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Brock council to look at outdoor ice rink project for the next winter season

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

BROCK: The Township of Brock is pushing an outdoor ice rink project to the next winter season.

At a recent Brock council meeting, councillors saw a report regarding outdoor skating rinks. This report followed a request from Regional Councillor Ted Smith in early January to create an outdoor ice-skating surface at the Sunderland Fairgrounds.

“There is a natural low-lying area in front of the grandstands at the Sunderland Fairgrounds. The area would need to be graded and have some side support to be able to flood the area for more space and better ice for skating. The main challenge facing staff would be obtaining an adequate water supply, as water to the area is currently shut off for the season. Other challenges would involve staffing for an outdoor rink with the uncertainty of the reopening dates for the arenas. In addition, it would be beneficial to include local volunteer organizations in discussions and incorporate their involvement, if at all possible,” the report, written by Public Works Director Paul Lagrandeur, concluded.

After seeing the report, the Regional Councillor made a motion to forward the report to the Township’s budget discussions “to determine the feasibility of an operating plan for outdoor ice rinks beginning in 2022-2023.” As well, the motion requested “an Ad-hoc Committee of Council be developed with resident stakeholders, that will provide an opportunity to have volunteers maintain the ice.”

“I’ll admit, this has [become] much more complicated than I hoped it would. I guess I have to say I understand why, but we all know liability insurance pretty well rules the world when it comes to municipal politics. So, we have to do everything the right way and make sure everyone is going to be safe,” Councillor Smith said. “I doubt very much if there could be one established successfully this year. I’d like to be proven wrong on that, but I think that’s certainly the case.”

The Regional Councillor added this motion would help the Township “gauge the interest” from the community in this project.

Ward 4 Councillor Cria Pettingill explained this is a way of getting this project started, at least.

“Why not get the ball rolling this year,” she said.

However, Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble felt the council was “making it more complicated than it needs to be.”

Regional Councillor Smith’s motion was later approved by the council.

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