Penticton could have an outdoor skating rink next winter - InfoNews

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Penticton could have an outdoor skating rink next winter

A proposal to build an outdoor skating rink to the south of the Gyro Park bandshell, left in photo, was enthusiastically received by Penticton city council.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
December 17, 2019 - 2:38 PM

A proposal put before Penticton city council this afternoon could have Penticton residents skating outdoors on a rink at Gyro Park by next Christmas.

Penticton resident Drew Barnes made a presentation at this afternoon’s, Dec. 17, council meeting with a proposal to form a society to build an outdoor skating rink adjacent to Gyro Park to be open for use by next December.

In discussions with a local businessman who Barnes said had experience building outdoor rinks throughout the world, it was decided the best way forward was to form a society and take financial and legal burdens off the city.

Barnes said the idea had been previously floated 10 years ago with the idea of placing the rink in Gyro Park at that time as well.

“Other municipalities are doing this and doing quite well,” he said, noting Vernon’s outdoor rink drew 15,000 visitors annually, while Kelowna’s rink attracted users from Penticton and beyond.

The proposal would see a 40x14 metre, fully refrigerated ice sheet on a parking lot adjacent to the Gyro Park bandshell, which would operate from December until February. The half NHL-sized rink would stay frozen up to an outdoor temperature of 10 Celsius and would have heated washrooms nearby, along with lighting for night time use.

Barnes estimated the City could see an additional $7,000 to $15,000 in additional revenue generated by skaters using downtown parking and other amenities.

He told councillors the timeline would see the society formed this month with a final design ready by spring.

Summer construction would follow with the rink expected to be operational by December 2020.

He said the estimated $450,000 construction cost has already been committed in donations. The $40,000 annual projected operating cost would be collected in usage fees.

Council was enthusiastic about the proposal.

“This is a good analysis, like a business plan,” Mayor John Vassilaki said.

"There is a wonderful example in Kelowna, it’s packed summer and winter. I am excited for this opportunity,” Coun. Judy Sentes said.

My hopes are we can be as successful as Kelowna. I know people that drive to Kelowna to use theirs,” Coun. Campbell Watt said.

Barnes will be returning to council in spring to make a formal request for a license to operate and to make a request for washroom use.


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