Backyard ice rinks are a tradition in Canada and the northern United States. They are practically the only benefit of living in the goddamn tundra. Some backyard rinks are amateur affairs, nothing more than some 2x4s and a hose, while others cost thousands of dollars and have lights, real boards, and a warming shed. Backyard rinks are one of the good things about sports.
Unless you're Normand Grenier, that is. Grenier lives in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and is so unhappy with neighbor Jean Christophe Bossé's backyard rink that he complained to the city and got them to agree that "the structure contravenes area zoning bylaws," according to CBC, though Bossé argues that bylaw doesn't apply to residential rinks. Here's why Grenier says he wanted the rink taken down:
Neighbour Normand Grenier is relieved. He said he doesn't like looking at a big white wall and netting for half a year.
"I found that, in my kitchen or in my dining room, it created a significant visual impact. My land is 12 feet lower than his.… It caused me visual harm," Grenier said.
Significant visual impact? Visual harm? Jesus Christ, man, it's not like the rink is going to block out the sun all winter long. The few times you choose to look out the window—and really, what's happening outside your house when it's freezing out that's so important to gawk at?—you'll see a backyard rink instead of some bare trees or a house. Who cares?
Grenier went on to complain that the rink was too loud and could potentially lower his property, complaints which are almost as meritless as the one about "visual harm." Bossé says that play on the rink stops before 9:00 p.m., a responsible backyard rink-owner move. If the neighborhood kids aren't using the rink they'll be outside sledding, snowball fighting, and otherwise hollering up a storm, noises only marginally quieter than a puck hitting against the boards.
And lowering Grenier's property value? He's not even trying to sell his house, he just thinks the rink "would reduce the value of his home if he decided to sell it one day!" So Bossé can't build a rink because of a theoretical harm Grenier might one day suffer? Perhaps when the day comes when he wants to sell his house, Grenier could do what he should've done in the first place: talk to his goddamn neighbor instead of whining to the city. Don't like the view? Ask your neighbor to build the rink farther back on his property. Don't like the noise? Ask your neighbor to cease play at 8:00 p.m instead.
I went to college in Minnesota, and every winter the grounds staff would convert the "quad" into two ice rinks complete with boards, lights, and a warming hut. The ice was choppy, I suck at skating, and you never knew if townies or intramural broomball would be occupying the rinks. But just having a rink seconds away from where I lived was incredibly fun, and something I truly miss about Minnesota.
Don't take that away from some kids mean man, just go talk to your neighbor.
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