Earlton arena not installing ice this winter

·2 min read

EARLTON – Skaters will have to lace up elsewhere in Earlton this year.

Armstrong Township council agreed to not have ice installed this winter at the Earlton Recreation Centre.

Options were discussed and the decision was agreed upon at council’s regular meeting November 25.

Mayor Jean Marc Boileau asked council what they wanted to do in terms of having the ice installed or not.

He commented that the town could create an outdoor ice rink outside of the Recreation Centre, but users still would need to come inside the building to put on their skates or use the washrooms.

“We have washrooms here but then you also have the gym-goers on the other side,” he said.

Issues also were raised that if the ice was installed, the town would have to monitor the number of users in the change rooms and building to remain in line with COVID-19 protocols.

Councillor Kevin Léveillé noted that Earlton’s winter festival isn’t happening this winter and Boileau said that École catholique Assomption had told him that its students wouldn’t be skating at the arena this school year.

Councillor Michèle Rivard commented that the Englehart and Area Community Arena Complex has its ice installed and that if Earlton didn’t put its ice in that “it sucks that we wouldn’t have ours open, but at least the kids could still do public skating and they would have to go there.”

Councillor Matt Golcic said that he didn’t feel Earlton’s arena numbers were all that high anyway and wondered what they were last season.

Boileau responded that the arena had about 342 users last winter and part of those numbers were children who would come over with the school, but also that it didn’t happen very often.

“Last year was a bad year,” he noted. “I don’t know why.”

Council then asked acting public works foreman Caleb Fotheringham what his thoughts were on having ice installed or not so that they could come to a consensus on a decision.

Fotheringham said that with no school users or other events happening this winter that he would recommend that the town doesn’t have ice this year at the arena.

“If you want to have ice, I’m sure we can make it work, but I would recommend (that we have) no ice.”

Council agreed and approved a motion for an ice-free arena this season.

Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker