Game over for skaters at rink on Barrhaven golf course

·2 min read
Game over for skaters at rink on Barrhaven golf course

Some Barrhaven residents say they're disappointed to learn they can no longer skate on an impromptu rink at a local golf course.

Natalie Albrough said her family started skating on the frozen stormwater pond at Stonebridge Golf Club only after her husband tested the ice thickness with his drill. Other neighbours soon followed, she said.

"People were social distancing. It's a big pond, so people were shovelling their own little area and ... skating or playing a little bit of a hockey game," Albrough said.

They've been on that rink from morning till dusk every single day. With COVID here, they can't play hockey. - Natalie Albrough, Stonebridge resident

Citing safety concerns, golf course owner Mattamy Homes has erected no trespassing signs to keep skaters away. Residents said they first noticed the signs Monday morning.

In an emailed statement, the company said it took those steps to "help ensure safety, as the unstable ice conditions and deep waters can be extremely hazardous."

In recent years, Mattamy Homes brought forward a series of controversial plans to redevelop part of the golf course.

In 2019, local residents voted to pay a levy to preserve the golf course and stave off further development.

Councillor asks for patience

Albrough said while she appreciates Mattamy's concern, she wishes the company would allow people to skate at their own risk. She said her sons are devastated by the closure, especially since the pandemic has taken away so many other options for fun and recreation.

"They've been on that rink from morning till dusk every single day. With COVID here, they can't play hockey," she said. "There's nothing for them to do."

Coun. Carol Anne Meehan, who represents the area, said she understands the frustration people are feeling, but said stormwater ponds aren't meant for skating and can be unpredictable due to water flowing under the ice surface.

"You can check the ice one minute and maybe an hour later the ice has changed," Meehan said. "So with that moving water, it presents a danger."

Meehan urged residents to stay off the pond, noting it's on private property. She said if the weather cooperates, there should soon be more options for skating.

"The community rinks hopefully will be open this weekend, and then [people] will have a good, safe place to skate," she said.