Warm weather stalls opening of new outdoor rink in Charlottetown

·2 min read

Despite having high hopes for pre-Christmas skating, plans to open Charlottetown's newest outdoor rink this weekend have been put on ice.

City staff have been preparing to open the new rink, one of 12 outdoor rinks slated to open this winter, in Bomber Callaghan Park on Patterson Drive in Charlottetown.

The weather, however, had other ideas.

On Friday, "things started warming up, the ice got soft," said Coun. Terry Bernard, who chairs the Charlottetown's parks, recreation and leisure committee.

"We didn't want to risk, one, cutting the liner, and two, the ice really is not safe. It's still choppy. And so it is best to just leave it for this weekend and see what happens next week."

If we had one more [cold] day, we probably could have had the ice thick enough and hard enough to have the kids on it for the weekend.

- Councillor Terry Bernard

The rink, recently named Gordie Griffin Rink after a community volunteer, has a new type of plastic liner which contains the water, making it easier to adapt to thawing and freezing temperatures.

The weather on P.E.I. is not looking great for ice skating in the next few days, either, with rain and warm temperatures forecasted.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

Bernard said those warm temperatures will likely thaw the top layer of ice on the rink.

"Now we do have a good base, so we'll see how the base holds up," said Bernard.

"I believe there are two and a half to three inches of ice there now. So, you know, if we have to lose half of that, we still have an inch of base and we still have a good base when the weather turns."

If the ice does fully thaw, the water will still be held in by the new liner, added Bernard.

People in the neighbourhood are itching for a skate

The rink was constructed last summer and Bernard said people living nearby are excited to see it open.

"Yeah, there's a lot of talk, a lot of people going up to check on the rink," he said. "It's a beautiful facility.

"Outdoor rinks seem to attract a lot of people, they have a lot of fun. It's been one of those years...there hasn't been a lot we're able to do."

He said staff gave a "valiant effort" to try to get the rink up and running for this weekend, but now there's no way of knowing exactly when it will open.

"It's all weather dependent right now, of course," said Bernard.