After a successful trial run operating an outdoor ice rink in Katrine, Armour Township council is taking the plunge and creating a permanent outdoor facility.
Armour Coun. Rod Ward says the permanent outdoor rink will be built next to the Katrine Community Centre and be used as a basketball court in the non-winter months.
In 2020, Armour council used the parking lot at Doe Lake Park as the site for a temporary outdoor rink and Ward says even though it was in operation for only a few weeks, it was well received.
Ward says the park isn't used over the winter and is why council chose it as a temporary site.
Council also rented hockey boards to frame the ice surface.
The only reason the outdoor site wasn't open for a longer period last year was because of COVID-19.
“It went really well, the ice was beautiful and it was a great location,” Ward said.
“But COVID restrictions later were the problem, because we were limited on the number of people who could be on the ice at one time.”
Ward says since it would have been difficult for the municipality to monitor the number of people on the ice, the decision was made to close the outdoor rink.
“But it was really successful in that short time” he said.
“The local community loved and raved about it, so after testing out the temporary site, we decided to do something a little more permanent.”
The initiative led to creating the permanent site by the community centre at a cost of $150,000.
Ward says the federal government covered $100,000 of the total cost under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, a joint initiative being done in partnership with the provinces and territories. He believes Armour's application for the funds succeeded because the facility can be used year-round due to the basketball court.
Additionally, the court includes hoops at both ends.
Ward says when complete, the rink will cover an area 100 feet by 50 feet in size and include lights for nighttime play.
Although not confirmed yet, Ward says the facility also may have room for a tennis court.
Work began last week on creating the outdoor rink. The local firm Black Creek Homes was awarded a contract to lay down the concrete pad that will support both the ice surface and basketball court.
The first leg of the work involved grading the land and laying down the earth to support the infrastructure that's to come.
Ward says a separate tender will look for a supplier to provide the rink's boards on a permanent basis.
He adds although the project is budgeted at $150,000, the municipality may exceed that dollar figure by a small amount.
Ward says the expectation is to have the outdoor rink ready for use this winter.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget