack, Ducharme said.

Word of the curieuse’s announcement spread quickly on social media, but no one seemed to be grateful.

“With open arms welcome, thank you for nothing,” Lorraine Friesen wrote on Facebook. “My cousin has already moved and nobody will be next because no one wants to take his place in Toronto.”

Others took to Twitter to express their disappointment.

“Safe, hot, and temporary skate spots are not getting any better,” Bradley Sears tweeted.

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