If all goes well, 100 Mile House should be getting a brand new outdoor ice rink for Christmas this year.
This is thanks to the work of 100 Mile resident Nadaya McNeil, who said the community is a great place to live but would be further enhanced by additional amenities like an outdoor skating rink.
McNeil said that thanks to community support, the co-operation of the District of 100 Mile and a lumber donation from West Fraser, the rink – to be located in the tennis courts at the old 100 Mile Junior – will begin construction on Dec. 7. The South Cariboo Joint Committee of the Cariboo Regional District also agreed to give $2,000 toward the project, while School District 27 signed a lease with the District for the use of the school site this winter.
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“This ice rink will get a ton of use. I’ve got a lot of really positive feedback from everybody and it’s been really fun working on it, just because there have been so many people willing to help and everybody has been so enthusiastic,” McNeil said. “I haven’t really had to ask for much because people have been offering and the things I have asked for have been an immediate yes.”
McNeil’s father John, who has lived in the area since he was nine years old, remembers the community’s last outdoor ice rink at the now-Save-On-Foods parking lot. John fondly recalls going there after school to play improv hockey while figure skaters used the opposite corner until it got dark or it was time to go home.
“It had a lot of use, there were very few rules on when you could use it,” John recalled. “Canlan does a great job but you’ve got (a time) at 9 a.m. and you’re off by 10 a.m. and what I envision for this rink is you can just drop in most of the time and skate around without having to make an appointment to go.”
McNeil, who has been updating supporters of the rink via Facebook, said the lumber donation was a huge help to the project. Rubbing her hands together with excitement, Nadaya observed that on Tuesday, during her interview with the Free Press, it was -8C, which told her it was the perfect time to build the rink.
She has launched a Kickstarter event for those looking to support the rink and has already raised $1,300 which will go towards buying hockey nets, Christmas lights, benches, garbage cans and other items needed to make the rink “that much better.” The momentum the project has gained since she first brought up the idea has been unexpected but welcome, McNeil said.
While the local government will build the rink, John said it’s expected the community will fund all of the maintenance for the rink through McNeil’s new non-profit organization, the 100 Mile House Outdoor Skating Rink Society. John will serve as a director for the society and said they’ve already secured funds and volunteers to maintain the rink, once it’s built.
“This is a start-up year. Hopefully, it’s very successful and I can see it becoming bigger and better in the years after COVID especially,” John said, adding that they’ll follow any protocols they need to once they open.
Both he and McNeil said they would like to thank all those who have supported this project and made it happen, including the South Cariboo Trucker’s Association and the Canim Lake Trucker’s Association.