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Public skating at Kelowna’s Stuart Park winding down for the season

Click to play video 'Public skating winding down for season in Kelowna' Public skating winding down for season in Kelowna
It has been one of the more popular activities for Okanagan families during the ongoing pandemic. But there’s is only one week left for those hoping to lace up their skates over at Stuart Park. – Feb 20, 2021

It’s been a smooth season for public skating in downtown Kelowna, albeit a shortened one.

Local skaters have been able to hit the ice at Stuart Park since Jan. 11, but with warmer weather on the way, the last day to lace up their skates at the popular downtown rink will be Feb. 28.

For those who have been coming here often, there’s been no shortage of adjusting, not only to new regulations but also booking ice-time in advance.

“It’s understandable. It makes sense, they don’t want twice or three times the number of people” said one local resident.

Read more: Cold weather in Okanagan a boon for backyard rink enthusiasts

“For us, it’s worth getting to your computer and booking some ice time. The family loves it and it’s a nice way to get out and do something social but still have your distance,” he added.

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Others welcome the new regulations as they provide more space and a much smoother ice surface. Prior to the pandemic, the city would allow upwards of 150 people on the ice. That number is now capped at 40, with the ice also flooded every hour.

“I think it’s a lot better,” said a regular skater at Stuart Park.

“We came lots last year and the ice was a lot snowier and a little rougher and it was harder for them to skate on. But this year, with them cleaning it so much more, my kids have gotten so much better at skating so quickly, which is great”.

Read more: Experts urge caution on ice as Okanagan residents flock to partially frozen lake

While some may welcome these changes given they result in more space and better ice, others are hoping the chaotic crowds of yesteryear return.

“Yeah, it would be great if we were done with social distancing and had twice as many people out here for sure.”

It is unclear if we’ll be any closer to a return to normal by the time skating at Stuart Park is set to return sometime in early December.