Outdoor skating rink used as parking lot as West Broadway centre fights over insurance issue

. Global News / Rudi Pawlychyn

Like bread and butter, cats and dogs, winter and outdoor skating is a common paring in Winnipeg. But residents in West Broadway are packing up their sticks and skates in search of a new place to skate.

The community centre’s rink isn’t filled with ice this winter. Instead, it is filled with parked vehicles.

READ MORE: Outdoor rinks becoming obsolete, says University of Manitoba writer

The outdoor rink hasn’t been flooded this year due to an insurance issue. Area councillor Sheri Rollins said it all comes down to terminology.

The building was first labelled a ‘Community Centre’ in 1947, later being renamed a ‘Neighbourhood Centre’ in the ’90s.

Now, Rollins said policies are making it hard to get insurance for the rink.

READ MORE: ‘It’s the Canadian thing to do’: One-of-a-kind skating rink opens near Onanole

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A community centre falls under the city insurance, while a neighbourhood centre does not, Rollins said.

“Neighbourhood centres, unlike community centres, are funded through the general council grant through the city of Winnipeg,” Rollins explained.

She said the discussion has been ongoing since September at city hall.

“When you have a skate park in West Broadway or a skate park in St. Vital, one is funded and capitulated under the city’s insurance and one isn’t? How does that make any sense?”

No outdoor rink in River Heights park a sore spot for neighbours
No outdoor rink in River Heights park a sore spot for neighbours

Area resident Mike Friesen said policies aside, it isn’t fair to the children.

“One of the realities in our neighbourhood is that it has the highest percentage of single-parent households in Winnipeg,” said Friesen.

“For the kids in the neighbourhood, I don’t think excuses cut it.”

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Friesen said the community centre has never had issues with finding volunteers, and the staff have always been great.

“It sounds like it’s part of a bigger renegotiation between the city and community centres in general across Winnipeg,” said Friesen.

According to the City of Winnipeg’s website, there are about 40 outdoor rinks in Winnipeg.

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