Donation could launch skate-lend­ing pro­gram

Busi­ness­man of­fers $3,000 to help cover city’s costs at Re­gent Park ice rink

Toronto Star - - GREATER TORONTO - MAY WAR­REN METRO

A shed full of do­nated skates sit­ting in Duf­ferin Grove Park may get used af­ter all, thanks to the gen­er­ous of­fer of a Toronto busi­ness­man and a lot of per­sis­tence from a lo­cal non-profit.

The Cen­tre for Lo­cal Re­search into Pub­lic Space, which helped set up a suc­cess­ful skate-lend­ing pro­gram at the Duf­ferin Grove rink, of­fered the city about 120 pairs of skates, do­nated by the NHL Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, for a sim­i­lar pro­gram at an­other rink this fall. But the city passed on the of­fer, cit­ing the work re­quired to man­age such a pro­gram.

Since then, lo­cal busi­ness­man David Roth­berg has stepped up with the of­fer of a $3,000 donation to cover the costs at Re­gent Park rink.

“Peo­ple could re­ally use those skates,” Roth­berg said. “It’s our na­tional sport, it’s out­side, it’s win­ter.”

His own son learned to skate at Duf­ferin Grove, where skates can be bor­rowed for $2, and he wants kids in Re­gent Park to have the same op­por­tu­nity.

“You don’t have to be a ge­nius to see that some­thing was work­ing there,” he said. “I hope the city lis­tens.”

Ward 28 Coun­cil­lor Lucy Troisi said she just learned of the idea late Mon­day and needs to meet with parks and recre­ation staff, but is “in full sup­port of peo­ple be­ing able to ac­cess equip­ment in ar­eas of high need.”

“There’s cer­tainly an in­ter­est on our part,” she said, but did not of­fer a timeline.

City spokesper­son Jane Ar­bour said staff will be “con­sid­er­ing how to use this donation” and work­ing with the non-profit and Roth­berg in the com­ing days to see how it would work.

Jutta Ma­son of the Cen­tre for Lo­cal Re­search into Pub­lic Space is concerned about the lack of a con­crete timeline.

David Roth­berg’s son learned to skate at Duf­ferin Grove, and he wants kids in Re­gent Park to have the same op­por­tu­nity

She’s been frus­trated with the process so far and was con­tacted by a Kitch­ener coun­cil­lor who of­fered to take the skates to set up a lend­ing pro­gram there if Toronto doesn’t want them.

The skate li­brary at Duf­ferin Grove helped at­tract more skaters and lit up the space, Ma­son said.

“It’s the most sim­ple thing to run a skate lend­ing pro­gram,” she added. “Set­ting this up would take two days or less.”

ED­UARDO LIMA/METRO NEWS

A lo­cal busi­ness­man has stepped up with an of­fer to front $3,000 to help cover the costs of a skate-lend­ing pro­gram at the Re­gent Park skat­ing rink.

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