100 Mile House’s Outdoor Skating Rink has returned for a third season.
Nadaya McNeil, founding director of the 100 Mile Outdoor Rink Society, said the boards have been installed and flooding the rink is underway. If all goes well the rink should be open for the public to use by the end of November.
“We’re really excited to go ahead this year,” McNeil said. “We’re getting some good weather for flooding and freezing and everyone can stay tuned to our Facebook page for opening information. As always that’s just weather dependent and we’re going to take it day by day.”
McNeil said the rink almost didn’t happen this season. For the last two years, she and her father John McNeil have been the driving force behind the rink. Together they constructed the rink lining, founded the society and purchased a Zamboni for maintenance.
Throughout this project, McNeil and John wanted to work towards building a permanent facility and felt that support from the District of 100 Mile House and other local governments was lacking. With her father wanting to winter in Arizona this year McNeil said she approached the District in September to let them know they wouldn’t be running the rink this year.
“We were both pretty disappointed about that but it wasn’t going where we were hoping it was going to go and it’s a lot of work, especially for my dad. He does enjoy it but usually he goes away during the wintertime and he spent all winter last year working on that rink,” McNeil said.
When Mayor Maureen Pinkney heard the news McNeil said she contacted her immediately to ask them not to give up. The two met and worked out a solution that would allow the rink to keep going with new support.
Pinkney said the rink has been extremely well used by the community and she didn’t want to see it come to an end so abruptly.
“It’s such a fantastic place for kids to go whenever they can because not everyone’s schedule works around the availability of the (South Cariboo Rec Centre),” Pinkney said. “With new people stepping forward we’ll be able to keep it going for a year or two until we can hopefully get the permanent facility we really need.”
After confirming with School District 27 they could use the 100 Mile Junior Secondary School site’s old tennis court again, McNeil said Pinkney brought on Bill Harris and Wally Bramsleven to help run and maintain the rink. After John helped them construct the perimeter last week she said Harris took over responsibility for flooding the rink.
“Maureen has just been so proactive. It’s been so encouraging working with someone who has a certain level of enthusiasm and interest,” McNeil said.
“To feel someone want this, like dad and I have wanted this for the last two years, it really gave us renewed hope we might be able to get a permanent facility.”
This year, McNeil said they would welcome anyone with an ATV with a plough, reaching out to the society’s Facebook page. It will make snow removal much easier for her and the other volunteers.