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January 24, 2012


Here we go again with the City's penchant for forbidding everything that isn't compulsory.

I don't know how my generation survived childhood. We skated on ponds, explored culverts, and were out past dark. And dogs ran around. I remember the neighbourhood kids bringing back mine, and I certainly brought back theirs.

Why are storm water management ponds fenced anyway? There are a number of them around. One would think having a nice pond about would be a plus. But no, they're surrounded by expensive, ugly, needs-maintenance chain link fence.

God forbid such ponds be unprotected! Kids might put down Call of Duty XXIV and go play hockey. They might catch frogs in the summer, or take their dogs for a swim.

There are a number of such ponds in the Hanlon Creek Conservation Area as well. I walked by one last weekend and saw a couple playing hockey with their kid. I have no idea if it was the pond in the picture or not. I remember thinking how nice it would be if my dogs (off leash, of course) could go for a swim there in the summer, and how silly it is to fence such a nice skating rink.

Yes, I'm sure the fearful crowd will bring up all sorts of real and imagined ills whigh might result from unfenced ponds. And I'll reply as I always do: Use your brain!

The city should stop wasting time, money, and resources fencing stormwater ponds in the first place, and encourage people to get out and enjoy the outdoors. In every season.

feel better?

GoC, I agree with you 100%, but until people stop running to a lawyer every time they hurt themselves then the city has no choice but to limit their liability as best they can.


Jackpot Steve!!

$50 worth of signs saves the City hundreds of thousands in potential law suits. And all it takes is ONE... one who decides to make an issue out of it.

Example: I'm on an outdoor rink in a small town in Alberta on a holiday long weekend. There's a man there with his three boys. temperatures are very mild, and had been for a few days, barely sustaining ice and naturally causing some deterioration of the ice surface. Signs are posted on the rink boards that say "Unsupervised rink - USe at Your Own Risk"
We get chatting he says to me point blank, "If i twisted my ankle on this ice surface, forget the signs, first phone call I make is to my lawyer - they need to maintain this better" I ignored it and went about my skate. Point being... the weather was not on the side of making or maintaining good ice. Signs were posted. Long weekend (pay double time to flood a rink at -1 degrees?)
and this a** would be your guy that would sue!

Sad sad state of affairs.

the thing is we made everything over safe because the lack of common sense these days.

Here is a quote

'Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old common sense was, since the birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

Common sense will be remembered as having cultivated valuable lessons such as knowing when to come out of the rain, why the early bird catches the worm, that life isn’t always fair and that just maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults not children are in charge).
Common Sense’s health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place….Reports of a six year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing his classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student , only worsened his condition.

Common sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer panadol, sun lotion or sticky plasters to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from an intruder in your own home and the burglar got the right to sue you for assault.

Then smoking was banned in public places, but not one person worldwide could “definitely” be named who has ever died or been harmed by passive smoke. Why, because passive smoke is totally harmless and in the old days they had smoking rooms, so why not now? Sorry I forgot, common sense has of course died.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman working in her office failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled some in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust. His Wife; Discretion; His daughter; Responsibility; His Son Reason….

He is survived by three stepbrothers, I Know My Rights; Someone Else Is To Blame and I Am A Victim….

Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority of the idiots and do nothing!


I am not really vouching for anyone

Common sense is not dead, he was just run out of town by Karen Farbridge. Please be advised that in a few years we will have an opportunity to coax him back. Lets not waste this opportunity.

If stormwater ponds aren't safe, the City had better get out there with their chain link and fence off the river in Riverside Park, the ponds and rivers at the OR, and every other natural, unfenced body of water within the city limits.

Give me a break

How about people being abused by drunks coming out of bars sue the city. For, you know, allowing it to happen?

Grumpy, you should seriously consider writing a column in the local rags. You have the touch. Reading your post today took me back to my childhood, camping in the bush around town...most of which ceased to exist long ago and not a mall in sight. What I wouldn't give to have those days back again. Thanks for the memories.

maybe we are living in the end times...I am even in total agreement with GoC on this issue.

I am glad I am old enough to remember climbing ropes and playing "murderball" in gym class, when there were outdoor rinks in every neighborhood, when every playground had "monkeybars" and tall swing sets. Community swimming pools had diving boards. We could build treehouses in our folks' backyard and have lemonade stands, and not hear from the by-law dept, etc etc..

By the looks of many kids today, I wonder if they even get phys ed in grade school anymore. (and it's clearly the inactivity and not "junk food" that's causing this, as when I was a kid we all typically had stuff like nutella or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, jos louis' and a can of soda for our lunches - and - there were only something like three fats kids in the whole school of 550).

We are doing kids a big disservice by closing these outdoor rinks.

"Kids might put down Call of Duty XXIV and go play hockey." GOCorporal

Growing up, we found our own adventures, with whatever our neighbourhoods had. That is still happening, only with the help of Future Shop and EB Games. Which is not helped with the example set by the now-adult male in the household. That is the bigger problem.

Just sayin'.

Im surprised y'all aren't lamenting the good old days when it was your God-given right to allow your kid to sail thru the windshield because you objected to seatbelts and enjoyed a few cocktails after dinner.

Good one, Ernie. I too fondly remember the monkeybars and the tall creative playgrounds of my youth.

The elementary school I attended some years ago had a massive structure built by parents and teachers, probably without much of a plan and I would be surprised if there was a permit.

It was at least twenty feet tall, built out of pressure treated wood, and had an enormous tube slide and tires on which you could climb up the entire height. The railing was two rails running horizontally around the upper deck, with openings so kids could slide down the fire poles. There were monkey bars, a wobbly bridge, and horseshoes you could swing off of a good ten feet up. I'll never forget some of the more acrobatic girls swinging out horseshoe to horseshoe and back, turning around so fast they went perfectly horizontal, hanging by one hand at the end.

Safety was that kids had to be in grade 3 to go on the upper deck. Naturally, we ignored that.

What a blast we had!

I wouldn't smoke with a kid in the car, or leave a toddler unbuckled while weaving my way home from the bar. Some safety is well and good.

But what are we losing when we allow the frightened, timid DCs of the world to regulate everything from railings, to seatbelts, to helmets, to monkey bars, to... what's next, DC?

Maybe letting people play hockey on a pond isn't really the end of the world.

Accidents kill, Grumpy. Most responsible adults realize that. Except of course, those who fell off those wobbly monkey bars a few too many times onto their heads.

I mean, why not just let kids play with guns? I'm sure you did as a kid.

This is a perfect case of one person has the potential to ruin it for everyone else!

Just takes one guy looking for a "handout" through a lawsuit and everyone goes into over protection mode!

Actually DC, we did play with guns (albeit BB guns)when I was a kid (back when the earth's crust was still cooling). None of us ever grew up to be gangsters or violent criminals.

GoC, I remember something like what you describe even at Ontario Place. The thing had massive climbing apparatus and thick netting below, with sand below that, in case anyone fell. In our school, the gym ceiling was close to two stories high and attached to it was a climbing gym with ladders and ropes. The teacher put thick mats down in case anyone fell. No-one ever was injured when I was there for 8 yrs.

My point in all of this is that I think that encouraging these activities are good for the physical development of young people. Stuff like climbing trees and ropes and playing dodgeball teach them vital proprioceptive skills. This is why we could eat tons of crap and still not be obese - compared to kids today - who seem to be going in the opposite direction. I seen a couple of them last summer at the beach--young boys who couldn't have been more than 10--who appeared to be growing breasts ffs.

The ancient Greeks had it right; half of the day in the Academy was physical training, the other half was academic.

Apropos to the lead story in this thread, look at the madness in Toronto, where school councilors are banning "hard balls" (which includes softballs and soccer balls) all because ONE ADULT was hit by a ball while crossing the playground:

"Toronto school bans hard balls"

Too bad it wasn't a brick that hit that whiny ass parent in the head.

Do you want your kids to be in the care of politically correct imbeciles like that, DC? Seriously? As a parent, shouldn't YOU and YOU ALONE have final say how your kids play? Why on earth would any parent want to give up their sovereignty as parents to these types of idiots?

Too bad we can't scratch Darwin from the grave because there is only one word for this: devolution.

That's why I don't blame the city for this kind of thing. They need to carry tons of liability insurance and those insurers will demand these "safety" features as a condition of their coverage.

LOL, of course most of us survived the stupidity of our youth ... but a few didn't. That's the point.

That's the reason level-headed people have fences around their pools and wear seatbelts.

And for those not level-headed enough to impart a sense of reason and responsibility on their own kids, the state mandates that they put up a fences and buckle up their kids.

And the Darwin argument is an insensitive insult to every parent who has ever lost a child in an accident, ernie.

DC you make my point about political correctness in your trying to use it to attempt to invalidate an argument.

Just because an assertion makes us uncomfortable, that in itself doesn't invalidate its validity or truth.

Maybe because your emotionally-reasoned argument is based on some inherently false assertion that because a very, very small minority of parents and adults are too careless to parent and supervise kids properly, we should take away a broad number of activities (freedoms, actually) from the majority of children--who are intelligent and diligent enough to manage their behavior.

This is where the devolution comes in--because of the type of social engineering that comes with the kinds of things you advocate as being "for our own good", we have been slowly, genealogically, de-conditioning personal responsibility in the individual (like learning how to look out for and take care of oneself). And its all connected to political correctness, viz, the tool of emotional and social blackmail that groups use to enforce ideological conformity on the individual. If the individual has a free thought that runs counter to the agenda of the group, the tactic then is to paint them as being "insensitive" or having said something "unfortunate".

I don't see how learning how to hunt (as I did as a kid when I learned all about guns from responsible adults) and learning to climb trees and monkey bars, qualifies as "stupidity of our youth". I was fortunate to learn where my food comes from and about nature, including human nature. And my parents and those of my friends didn't sugar-coat it for me either.

Kids need to learn to manage the risk that comes with life. The sooner the better. And this is something we cannot do on their behalf for them--as well intentioned as it seems--no matter how many skating rinks we close and how many schoolyards we ban soccer balls from.


More on this later.

Accidents happen, ernie. Best to try to avoid them. I fail to see how putting up a "Stay off the ice" sign will cause the downfall of humanity. But it might save one kid from drowning. And if putting up that sign or enforcing bike helmet regulations for kids makes me politically correct, then oh well.

All of these other social engineering and devolution arguments are big fat red herrings. If physical activity is so important to you (and I agree it is), then perhaps you should make a presentation to the School Board to increase PhysEd time in schools rather than telling all the neighbourhood kids to just go out and play on thin ice. Or maybe sign the kids up for soccer or buy them a pair of skis.

Im reading between the lines here, ernie and it seems that you are suggesting that one kid dieing from an accident is an acceptable level of risk so that many kids can have fun playing dangerously. Well, I guess Im just at the other end of the risk-aversion scale and believe its more responsible to limit all the kids from playing dangerously in order to better protect them all.

Im curious, ernie. Most men when they get into their 40s and 50s look back at their own reckless youthful behaviour and wonder how they ever could have behaved so dangerously. Fun, of course, but incredibly dangerous and many of us have the scars and broken bones to prove it (myself included).

Maybe I just feel a greater need to protect my kids from the same stupid behaviour that I engaged in when I was their age. Am I doing them a disservice? Is that bad parenting?

Now, be reasonable in your response and don't "grumpy it up" with silly hyperbole and accuse me of wrapping the kids in bubble wrap and keeping them on a leash. What things did you tell your kids not to do that you did and later came to understand was dangerous? Anything at all?

It may well be that pond hockey stands alone in its ability to bring Canadians together in a shared sense of experience and nationhood. Only, it's mostly a myth, at least in Southern Ontario.

And with the trend to more and more screen time as the way our chidren and youth spend their waking hours, it's a bit of a stretch to argue "let them do it and they will". Cold skates and frozen fingers does not compete with gaming and the like. So, it's a non-starter, to make a point based more in ideology than reality or common sense. And I am saying this as someone who has also experienced the fun of pond hockey. I guess you can call me a realist.

But hey, if this is a debate about the appropriate limits of individual and collective freedoms and responsibilities, and if you want to err on the side of more freedom and responsibility for the individual, be prepared for people to choose more screen time, not less. That is, not pond hockey. Look at the link I posted above. This is how many of us are spending our limited discretionary income. This is how many of us are spending our "free" time.

As for the fencing, it's a good idea. We are living in an urban and urbanizing setting. People sometimes make mistakes; maybe they don't have the background to necessarily know what is safe and what isn't in this kind of way. Children as well. That can be one hard lesson to learn -- for the next one, which is the whole point of the fencing. It's already happened somewhere. To someone. But it seems that doesn't entirely matter to some.

We have arenas. We have neighbourhood rinks when the weather is co-operating. We have public pools. The fences are not what's separating folks from a more active livestyle. We're interested in entertainment, not recreation. Entertainment is where the money is. And it's what we're promoting with our resources.

But there is another angle as well to the fences. We have to consider they may also be restricting recreational impacts on the "natural environment" that may be possible with storm water management ponds. These areas can be home to all sorts of creatures that are disrupted when we enter them, disruptions that affect foraging, their ability to find a mate, etc., all of which requires energy. Apparently benign recreational activities, like letting your dog run and explore these areas can be quite disruptive, nevermind the impact with us tromping around. In Southern Ontario, these ponds MAY represent points in a highly fragmented, isolated ecosystem.

Probably one of the best posts Ive read by anyone here, Craig. thanks. Lots of things to consider. It's funny, it never dawned on me to question whether kids would want to play on the ice. I guess I just assumed they would. I know I did when I was a kid. Creeks and rivers more than storm ponds for me, tho'. I guess we all do have one thing in common ... we were all kids once.

To respond to your other point DC, I would say:

"Education, not legislation".

Its a lot like the whole censorship issue. Rather than wasting resources on determining which media/messages we should censor, its a better practice to put all of our resources in determining how best to properly interpret those messages/media/speech etc, rationally, intelligently and constructively.

What I'm saying its better to inculcate in young people the ability to a) think for themselves, b) be aware of potential risks involved with learning and performing any activity, and c) supervise them responsibly.

That is 99% better than just passing laws, which benefit no one but the government and its agents (which is a very big reason why we have many of the fiscal problems we do--everyone looks to the government/legislation to indemnify us against every imaginable risk under the sun. The price to be paid for that isn't only something you can quantify in terms of $$ on your tax bill, I really do believe that there is also a "dumbing-down" thats an unintended consequence, where everyone sees big daddy in gov't as being responsible for our protection that we lose the instinct to be govern accordingly when it come to risks.

As far as lobbying the School Board to increase phys-ed time, I would love to do this (and actually have a background that would qualify me to do such) but I think its a lost cause as they have their own agenda, and when you look, for example, at the link I posted where in Toronto the board there is actually banning soccer balls from the school yard because a parent was hit in the head with one--it tells me that these people are incapable of understanding anything that involves reason.

Craig, yes, we're interested in entertainment, not recreation. And the price for that is a healthcare system that is, as I write this, more than half of the Provincial budget.

Add demographics to this--the looming retirement of all the so-called baby boomers--and we see something that won't be very pleasant for us when it hits the fan.

Another reason why restricting kids from recreational/sporting/athletic activities might be worse than upsetting some "jefferson salamander" in the pond.

So many people seem to overlook the fact that Stormwater Ponds are different than natural creeks and ponds. The stormwater ponds have a function that makes them unsafe to be used recreationally. The City supports many neighbourhood park rinks. Point your children to the safer alternatives rather than blame the City for being too restrictive.

Thanks, D C. I considered starting a pond hockey league at a local mill pond a couple of years ago, but in watching the pond ice I decided our winters are too variable here to organize something like that. The creek feeding mill pond has since been reclaimed with the removal of the dam.

There are the odd times when there is skating on the Speed River. I can't recall if the City through the GRCA (if that is the process) has gone the step of saying, the ice in such and such section of the Speed River is safe for ice skating this week(end). Unless we have a real snapper of a winter, it may be advisable to keep it informal.

As for lifestyles, yes, Ernie and DC I think the bigger problem is the place and power of gaming and screen time in our lives. We would need a massive societal shift before we saw the masses gathered around SWMP's, banging their proverbial tin cups against the fences. Until we have the same kind of line-ups to get into our public skates and swims as we see for the latest release of some game, which would be a great problem to have, it's a non-starter to talk about the loss of access to the SWMPs. Urban and rural living are two very different animals, especially in Southern Ontario.

As for the impacts on the fragile ecologies with the SWMPs and what some may be providing by way of habitat, we need to remind ourselves that it's not always about us. Or, restricting access is about us, but in a bigger kind of way.

Thanks for acknowledging the differences, Eastender.


Wow. I would like to go on record as saying there may be something to all this posting as someone else. I support whoever has grabbed Ernie's handle. You even write just like Ernie, but you're making sense.

Craig: 'It's okay to fence all the ponds because nobody wants to play pond hockey anyway. Everybody wants to stay home playing Call of Duty XXIV.'

Yet, here is this picture of a citizen, out one freezing day with his dog, shovelling the pond.

Yet, here is this family, out playing hockey on a fenced pond backing onto Hanlon Creek.

Yet, there are suspiciously rink-shaped clear areas on ponds all over southern Ontario.

Craig, I have no problem if people want to stay in and play whatever the first-person-shooter-of-the-month is. I have a problem when you want to prevent those who want to play pond hockey from doing so. What they do otherwise is none of your business.

According to the Farbridge crowd, Craig and DC, we should all stay off the ponds and go to arenas. Being outside isn't important. Not having to travel isn't important. Playing on your own hours isn't important. Teaching your kids some independence isn't important.

I'm so glad we have DC and Craig to make our decisions for us.

If you want a change in face while still maintaining the gang of eight, vote for Craig.

If you don't live near a sanctioned rink, then driving your kids to one is probably much more dangerous than letting them skate on the local pond. Auto accidents are by far the #1 killer of young people. Safety advocates always seem to neglect that fact.

Hang on... guys...

Closing in... on... my... high... score...

Hang on... guys...

Closing in... on... my... high... score...


Yes, accidents happen, but lets remember one thing:

"You cannot use the exception to prove the rule".

Craig, I actually learned to skate on a pond:

GoC, yes, I can assure you I am a real person. Teaching our kids some independence (in thinking as well as behavior) will make all of us far better off in the long run. :)

(Actually, Ernie, I think GOC's and your argument is that the exception does prove the rule.)

Craig, in my view, individualism and personal freedom are incompatible with ignorance.

Anybody notice the story in the Merc about the new odour problem at the organic plant? It was just on the news that they have solved the problem by blowing more air up the stack. Sound familiar.

Ernie, I guess that includes allowing individuals to have more free freedom to lose a limb or a life in becoming less "ignorant"? Not sure if this is what you mean. If I have that wrong, let me know.

It seems to be consistent though with GOCorporal's observation "there are suspiciously rink-shaped clear areas on ponds all over southern Ontario," notwithstanding this has been a mild winter (can we at least all agree to that?), and if anything this observation suppports what I was saying in my above posts. I was going to skip past how that actually undermined his general thrust on this matter, but it kinda of fits with the limitations of what you are proposing.

Just curious how you square this view with the enforcement of things like required certification, occupantional health and safety and building code?

If individualism and personal freedom is "incompatible" with ignorance for the individual, does that remain true or does that break down for you when you have two people involved as a social unit? What about a "household"? Is greater freedom for a household incompatable with ignorance for a household? Is greater freedom incompatable with ignorance for a group of ten households, or fifty-thousand households that have come together?

It's great that we have the freedom to debate this. But it your view, is freedom of speech absolutely incompatable with ignorance?

A variation on this theme is that last year at this time, residents of the public housing on Auden Rd. built their own rink. They were told by their "masters" that they couldn't do one this year for legal (read insurance) reasons. So they can't skate there OR at the storm pond down the road. Now what are they supposed to do, rent ice time just like the rich do?

This morning i witnessed a protest at the new rink at City Hall from a few parents who didn't agree with the rules for skating on the rink. They thought they should be able to take their strollers onto the rink, because they think it violates their rights for the City try to protect the safety of their children.

A stroller on a rink sounds harmless enough, until the parent falls and grab onto it in a moment of panic taking the kid down with them, or another kid, just having fun skates into it while looking the other direction. Another set of parents thought it would be fun to put their baby in a little toboggan and tow him around, except that he tipped over and fell on his head. But instead of realizing it was a bad idea, they just put a bigger kid in who wouldn't tip over so easily. The worst example was some parents that thought it was ok for their kids to lie down in the middle of the rink and make snow angels. Maybe I'm over protective, but I can't see me ever saying "hey kids, there are lots people with knives on their feet, so why don't you go lie down around them and hope they miss you?

My point is that there are people who make poor choices and it is unfortunate that rules have to be made to prevent them from doing what most people would see as obvious. What's even worse is that these choices sometimes end up badly, and if there isn't a sign, the city/taxpayers get sued.

Exactly, john. To argue otherwise is to have your head willfully in the sand, or be deliberately oppositional, or simply, dismissive about the safety of others -- for ideological reasons, or otherwise, it doesn't really matter. When is comes to public safety and public dollars, you do your best to consider the various angles, weighing the pros and cons of taking a particular direction, knowing there will likely be something you've missed, or that you're taking a calculated risk in favour of some greater public good. And then learn from when you or someone else has fallen short the mark.

But if we ban sleds and strollers, then why do we allow sledges for the handicapped? Are we somehow now in the business of differenciating between difficulties? Seems like a slippery slope. We should allow everything until it appears that there is a problem, or at least allow different activities at different times. The rink was paid for by everyone, it shouldn't be exclusive.

Parenthood isn't a disability, Ray. To be fair, you're not saying that it is -- but if there is a slippery slope for me it's about asking if there is one here. The differences are clear to me.

And yes, the rink belongs to all of us and it needs to be protected accordingly, just as we collectively need to be protected should there be a mishap relating to it. Which means neither you nor me nor anyone else is allowed to do whatever we want, whenever we want with it just because it "belongs" to us.

At the core of this whole thread isn't the issue of exclusivity or some likely advisable restrictions but the entitlements some consider themselves to be deserving of, regardless of how it may impact on others -- or on the whole of us.

This is a tricky one. The City can't ban wheelchairs or sledges or else they are discriminating against the people who use those, but the arguments they use to ban strollers and toboggans -- that someone could fall onto them or be tripped by them -- seems just as true of sledges as strollers.
That said, the argument that everyone should be able to use it as they see fit clearly can't stand or we'll have speed skaters crashing into people and hockey pucks flying around there.

This is TOTAL madness. It's skating, its' exercise.... protecting rights, avoiding lawsuits or discrimination complaints.... it's a sad state of affairs!!
IF i'm in charge here's the rules. If you're on skates you're in. NO extra equipment or tools allowed. period. only one exception, those small kids skate trainers which are just padded triangular frames.
How can skating be so complex?

To be honest, it is a lot safer to skate on a rink/pond without any rules, than take a bike out and ride on the road bike lanes on a snowy icy slushy day!!!! Those people should be fined. Talk about safety!!!!

Strollers make sense at Ottawa's Winterlude on the 7km long Rideau Canal but not on a tiny rink. I think the woman pictured in the Merc article looks like an absolute idiot pushing a stroller around in a circle on the small Guelph City Hall ice rink. I am surprised she didn't just want to drive her car onto the ice.

Point is, I think, that in descending level of "danger", you have sledges at the top, strollers in the middle, and those sorta pushy supporting things for the little ones at the bottom ie. they are the safest. Two are legal, the ones in the middle aren't. Seems kinda weird.

Sure -- or the Speed River, IF and WHEN the ice conditions allow for it, D C -- which isn't necessarily something that can happen every winter.

I'm guessing that the rink is by far and away enjoyed as it was intended to be... for skating? Unfortunately, common sense is not as common as we should hope it to be. And worse, not everyone is acting in good faith. That's reality. The bottomline is we do our best to weigh the options and associated public goods in going in one direction or another. What's so extraordinary about this concept? So, yes, recreational public skating on rinks designed and intended for recreational public skating! (Arghh!) And yes, that includes accomodating accessibility needs. Does that involve a greater calculated risk? Yes. Is it is acceptable vis a vis the overall risk of the activity? Yes, when evaluated against the corresponding public good that goes along with it. I'm really not understanding some of the red herrings that being thrown out on this one...

And what about the fact that the city is paying hundred (thousands?) of dollars a week for a security guard to idle out front all night long, just to keep the drunks (and everyone else) off the ice? Why the guard isn't allowed inside either the old or new city hall I have no idea, but each night they break the idling bylaw by roughly 7 hours and fifty minutes! I wish that I was making this up, but any doubting Thomas can just go down there and see for themselves. Let's see how the City spins this one.

Sounds like a "mobile work station" to me, Ray!

Craig Chamberlain, I'm guessing some of you might be in favor of banning skating on the Rideau in Ottawa as well?

The "rules" promoted by T.M. Cochrane make sense. Common sense. Whatever happened to that?

Funny what happens when you read the actual rules: "Skating Aids Are NOT Allowed", (even though lots of people are using them), food is "not recommended" (what the Hell does THAT mean?), and helmets, perhaps the most important thing, are only "recommended". Curiouser and curiouser. You're allowed to be a danger to yourself, no matter your age, but strollers constitute a greater danger, because it a danger to others? Sure sounds like the legal dept was involved.

The more I think about it, the more it seems that, the risk that a child in a stroller represents to others, no matter how small, takes precedence over the risk that same child poses to itself by not wearing a helmet, even though there is far more inherent danger? Seems kinda insane. And, by the way, slings are also banned. Seems like time for another (or I guess the same), group to protest.

HahahahahahehehehaHAHA! You guys are just killing me. I'm literally in tears. I hope Maggie calls in bylaw to fine DC and Craig. Ice rink rules. Pool rules. Helmets. Safety fences around baseball diamonds (except Maggie doesn't like them, apparently aesthetics trump safety).

Craig, I restate my assessment of why you lost: you rail against Maggie and Farbridge, but I fail to see a significant difference. You still think it's fine to tell me what to do, where to go, what to wear, and how to go about my day. Just like Maggie. You might as well be another Maggie, looking forward to calling in bylaw when you see someone skating on a pond. Why vote for a Maggie clone when the real Maggie is right there? I think I'll call you Craiggie from now on.

You fit right in with DC, who not only thinks it's great to tell people where to skate and what to build, but also likes telling people how to drive, too.

And DC? It happens that this weekend, I was out teaching kids to shoot. Accurately and quickly, utilizing their firearms correctly, safely, and responsibly. A disproportionate number of kids in the program go on to...well...run the country.

Not only is it quite okay for "kids to play with guns", but if you're going to legislate every possible safety measure, I'm sure I have your support for mandatory marksmanship and firearms safety training in say, grade 6. A full semester ought to do it. My high school had an indoor range in the basement. I assure you such training as I was lucky enough to receive would save far more lives than banning pond hockey.

What's that? You don't like the idea of being forced into something, even though it's for safety?

Really. No kidding.

LOL, Grumpy does not even bother to read what others write here. I guess it's easier for him that way.

I wonder if the kids he taught to shoot guns this weekend resented him teaching them the safety rules. I mean, why shouldn't they just be allowed to do whatever they want with their guns? Where does Grumpy get off telling them what they can and cannot do? Rules, schmulez.

Double standard much, Grumpy?

Nice try, DC. But I don't think anyone but some of your anti-firearm, anti-development, anti-everything, bubblewrap lefty friends missed the way you walked into that one. Kids playing with guns, indeed. I believe the expression is "Pwned."

(And to answer your question, coaches aren't even allowed to talk to the competitors. They make a reasoned choice to compete well and safely. I merely assist by showing them how, well before competition. Apparently, it's possible to master a concept at the age of 12 that DC still tragically fails to manage.)

On a more serious note, I think the issue here, DC, is what rules make sense, and who decides for whom.

At the competition I was talking about, the officials allowed the participants to shoot without safety glasses. They fog up when you're out in the cold, performing intensive physical activity. Nobody shot their eye out.

In your world, such rules are from on high, unchangeable. In mine, reasonable people make reasonable decisions based on the circumstances.

In the case of pond skating, I simply support each individual's right to make a reasonable decision about their own safety. If the junior-to-youth set can display excellent judgement on a rifle range, so can the adult pictured at the top of this topic on a frozen pond.

Why, DC, do you think adults need your oversight? Are you special? What is it that gives you, Maggie, Craiggie, and the other bubblewrap lefties such insight into what's best for Grumpy, the rifle-toting outdoorsmen, and the rest of the population? Is it the extra intelligence that comes from being cloistered in a high-density urban setting?

I can assure you, DC, the rest of the country doesn't necessarily agree with the urbanite agenda.

I really hope someday somebody imposes something really onerous, but not oppressive, on you DC. Onerous, so you can understand what it's like, having someone decide for you. Not oppressive, so I don't have to help you out. And I hope it's posted here, so I can laugh at the irony of DC being pushed around by government.


Wait a minute...

Isn't DC all unhappy about a certain development at Stone and Gordon?



Chuckle, chortle, snort! Irony is just so funny.


"On a more serious note, I think the issue here, DC, is what rules make sense, and who decides for whom."

Exactly. Maybe I'm just too progressive for my own good but I think that keeping kids off dangerous, thin ice is a good idea.

I think that's part of the problem-- you think you're progressive. Every criticism gets met with "We're progressive-- why listen to those grumpy old reactionaries?"

You're not progressive. You're just restrictive.

If you'd try thinking for a change, instead of simply consulting the leftist playbook for your opinions, you might find those opinions carrying more weight.

Maybe I'm just a grumpy old reactionary, but the ice in the picture doesn't appear particularly thin, the guy is an adult, and you're for keeping everyone off every pond all the time, not just kids off thin ice.

Wake up, DC.

Indifference is the word you're looking for, D C. From what I have gained here, Libertarianism (?) seems to be strangely narcissistic.

LOL, I was being sarcastic, Grumpy. Of course you think Im restrictive. You think everyone who has ever said 'thou shalt not' to anything is restrictive. You want everyone to be able to do whatever they want. We get that. You think that everyone should have complete agency over all of their own actions whether they are wise actions or not, regardless of how they might affect themselves or others. Every child should have the right to fall thru the ice if they choose.

Yes Grumpy, I think it is a good idea to keep everyone off the stormwater ponds in order to prevent that one kid from falling thru and drowning who might not be as wise as you to know that its too thin and unsafe.

Do you agree with highway speed limits, Grumpy?

Craig, libertarians essentially take people as they are, as individuals and assert the right of individuals to chose what is best for themselves.

Nothing narcissistic about it. What is narcissistic, really, when you think about it, is using the government as a proxy to control other people's behaviors--because YOU think you know what's best for others. Because YOU somehow are better qualified to "know what's best".

Now that sure sounds narcissistic to me--thinking that one is important enough to tell others how to govern themselves and their children. Dismissing it as indifferent or selfish is misguided; its just an exploitative appeal to people's insecurities.

Libertarianism, actually goes back to John Stuart Mill's "Harm Principle". I think his treatise on the subject, "On Liberty" should be on some of your reading lists:


*note: yes, I also realize that libertarianism does fall apart when put in certain economic contexts, for eg, like not regulating the complexities of the global financial (those beyond-complex derivatives markets etc) markets. J.S. Mill (as well as Locke) originally located libertarianism in a civil context. Ironically, today we call this "classic liberalism".

Craig, do you think that there are any inherent limits to the control the government exerts over one's life? What would you then use as axioms to draw the line, so that democracy doesn't turn into some surveillance state--or that civil liberties and human rights do not end up as mere "privileges" dispensed by the whims of our Dear Leaders? ..

Add to that, I think that libertarians actually have the greatest amount of trust in others, whereas Fabian socialists and "progressives" seem to believe that we need "protection" from every possible bogeyman.

Look at the guy in the photo. Don't you trust that he is intelligent enough to not let his kids skate on ice if he thought it were too thin?

D.C. and Craig, I am glad I don't share your dim view of other's intelligence.

Ernie, there are public goods in restricting access to SWMPs.

Ernie's got it. Even I will support limited government interference in the free market when it comes to frequency spectrum auctions, stock trading, and large infrastructure and military projects. There's just no way around it: government is a necessary evil.

What's not necessary is regulating every aspect of personal risk. I read that a senator is being reported to the police for making comments that could encourage someone to commit suicide. Where do we stop?

I was out walking my dogs today and went by the pond I mentioned before. You know, the one where the family were playing hockey. The ice didn't look so good today. Nobody was skating on it. Can it be that people actually have the brains to regulate their own lives without help from DC and Craig?

Ernie's right, Craig and DC. (And Maggie and Karen.) You have to have a pretty inflated opinion of yourselves to think you know what's best for all of us.

Can you handle 120 km/h on the 401 on a clear day, DC?

If not, maybe you should reconsider driving. At all.

"I don't see myself as conservative, but I'm not ultra-leftist. ... I like the libertarian view, which is to leave everyone alone. Even as a kid, I was annoyed by people who wanted to tell everyone how to live."

~Clint Eastwood

For all you people that want to keep everyone from skating on the stormwater ponds - How do you feel about the beaches at Guelph Lake in the summertime? What if someone tries swimming there that doesn't know how to swim, or isn't a very good swimmer? Perhaps they should be fenced off as well. You know, if it saves just one life it will be worth it.

Where's the line in the (Guelph Lake) beach sand?
you're more likely to be injured or worse in a car crash on the way to work then skating on a pond or swimming at a local lake. That's despite being a licensed driver as administered by the Province AND having signs posted telling you how fast to travel, which way you can and can't turn etc...

No life is worth wasting but there has to be a happy medium as to how much protectionism can exist without imposing on the freedoms of individuals to make choices, hopefully good ones. let people live, make choices, make mistakes....hopefully not fatal ones.
We've gone way too far already, time to remove the protective bubble wrap from human beings and let soccer balls back onto school fields.

Here, here T.M. - Best comment yet
"Let soccer balls back onto school fields"

Christmas, Halloween, Easter etc are still alive and well.

Whiny bubblewrap leftists against balls. So, so many levels. Way, way too easy.

You have shared really informative and interesting post i will like to say thanks and also request you to keep post that kind of stuff in your more posts.

"But what are we losing when we allow the frightened, timid DCs of the world to regulate everything from railings, to seatbelts, to helmets, to monkey bars, to... what's next, DC?" --Me, January 2012

I should have asked Alan Pickersgill that question. I recently spent a few minutes with the Trib wondering whether to laugh or cry when Alan called in all seriousness for the mandatory use of pet restraints in vehicles.

I'm not joking.

Can we have mandatory spending restraints on all council chambers? That's one kind of mandatory restraint I can get behind.

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Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking the time and actual effort to generate a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

Now I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming over again to read other news.

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Joanne Shuttleworth is the newsroom lead in municipal affairs coverage for the Guelph Mercury. She is a former Guelph YWCA Woman of Distinction honouree and a past winner of an Ontario Newspapers Award for her work as an editor. You can reach her at jshuttleworth@guelphmercury.com

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