CORNWALL, Ontario – The Vincent family has a simple message for city hall: we’re not taking the rink down.
A little more than a dozen people rallied outside the Vincent home Friday in support of a rink that has stirred up controversy on Monaco Crescent and across the country.
City hall wants the boards of the front-yard rink removed because they encroach on municipal rights-of-way and some neighbours are complaining.
Supporters milled about in front of the rink with comments like “It makes no sense” and “This is ridiculous” to sum up their opinions of the city hall stance and that of neighbours opposed to the structure that draws children outdoors and into the fresh air.
Laura Vincent and her husband Brian say they won’t remove the rink, or the boards.
“We’re not taking it down,” she said as a few dozen people rallied outside her home.
She has some support from some city councillors. Coun. David Murphy has voiced displeasure with the move to remove the rink boards – he’d like to see them kept up for at least the balance of this winter.
Coun. Mark MacDonald suggested the city is being too heavy-handed and added a warning could be issued instead of demanding the boards be removed.
The city wants the boards down by Jan. 5.
“It’s like when the police pull you over for speeding,” said Vincent. “They can choose to give you a warning or give you a ticket.”
A speaker system had been set up outside the Vincent home Friday, and the thump of dance music could be heard throughout the neighbourhood.
Organizers of the rally, Stephanie Carriere and Kenny Merpaw, agreed the city and the complaining neighbours are being short-sighted.
“How can you complain about something like this?” said Carriere. “What kind of Grinchy person would complain?”
Merpaw suggested the rink boards and the ice itself are not permanent structures, and should not be considered an impediment to rights-of-way.
“It’s only up for three months,” he said. “It was up last year, with no problem.”
The story of the rink has gained traction outside the city. Major news networks have reported on the subject. A vast majority of Seaway News readers have commented in favour of allowing the rink and its boards to remain – at least for this winter.
City council could weigh-in on the rink and its future, though councillors won’t actually meet until Jan. 12 – a week after the Vincents are supposed to have the rink boards removed.
No one has skated on the rink recently, as warm temperatures have melted nearly everything in the Cornwall region that was once frozen. The rink still remains largely frozen, for now.