Sundridge Strong Joly taking out arena ice

·2 min read

The ice skating season is over in the Sundridge region.

In the words of Sundridge Coun. Steve Rawn, the ice in the Sundridge Strong Joly Arena is coming out “immediately.”

The decision at an arena board meeting after the province announced further lockdown measures, which include arenas as it continues to fight COVID-19 outbreak numbers.

Rawn says the original hope was the arena could be used by residents of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit area once the province's previous two-week lockdown of Northern Ontario ended.

But Rawn says the board voted to remove the ice after the province invoked the stay-at-home order.

Rawn says the latest lockdown would take the arena situation well into February and that's getting closer to the end of the regular ice season.

In a statement, Rawn said “this last extension would be too long to keep the ice sitting and not be used.”

In neighbouring Magnetawan, it's a different story.

Although the lockdown has closed the community's outdoor skating rink, Mayor Sam Dunnett says it will reopen once the order ends.

“We had people using it for public skating and they were in groups of no more than five people,” he says.

The local Lions club was instrumental in creating the covered outdoor rink, which is appropriately named Lion's Pavilion.

Dunnett doesn't know for certain how long the latest lockdown will last since the province could change the length at any time.

And while this reason alone is enough for other communities to end the ice skating season, Dunnett says “we're not taking out our ice.

“We'll continue to maintain it,” he says.

Dunnett says the outdoor nature of the Magnetawan rink makes it easier to maintain compared to the indoor arena ice in surrounding towns.

If COVID outbreak numbers can fall low enough, Dunnett believes the province “can start opening stuff back up a little like ice-skating rinks.

“And if it does re-open, people can come out and enjoy themselves,” he says. “There will still be no hockey, but they can get some exercise.”

Dunnett says the municipality will continue to maintain the outdoor ice until warmer spring temperatures arrive.

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