Council agrees planning should be considered for outdoor ice rink

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MINDEMOYA – The concept of having an outdoor skating rink in Mindemoya this winter may not be a dead issue after all. 

Central Manitoulin Councillor Angela Johnston noted at a municipal finance and economic development committee meeting last week that the proposal for an outdoor skating rink at the ballfield in Mindemoya was on the agenda. “I like the idea, but I’m worried it may have come forward too late for this year, but now that winter is here it may stay here forever,” she said. “And I don’t know about using the ballfield, the rink may do damage to it. It might be nice to have this (rink) at the Providence Bay fairgrounds.”  

“It’s a good idea, but with the rain coming down tonight, this may not be the year to do anything,” said Mayor Richard Stephens. 

It was noted by Councillor Rose Diebolt the Township of Billings has an outdoor rink in place beside the Park Centre in Kagawong that is run by volunteers, with the local fire department doing a lot of the work. 

Marcus Mohr, community development/outreach co-ordinator for the municipality said, “I’m sure we could find volunteers to do this work on the rink, and our insurance (company) has no problem with this as long as the volunteers are trained.” He pointed out it would cost the municipality $270 per year for insurance.

Councillor Rose Diebolt said, “in looking at the long-range weather forecast, there is supposed to be a polar vortex coming in, so maybe it would be a good idea to actually start this rink this year, and if we get warm weather and it melts the rink, at least we would be ready for next year.” 

“It’s a good idea, and I would support the proposal if we get a strong volunteer group together to do this,” said Councillor Steve Shaffer. “I’d like to see this go ahead this year, as long as the volunteers are there.” 

“We would need to have a serious conversation with the people that put the ballfield in,” said Mayor Richard Stephens. 

“Greg (Lockeyer) is okay with the idea, but if there are any problems with damage to the field, he hoped the municipality would step in and fix anything that needs to be done,” said Councillor Johnston.

The committee put forward a motion to council to have Mr. Mohr pursue the idea of using the Mindemoya ballfield for an outdoor rink, using community volunteers and internal equipment.

The idea had been raised earlier this month by local resident Maja Mielonen, who proposed having an outdoor ice rink for skating and hockey, linear skating track, groomed cross-country ski trail and skate ski strip in the future, and helping to set up a committee to look at this. However, council did not support having this being established in an area on Lake Mindemoya for this year.