The 100 Mile Outdoor Rink Society is facing some roadblocks going into the winter season.
Society director Nadaya McNeil told the South Cariboo Joint Committee last week that the society needs the support of the Cariboo Regional District and District of 100 Mile House to help secure the site and find a place to store the Zamboni. The use of the rink site requires approval from School District 27, which has granted a site lease for the second year in a row.
“This year, we’re expecting a more involved and interested response from our government representatives, and staff, across the board,” McNeil said, adding it would be in the best interest of the District and CRD “given the popularity of the rink last year, and the interest of the community.”
The rink, at the tennis courts next to the old 100 Mile Junior on Cedar Avenue, drew daily crowds for skating and pick-up hockey for much of the winter season.
100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall said while he supports the outdoor rink, he hasn’t had much luck finding a place to store the Zamboni. 100 Mile House is currently in the process of expanding its public works storage because it does not have enough space to store its existing equipment.
“I’ve talked to Dawson Road Maintenance and they don’t have the facilities. So far no one has come up with anything that could make it work,” Campsall said.
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Campsall added the society would also have to get its own insurance, in case of an accident. Otherwise, he said most of their requests, including trash management and lighting the rink at night, are easily done.
CRD Chair Margo Wagner said she spoke with McNeil before the meeting and advised her to apply for a CRD grant of assistance.
Wagner added the permanent ice rink/pickleball project is somewhat hampered by the CRD’s recreation taxation boundaries, which currently include the District of 100 Mile and end at 108 Mile and Lone Butte. Residents outside those areas have to buy a $200 recreation pass to use CRD services.
A referendum is slated for June 2022 to expand the taxation area to include electoral areas G, H and L, which would bring in money to support projects like the rink.
The proposed new “South Cariboo Recreation and Culture Service” would have a proposed annual taxation limit of $3.75 million, which works out to a residential taxation rate of about $100 per $100,000 of assessed value.
The referendum will be open to voters in the District of 100 Mile as well as all of the electoral areas of G, H and L.
“I think some of the frustration that both John (McNeil) and Nadaya are feeling that I tried to explain is that the wheels of politics move very slowly and we have no way to speed them up,” Wagner said. “We are tied in by the red tape until the boundary referendum and that will determine where we’re going to go in the future.”
However, McNeil told the Free Press she didn’t want to wait for the referendum and would prefer to use grant money and funds donated by the community.
She agreed she’s frustrated but remains cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season.
“The storage transport of the Zamboni is going to be a little bit of a sticking issue that we’re hoping we can address,” she said. “If we can’t address it then we’re looking at a season similar to the one last year.”