CORNWALL – Cornwall bylaw enforcement officers were at the Vincent family home around midday Monday in preparation to take down part of an outdoor ice hockey rink.
Laura Vincent tells Cornwall Newswatch that Coun. Mark MacDonald had provided guidance to them, for a temporary minor variance application to allow the rink to stay. (Corrects to show Mark MacDonald didn’t make the application)
But Vincent says after leaving messages with the city, she only heard from an official this morning that they were coming to tear the rink down.
Vincent was under the impression City CAO Norm Levac was going to discuss the situation with the family this week.
A phone call to CAO Norm Levac’s office has not been returned.
“My shock, when I hear that’s the first thing on the (city’s) agenda this morning is to come to send public works to tear it down and send us the bill for it,” Vincent said.
Vincent says a backhoe and Municipal Works Division Manager Bill de Wit had already visited the home this morning.
“He said that all the boards have to come down, which, again there are so many questions,” said a confused and frustrated Vincent.
A public works official had earlier proposed a compromise where the pegs holding the section of the rink nearest the street would have to be removed along with those boards.
Coun. Mark MacDonald told Cornwall Newswatch the city was discussing the issue Sunday night, based on email correspondence he was privy to. “As far as I know she applied for a temporary minor variance and they (the city) told her something to the effect it falls under the Streets bylaw…and further discussion is required.”
“I think a temporary minor variance might be appropriate at this point, if there is such a thing. They know that it’s got to come down and it won’t be there next year,” MacDonald said.
“It’s so hurtful that someone could come on your property like that when you’re just trying to do good things for kids and the community and something so fun,” Vincent said, her voice wavering.
Vincent finds the swift action surprising, considering the rink had been on their front yard last winter with no problems or complaints. Construction also started in October and the family only heard from the city, Dec. 21. “We didn’t think, being that it was a temporary, it’s seasonal. The pegs go in the ground only a few inches,” she said.
As for putting it in the back yard, Vincent says many of the utility lines (such as natural gas and sewer) run between the two houses in the back of their property and their neighbour that’s two feet behind their back yard has a property prone to flooding.
“He (my husband) was trying to do it to help others,” she said.