STELLARTON – Stellarton rink commission members got a first hand look at synthetic ice Monday night, but a decision has yet to be made on the direction the Town of Stellarton plans to go in with the Stellarton Memorial Rink.
The rink commission decided Monday that they needed more information before deciding on their plan moving forward with the Stellarton Rink. At this time there are no plans the close the facility and Mayor Joe Gennoe made it clear during the meeting that they will not close the rink until it’s absolutely necessary.
Denise Taylor and Judith MacLellan both stated that before any decisions were made that they would like to see the year-end financial statements and a detailed report on rentals before making both decisions and a business plan for the Stellarton Rink. The commission agreed, moving their decision making process to their next meeting in a months time.
Acting town engineer Bob Funke gave a preliminary report on his walkthrough at the rink, stating the ice plant was in good shape, although old, and that there are a few things he would like to identify to be fixed. It was brought to Funke’s attention that during games the glass sometimes “sweats” and that problem also contributes to issues with the roof panels.
He said that they would need an air circulation unit or dehumidifier to solve that problem, which would mean costs over and above the necessary things he will be looking at before the next meeting. Funke added it would be up to the commission if they financially wanted to maintain the rink at its current state or invest more to improve it further.
His full report on the state of the facility will come at their next meeting after he receives the reports from former town engineer Tony Addis.
Pending receiving all that information, the commission may also look at the option of synthetic ice at the facility. President of SmartRink, Tim Oldfield, had a synthetic ice demonstration set up upstairs in Stellarton Town Hall to give the commission an idea what they would be looking at.
Oldfield and members of the commission discussed the options they would have, stating the best product for the town would cost either $16 or $19 a square foot. It would cost roughly $300,000 to install this at the Stellarton Rink.
One concern brought forward during both the meeting and demonstration was that Hockey Nova Scotia doesn’t sanction games on synthetic ice at this time, meaning Stellarton Minor Hockey could practice in their home rink, but would have to play elsewhere.
When asked about that during the demonstration Oldfield stated that Hockey N.S. would be the people to talk to about that, as they have no control over that.
Both before and after the commission had a chance to see the product, recreation director Paul Corbin recommended that they put on a public demonstration, stating that there is no point in moving forward with this if the public isn’t behind it.
Corbin also added that it comes with a cost of $1,500 to $3,000 for the demonstration, which covers the cost of shipping the product.
With decisions on their next steps being deferred to their next meeting, this was also added to that list.