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Cornwall Family's Hockey Rink Torn Down At City's Order

01/07/2015 07:12 EST | Updated 01/07/2015 07:59 EST

A Cornwall, Ontario family has had to take down a popular home hockey rink at the city's order.

But as the city tells it, the structure broke an important bylaw.

On Monday night, Laura Vincent and her spouse Brian took down a rink they had built on their front lawn for their kids and neighbours to use, Metro News reported.

Vincent told the newspaper that the neighbourhood children are "heartbroken" that it had to be removed. No other outdoor rinks run by the city are currently open, and the rink was the scene of a daily game for kids of all ages.

"They use it every day," she said. "Even in the -20 (degrees Celsius) weather they are out there right after school until about 8 p.m."

The family was told in December they had to remove some wooden boards on the rink that intruded on a city right-of-way and broke a road allowance bylaw by Jan. 5, QMI Agency said.

Vincent hoped the family would have time to obtain an exemption, as the city was closed over the holidays. But city employees arrived Monday to begin removing the structure.

Vincent said their family is considering moving out of the city, despite having lived there for 14 years.

In December, the city had put out a press release asking for volunteers to help maintain Cornwall's outdoor rinks this winter, stating "We are hoping some residents will step up to the plate and help us maintain this popular winter program.”

Cornwall Mayor Leslie O'Shaunghnessy told CTV News that the Vincent family's rink's boards encroached on land that could have had gas, electrical or phone lines in them.

“This has nothing to do with the rink or the kids having fun, this is a public safety issue,” he said. “If we condone it, where are we headed?”

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