Public outdoor skating is just days away in Powassan.
Mayor Peter McIsaac says the fire department has been flooding the ball diamond area by the Sportsplex the past several days and the facility will soon be ready.
Although the mayor can’t give a specific date, as long as temperatures remain on the cold side it won’t be long before skaters can take to the ice.
This year the department is creating two ice surfaces to accommodate differing needs; one for hockey and the other for public skating, McIsaac says. A maximum of 10 people are allowed on each surface in an effort to maintain social distancing.
In the past, McIsaac says, the outdoor facility has been well utilized by both adults and children. There is no charge to skate on the rinks. Public works will sometimes clear the ice surface after a snowfall, but it’s not uncommon to see kids remove the snow when they want to skate.
“I know when I was a kid that’s what we used to do," McIsaac said. “You’d shovel off the snow and then play hockey with your friends.”
McIsaac believes masks likely won’t be necessary since the activity is outdoors and maximum limits will be observed.
Skating is one of several winter activities the municipality has on the go. At the Trout Creek Community Centre a booster club is being formed to accommodate public skating. The club gets to enjoy a reduced rate for the ice rental.
McIsaac says the booster club will run the public skating and the number of skaters who can use the ice will be limited.
“It’s also going to be by appointment,” he said. “You’ll need to sign up and will have to wear a mask.”
The booster club will record contact information.
“This is for everyone, so if something was to happen, we can trace everyone who was in the building,” he said.
However, with a provincial lockdown coming into effect Saturday, the Trout Creek Community Centre will be closed from Christmas Day through Jan. 11. The shutdown at the Sportsplex is now in effect and also will continue to Jan. 11.
Public skating opportunities are expected to resume once the provincial order expires. However, McIsaac wants the public to realize that skating opportunities at the Sportsplex are limited because evenings and weekends are booked at the facility for activities such as hockey. But McIsaac says the Sportsplex rink doesn’t see as much use during the day.
“Also the (ice time) is a lot cheaper during the days because there’s not much demand Monday to Friday,” McIsaac says. “On these days we rent out at a discounted rate just to keep people on the ice so we can get cost recovery for having the ice in.”
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