The dream of a possible temporary outdoor skating rink at the old Vernon Civic Arena site is just that: a dream.
Council had asked staff to investigate putting in a temporary skating rink for the 2019-20 season at the 37th Avenue site while permanent site planning for a future park is in progress (land has been designated for park use in the official community plan, city centre neighbourhood plan and parks master plan).
In a report to council, long-range planner Daniel Sturgeon wrote that “administration has undertaken a high-level analysis for a temporary outdoor ice rink,” though a detailed costing exercise was not done due to limited staff resources and the detailed planning work involved in such a project.
“Temporary ice rinks require custom design and therefore custom pricing,” said Sturgeon, who added that initial and “extremely conservative” estimates for a one-year cost for a small rink, including installation and maintenance, would begin at $275,000.
“Given the lead time that would be required to design and install, it is likely unfeasible for the 2019-20 season,” he wrote.
Sturgeon said the actual cost of a small, temporary ice rink would quickly escalate from the estimate provided.
He gave examples that the Centennial Outdoor Rink at the Vernon Recreation Centre was refurbished in 2017 and that the boards, chain-link fencing and gates were replaced at a cost of $182,000, half of that covered by a federal grant, and did not include any costs associated with the concrete slab or refrigeration plan.
The construction of the outdoor Stuart Park ice rink in downtown Kelowna, with a concrete base but not including the refrigeration plan was $2 million in 2009 dollars. That same year, the Robson Square ice rink in Vancouver was expanded by 37 feet. That and a cooling system upgrade in 2009 cost $2 million.
“I know people have been asking for something along that line and as much as I appreciate it, I do agree with administration on this one,” said Coun. Kari Gares. “The cost is just too great for us to consider at this time.”
Gares gave Coun. Dalvir Nahal props for bringing up the idea in the first place. Her sentiment was echoed by Coun. Scott Anderson.
“It’s a great idea, I just don’t think our climate is able to support it. It’s just not cold enough to do it,” said Anderson.
Nahal joked if she won the lottery, she’d pay for it herself.
There are existing outdoor skating rinks at the rec centre, Lavington and SilverStar Mountain Resort.