After four years without a local skating rink, residents of Irricana celebrated the re-flooding of their outdoor facility at a grand opening celebration Jan. 6. According to Tawnia Cardinal-Butler, community services co-ordinator and acting CAO with the Town of Irricana, the event was a great way for the community to kick off the new year.
“There was a bit of staff turnaround here and the rink kind of got put on the back burner for a bit,” Cardinale-Butler said. “We made it our mission this year to get it up and running in time for the 2018 winter season.”
The warm weather throughout much of the month of December 2017 presented a slight challenge, Cardinale-Butler said, but teamwork and collaboration eventually made the project a success. According to Cardinale-Butler, Town staff worked with council and with the community to get the site ready for Omni Sports to come in and finish the job.
“It was really great to see everyone coming together to work on this project and get it done in time,” she said. “It cooled down just in time for us to get the ice flooded and ready to go for the grand opening.”
The event was attended by nearly 40 people, said Cardinale-Butler, including families who came out to enjoy a nice afternoon of public skating with their kids. A ribbon-cutting kicked off the festivities, which included a food truck, coffee and tea, and desserts.
“It was really beautiful weather that day, and it was so good to see families showing off their pride about this new amenity – people brought chairs and taught their kids how to skate,” Cardinale-Butler said.
“I think it was fun for all of us – recreation is such an important aspect of community, and skating is a big part of our heritage here in Canada.”
Now that the facility is open, Cardinale-Butler said lights will stay on each night until 11 p.m. Lines will also be painted on the ice, she added, turning it into a hockey arena for anyone who wants to play a game of three-on-three. The Town is also working on a set of policies and procedures that will ensure the rink is properly maintained – but Cardinale-Butler said it’s obvious the rink is already a hit.
“You can actually hear pucks hitting the board from across town, which is really cool,” she said.
“I’m sure it will improve the quality of life of the people of Irricana, and it’s the start of many more good things to come, I think, this year.”