Residents and visitors to the city of Penticton will be able to lace up their skates and hit the ice at a new outdoor rink under construction this Christmas, but the proponent behind the rink is asking the public for more donations to complete the full scope of the project.
Drew Barnes, president of the Activate Penticton Society, said it broke ground on Sept. 10, but the group has run into some unexpected cost pressures.
“It’s a very difficult site being so close to the water but we are past that now and we are back up to sub-slab grade and we are running some of the services like water, sewer and electrical,” Barnes said.
“We had planned for a typical foundation construction but we had to over excavate quite a bit to get rid of some organics that we didn’t anticipate so our excavation was two or three times the amount that we thought it was going to be from our preliminary investigations.”
Barnes added that building costs have also skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everything has gone up, from concrete, softwood, plumbing fixtures, electrical supplies, everything has increased and that’s reflected in our request for more money,” he said.
The city’s first outdoor skating rink is privately financed by local donors and the group will operate under a license to use the city-owned land.
Barnes said a local anonymous donor has promised to match up to $200,000, so the society hopes to raise $400,000 through its renewed fundraising campaign.
The total cost of the project is approximately $1 million.
Barnes said if the additional funding isn’t raised, ancillary services may be put on ice for another year, such as lighting, landscaping, seating and a paved parking lot.
“The finishing touches might continue into 2022, which isn’t what we want, but we will have ice for this year unless something comes up that we can’t anticipate,” he said.
The rink will be smaller than a standard NHL rink and will operate on a portion of a city-owned parking lot on Main Street, adjacent to city hall.
The rink will be 37 metres by 15 metres (120 feet by 49 feet). A standard NHL rink is 61 by 26 (200 by 85). For comparison, the rink will be similar to the outdoor waterfront rink at Stuart Park in Kelowna.
The outdoor rink will be free to the public with an anticipated opening date of Dec. 15.
To donate, visit Activate Penticton’s website.