Four outdoor rinks for winter

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo After recent renovations, the outdoor rink in 553 has a newer look.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
After recent renovations, the outdoor rink in 553 has a newer look.

The town will likely have four outdoor rinks for the coming winter to fill in while the recreation centre is being rebuilt.

That’s according to an Oct. 24 update for town council delivered by Gloria Murdock-Smith, the town’s senior administrative officer.

She said the plans are for rinks in 553, Old Town, near the fire hall and on the Ashton property, which is just off Highway 2 on the south side of the community.

Deputy mayor Donna Lee Jungkind asked when upgrades to the two existing outdoor rinks would be completed.

Murdock-Smith said renovations were underway to those rinks in 553 and Old Town, including repainting the boards, and were expected to be completed by the end of October.

“And so we’re working hard on that,” she said.

The SAO said the outdoor rink in 553 will be the prime one and the town is focusing on upgrading that with additional lighting and a heated dressing area and washroom.

Noting her understanding is that not all four of the outdoor rinks will have boards, Jungkind asked, “So which ones will have boards?”

Murdock-Smith responded that the still-to-be erected rink on the Ashton property may have boards but the ice surface near the fire hall will not have boards. It will be surrounded by snow banks.

The senior administrative officer said all the rinks will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and that has been approved by user groups.

“They’re OK with that,” she told council.

In speaking to The Hub later last week, Murdock-Smith said user groups told the town a couple of weeks ago that they are not going to schedule activities on the rinks because they don’t believe that they’re going to use them very much.

“That’s what we’ve heard,” she said. “So therefore there is no use doing a schedule, and they said it’s OK for us just to allow it whenever anybody phones.”

That means the ice surfaces can be reserved for certain activities by whoever first calls the town.

Murdock-Smith expects the outdoor rink in 553 will be the one used most for things like organized hockey games because that rink will be maintained the most.

The administrator said, once the improvements are made and the temporary surfaces are prepared, it is just a matter of waiting for the weather to turn cold so they can be flooded.

She said the final decision on the rinks will be made by council at its Nov. 7 meeting.

That will include whether there will be boards around the Ashton property ice surface.

“We will decide whether we use those boards or not out there,” she said. “There’s a bit of a question mark as to that. I would like to see them used because we had extra.”

Murdock-Smith said user groups and the recreation committee would also like to see a rink with boards on the south side of the community.

On Oct. 24, she also provided council with a brief update on the reconstruction of the Don Stewart Recreation Centre.

“As our town knows, there’s been a bit of a change on site. We are starting to dig foundations,” she said. “The foundation work started two weeks ago. You can see the square being formed.”

Clark Builders, the main contractor on the project, has also reported that its most recent estimate is that a new recreation complex will be substantially complete by Dec. 12, 2017, which is five days ahead of the requirements in the request for proposals.

It is also about two weeks earlier than the previous estimated date for substantial completion.

–Paul Bickford