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Ice rink project shelved as residents cautioned about ice safety

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

SCUGOG: Scugog has decided to postpone their Lake Scugog ice rink project due to unsafe ice conditions and the current COVID-19 situation in Ontario. At a meeting on Monday, January 18th, Ward 1 Councillor Ian McDougall provided an update on the plans to create a large oval rink on the local lake, “Staff, prior to the Christmas break, met and looked at possibilities in terms of what would be required for that in terms of insurance and other protocols,” he explained. “We were going to look at endeavoring to do this, and this is a far different world now than when I first put that motion forward.” At the final council meeting of December 2020, councillors had voted to approve a motion to have the township “endeavour, with community partners, to restore the ice-skating oval, similar to the Ice Palace of years ago, to [the] Port Perry waterfront for the 2021 winter season.” Councillor McDougall said there was “a lot of community interest” in this project, but stated “perhaps, this will be something we will be looking into for next winter, if that sounds okay for everyone.” Ward 5 Councillor Lance Brown shared councillors “hate to disappoint” those who were interested in the project, but the township has to “be prudent and [they] have to be careful to dot our I’s and cross our T’s.” Mayor Bobbie Drew clarified the situation, stating this had to do mostly with ice quality, “The ice is not safe yet for the Zamboni to go on the ice.” Scugog Fire Chief Mark Berney cautioned people against going on outdoor ice surfaces in the township, “This past weekend, emergency services responded to two ice water events. Friday evening, three kids went through the ice on a pond. Fortunately, they were able to self-rescue, and make it to safety. Yesterday, firefighters along with paramedics and police searched extensively for what was believed to have been a snowmobile through the ice. I can’t stress enough how uncharacteristic ice conditions are on the lakes, ponds, stormwater management ponds and waterways across Southern Ontario, and more specifically Scugog,” he said. “This past weekend’s events are perhaps a warning to all. No ice is safe ice.”

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