The City of Burlington’s first outdoor, artificial ice rink will be temporarily set up in Aldershot.
City Council has accepted a donation from the Patrick J. McNally Foundation to fund the rink at LaSalle Park.
City staff are hoping to build the new attraction on the ball diamond during the holiday season, but that may depend on the weather.
The rink will be 11 metres wide and 24 metres long. The surface is made from a product called GLICE and is the closest thing to the feel of real ice, according to Denise Beard, Manager of Community Development.
“It was quite smooth and one of our best tests was actually shooting a puck across the ice and it whipped right across as it would on regular ice, not typically what we would see on a traditional, old style, artificial ice rink”, Beard reported to Council after a recent staff sampling of the product.
Staff are currently finalizing an agreement with six nearby residents who will be responsible for clearing the snow off the rink and applying a monthly application of a silicone solution.
The rink won’t stay in Aldershot permanently. It is portable. The idea is to move it around the City in subsequent years.
“The long- range plan for LaSalle would be to put the ball diamond back in operation and then we can look at how we might use (the rink) in the future whether it be a summer activity or winter, we have got the flexibility”, Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation and Culture told Council.
“Artificial ice does not require staff with refrigeration qualifications, does not require an ice re-surfacer, nor a building to store the ice plant. In addition, artificial ice can be used year-round and is somewhat portable allowing it to be moved around the City”, according to the staff report to Council which highlighted the advantages of artificial ice.
Councillor Angelo Bentivegna applauded the new initiative.
“This is thinking outside the box. This is a great opportunity for the community. I skated on outdoor artificial ice in Montreal…….it was great”.
A condition of the McNally grant is that the City, itself, fund a second artificial ice rink at a cost of $52,00. The location of this second rink has yet to be announced.
This is not the first time the McNally Foundation has helped Aldershot. Several years ago a grant from the Foundation funded a water line to Bolus Gardens Parkette permitting the construction of a long desired children’s water feature.
Story by Rick Craven