Village staff is recommending that Burns Lake council does not move ahead with a plan to build an outdoor rink in Burns Lake.
The proposed outdoor rink would be built on Burns Lake, adjacent to Spirit Square and existing public washrooms.
Interest in building the outdoor rink was first raised during a strategic planning meeting held in the spring of 2015. The plan later became part of council’s 2016 municipal objectives.
A report recently presented to council by the village’s recreation department recommended that the plan be removed from the village’s objectives.
The report states that the estimated first-year cost of an outdoor rink would be approximately $10,000, with an ongoing annual cost of roughly $7000 to maintain it.
“While the creation of an outdoor rink would be an enjoyable addition to the community and provide residents with a free, family-friendly activity through the winter, the expense that it would represent would outweigh the benefit,” says the report.
Costs include creating the ice, hand shovelling, flooding and ice maintenance. Additional arena staff labour would be needed to create and maintain the rink.
“Creating ice on the lake, shovelling, and flooding would require two arena employees for four hours. Maintaining the ice would require two area staff to shovel and floor the ice for two hours at a time, every other day. Even a small amount of snow on the ice must be completely removed before flooding,” says the report.
Since creating an outdoor rink is dependent on weather conditions, certain weather patterns could increase the need of labour to maintain the rink.
Snowplowing would have to be done by the public works crew since recreation staff do not have the proper equipment, and using heavy duty equipment on the ice requires special insurance to cover the liability.
“The public works crew is already minimally staffed on weekends and it may not be possible to provide snowplowing services during that time,” adds the report.
If the ice rink was built, the village would also need to purchase pumps, hoses, nozzles, shovels and an outdoor storage shed with a heating system. In addition, the rink would also require outdoor lighting.
Apart from the cost, the report notes that the rink would create additional liability risks for the village since the rink would not be patrolled and ice breaks or “slip and falls” could occur.
On Dec. 14, 2016 council decided to postpone their decision on whether or not to discard the plan until January 2017.