Billings council approves purchase of professional boards for outside rink

Youngsters and adults alike have been enjoying the use of an outdoor skating rink in Kagawong this winter.

KAGAWONG – Billings township council is in support of purchasing professional rink boards for the outdoor rink as recommended by the township parks, recreation and wellness (PRW) committee.

At a Billings council meeting last week, Councillor Sharon Jackson provided a report from the June 28 meeting of the PRW committee. “The primary focus for discussion was the outdoor rink. Public works crew removed the wooden beams around the perimeter of the rink, along with the bleachers and steps due to their deteriorating condition several weeks ago. Due to the ongoing construction taking place for the Main Street Hill project, most other work has been on hold until their crew is able to make the space available for us again.”

“Tiana (Mills, deputy clerk) provided an estimate from a Quebec-based company for rink boards including installation which came in at around $53,000,” said Councillor Jackson. “This committee had made a request to council to include $40,000 in its draft budget for this material. The request was accepted, however the budget has not yet been presented to council for approval. The difference between the approved amount and the estimate is one that would have to be potentially covered through fundraising efforts of the committee. Donations from business and private individuals are welcome. Donations received to date are $3,325.”

A recommendation had been made by the committee for council authorizing the purchase of the professional rink boards from Permafib including delivery and installation at a cost of $53,444.54.

“I highly recommend we do this,” stated Councillor Sharon Alkenbrack. “This is a really nice rink, and we need to make it as functional as possible so we are not always trying to move it (to another location). And it is another activity being provided for kids and families. We have a diverse community so not everyone uses the rink, but there is a lot that do, it is important.”  

“We have the opportunity for a skating rink that will be safe and last for a number of years,” said Councillor Jackson. She noted the pandemic had an effect on everyone, but the outdoor skating rink helped bring the community together. “I would support the recommendation.” 

Councillor Hunt said that he agreed with both Councillors Alkenbrack and Jackson. “It is a very good project for the community. And there is an opportunity to use the rink space for a lot of multi-purpose activities, especially in the summer. It’s a very good project.” 

Councillor Bryan Barker noted that council has two options. Purchase professional boards or contract someone to build the boards. “I prefer buying professional boards as  they will provide for a better quality product and one that will last.”

“I have supported the restoration of the outdoor ice pad from the beginning, and everything being proposed is exciting,” stated Councillor Barker. 

As for the timeline for the delivery of the professional boards, Councillor Jackson said delivery of the boards is expected to take between four to eight weeks.

Council  unanimously passed a motion in favour of purchasing the professional boards. 

Economic Development Officer Todd Gordon, in a memo to council explained, at a PRW committee meeting held February 22, three recommendations had been brought to council, one of which was to include $40,000 in the draft budget for rink repairs. The recommendation was also presented with the note that the committee feels that they can raise over $10,000 in donations for the rink project. As per the motion presented by the PRW council passed the following resolution at the March 2, 2021 regular  council meeting, “be it resolved that council instructs staff to include $40,000 in the draft 2021 budget for rink repairs.”

The public works department was able to remove the existing boards, player benches and stairs. The player benches and stairs were not in the plans to be removed but due to some advanced decay, they had to be removed for safety reasons. The replacement costs of these were not included in the initial ask to council for the $40,000 for repairs.

Randy Noble Construction is to begin work on the retaining wall at the far end of the rink in the upcoming weeks. To date, staff has received $3,325 in donations for the outdoor rink. The committee has been and will continue to seek donations for the outdoor rink.