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Outdoor skating rink options discussed in Vernon

Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail, Toronto
Image Credit: City of Vernon
May 09, 2021 - 12:00 PM

Vernon city council is looking at installing an outdoor skating rink and everything from a permanent ice surface to some synthetic ice is up for discussion. 

At a regular meeting this winter, council directed city staff to identify a location with available utilities. Polson Park is considered the favourite location, though others are on the table.

Staff are recommending three options: a permanent skating rink, a temporary removable skating rink, or a synthetic ice skating rink.

READ MORE: Vernon councillor proposes outdoor skating rink for Polson Park

The first option, a refrigerated, stand-alone rink will cost between $1.2 to $1.5 million and would cost roughly $50,000 to 75,000 per year in repairs and maintenance. City staff note this option is the most expensive and “logistically challenging to have a standalone location for the rink.”

A refrigerant system would also be necessary as Vernon’s average daily temperatures are between 0 and -5 C. A minimum and consistent outdoor temperature of -5 C is necessary for natural ice, according to the report, which will be presented at council’s regular meeting, May 10.

A refrigerated rink at the Kin Race Track will cost between $790,000 to $990,000 and could be either a traditional surface or skating trail. A tennis court version would cost $105,000 or a temporary refrigerated rink would cost between $470,000 to $490,000.

A synthetic ice surface would cost $250,000 to $300,000 and only require a few hours a day for maintenance, according to the city documents.

“Natural ice has not been included at this time due to the unreliability of continuously cold weather during the skating season,” according to the report that will be presented at a regular council meeting, Monday, May 10.

There are pros and cons to each option, according to the report.

"Temporary skating rinks offer flexibility and are easier to locate, but would require as much maintenance and staffing as the permanent ones and require set up, take down and summer storage. They do allow the use of places that may be underutilized in the winter.

The synthetic ice surface would allow year round skating and requires limited maintenance and equipment. This is a newer idea but has been used by communities in large centres.“

City staff ask that council provide further direction on which option to explore so they can bring back a report for more detailed costs, location recommendations and sources of funding.


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