A bid for an outdoor skating rink in downtown 100 Mile this winter is gaining traction.
The South Cariboo Joint Committee of the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) has asked staff to provide more information on the project, including potentially installing it at the tennis courts at the former 100 Mile Jr. High School.
Staff is anticipated to come back with answers to the next meeting on Oct. 15.
100 Mile House minor hockey mom Nadaya McNeil, who pitched the project on behalf of the community, and her friend Jennifer Frizzi say the tennis courts would be a good a contender for the outdoor rink because they’re large, fenced and overlooked by the school parking lot.
“For me, with my little kids, I don’t always want to skate,” McNeil said on a recent tour of the site. “I can sit in my truck and drink coffee and watch them. I’d just love to see this kind of stuff around here.”
Al Richmond, CRD area director for 108 Mile-Lac Lac Hache, said the tennis courts would be an ideal spot for a rink because it’s level and away from traffic but there are still a lot of issues to be worked out, including whether the School District 27 would even give them permission to use it.
The District of 100 Mile has sent a letter to SD 27 regarding the installation of an outdoor rink at the school, but no decision has yet been reached, said Carrie Pratt, SD27’s manager of communications.
“Everyone was supportive of this and now we’re just going to see if we can make it happen,” Richmond said, but added it’s a big endeavour. “I think people have forgotten how much work it is to keep an outdoor rink when it snows.”
100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall agreed, noting the rink would have to be a joint project, and maintained by the public as the District doesn’t have the staff or the equipment to clear the ice on a regular basis. He said it could be a good amenity, similar to the other outdoor rinks in Forest Grove and other areas, where the people put in the ice and clear it regularly.
“Most of the people using the rink will be from the whole South Cariboo, not just the district,” he said. “I think it’s a good idea and if there’s a way to make it work, we’re going to try.”
McNeil envisions a space similar to the rink on the 103 Mile Pond, maintained by a private individual, which has “brought so much enjoyment to that small community … It was inspiring, seeing first hand how much use the rink gets, and how much fun the kids have on it.”
She said she is excited to see the CRD on board, and hopes someone will step up to provide snow removal and maintenance of the rink.
”Our town would greatly benefit from, and welcome, more family-oriented recreational facilities and events,” she said. “We feel that an outdoor skating rink is a lower cost, lower maintenance amenity that our community could offer to people of all ages.”