Outdoor rink at Vernon’s Civic Arena ‘likely unfeasible’ this winter: city staff

City staff are suggesting it would be too expensive to create a temporary outdoor rink at the former site of Vernon's Civic Arena, pictured being demolished in November 2018. Megan Turcato / Global News

It’s unlikely families will be gathering to skate at the former site of the Civic Arena in Vernon this winter.

Staff are discouraging council from pursuing the idea of using the space for a temporary outdoor ice rink.

A staff report to city council suggests the idea could be costly and there isn’t a major demand for more outdoor skating space.

The report from long range planner Daniel Sturgeon estimates that at a minimum the rink would cost $275,000 for one winter and cautions that costs would very likely spiral upwards.

Sturgeon points out that a temporary rink built “in front of the Canadian Parliament, installed for the Canada 150 celebrations in 2017, cost over $5 million.”

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Several other challenges, including the relatively warm winter climate in Vernon that would necessitate a cooling system for the rink, a significant slope on the property and the lack of time before winter to get the project completed lead Sturgeon to conclude the idea was “likely unfeasible” this winter.

Much of the former arena site is currently sitting empty after the city demolished the aging arena over concerns about the long term cost of maintaining the old infrastructure.

The plan is to eventually use the space for a park.

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