Coun. Ben Henderson is pushing to have the partially built City Hall skating rink finished. Built in the early 90s, cutbacks to trim the budget saw the sub-pipes installed below the fountain floor, however an ice plant was never installed to create artificial ice when the outdoor temperature is above zero.
“Thankfully they put the pipes in so they didn’t cut that bit of it but now they need some repair to be useful and I wouldn’t suggest going in and digging it up for that purpose but if we’re going in and digging it up anyway because we have to do other work, we might as well take a look at them.”
The City Hall plaza as well as Sir Winston Churchill Square are up for some renovations. The rose coloured paving tiles with the semi circle designs are due to be replaced because they’re not holding up after a couple of decades. Every year, 300 of them have to be replaced.
There are questions about raising 102A avenue, by the height of a curb, to make the plaza and Sir Winston Churchill Square all one continuous area. And Henderson said the skating rink pipes need to be looked at to see if they are in need of repair, in case they decide to add an ice plant.
“I don’t know what kind of shape they’re in, but if we’re doing work on the maintenance now anyway, now is the time to check and see if we can make it possible and then have a debate in the future whether or not we should be buying an ice plant so we can keep it frozen.”
Henderson is asking the question, because he’d like to see the skating rink season extended so it starts earlier in the fall, and can last longer into the spring. He’s frustrated that for several days during the winter, the rink has to be closed if the temperature gets too warm.
“It’s exactly the days when it is the most attractive to use it that we’ve been having to close it down. There’s a lot of those days now. Our winters have changed. You can’t use it if it’s slush.”
A final budget for the renovation is still being worked on, but will come to city council later this year.