Ice oval to return to Lobies Park for another season

·3 min read

BROCKTON – “With the weather’s co-operation, there will be ice,” said Mark Coleman, director of community services.

Other than the weather, there are no barriers to continuing the outdoor skating oval at Lobies Park in 2022, and council has given its go-ahead.

The initiative, funded by Bruce Power, began in the winter of 2020-21 to provide a form of safe winter recreation during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, when indoor facilities were closed.

The 350-metre outdoor skating oval on the road loop in the Lobies Park campground opened in late January and operated throughout February when weather permitted. It proved to be very popular, with over 2,623 users in all age groups, and got a great response from the community.

The staff report proposed a $2 public skating fee, admission by donation or seeking a sponsor to help offset costs of flooding and maintaining the ice trail, in the amount of $1,500. There are no capital equipment costs anticipated for this year. Bruce Power’s donation last year paid for upgrading the gatehouse, flooding equipment setup and signage.

The general consensus among council was that the municipality should just open up the ice oval and not charge a fee.

“I would like to see more no-charge recreation,” said Coun. Steve Adams.

Coun. Kym Hutcheon commented on how thrilled she was to see the return of the ice oval.

“I’ve purchased skates and will be using it,” she said.

Municipality seeks grant

Council authorized staff to apply for a New Horizons for Seniors program grant to fund replacement of Cargill Lawn Bowling Club equipment.

The municipality entered into an agreement with the club for operating the greens as a municipal facility.

One problem is that the maintenance equipment is in generally poor condition, with some items so old that parts can no longer be obtained for repairs. And some smaller pieces of power equipment were stolen in a break-in to the storage shed.

Coleman explained to council that there’s more involved that just cutting the grass. To bring the greens up to lawn bowling standards, specialized equipment and a lot of work are needed. The New Horizons grant would assist with the equipment.

The application for up to $25,000 would be for the purchase of a greens thatcher, greens reel mower, walk-behind aerator, lawn tractor, thatch/leaf sweeper and lawn roller.

He anticipates the greens would be “up to the condition they should be in” by 2023.

Rebate requested

Some businesses that purchase arena panel advertising regard it as a donation to recreation, a way of showing community support. And some regard it as advertising.

There have been requests from businesses in the latter category for rebates of a percentage of fees since the arena was closed for a substantial portion of the year due to COVID.

There was a suggestion that some advertisers may prefer to simply extend their contract. However, a motion to offer a 20 per cent rebate carried.

Fog in the arena

A combination of unusually warm weather and a breakdown of the arena dehumidifier resulted in the glass becoming completely fogged, and droplets of water falling on the ice and spectators during a recent Hawks game.

Most arenas have two dehumidifiers, but Walkerton’s has only one.

As of the Dec. 14 meeting of Brockton council, staff were looking for vendors who had a replacement unit in stock.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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