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Olds Centennial Park rink might open this week

The opening of the outdoor rink at Centennial Park in Olds depends on the weather and the availability of staff
An ice resurfacer in action on the Olds outdoor rink in Centennial Park in the spring of 2023.

OLDS — The outdoor ice rink at Centennial Park might be ready for skating some time this week.

That depends on weather and staff availability, says Shelby Dezall, supervisor of parks and community services. 

During an interview with the Albertan, Dezall said staff had hoped to have the rink flooded and ready for skating around Christmas time, but unusually warm weather prevented that from happening. 

“The weather just didn't allow for it. It was too nice,” she said. 

Dezall said due to staffing and weather issues, workers weren’t able to begin getting the rink ready for skating until the first week in January.  

She explained that preparing the outdoor rink for skating is a big job that requires staff from several town departments, including Sportsplex staff and firefighters.  

It can take a minimum of six to 10 people to do that. 

Dezall noted that some workers might be called away to clear snow when big storms occur. Sportsplex staff might not be available because responsibilities there. 

She said staff had hoped to have the rink ready by the week of Jan. 8, but as of Jan. 11, finishing touches still had to be done. 

“The edges around the boards are not level -- they stick out quite a bit -- it's not safe for people to be skating around. We’ve got to smooth that out,” Dezall said. 

She added that staff want to get the ice surfacing machine out on there to create a nice, smooth level surface for everyone to skate on. 

That’s advantageous for maintenance staff too. 

“It's actually easier for us to maintain when we start off with a good, smooth surface,” she said. If all goes well, Dezall is hoping the outdoor rink will be opened for skating some time this week. 

“I can't say for sure,” she said. “I wish I could tell you a real date, (but I can’t) because it's all weather and staffing dependent.” 

When the outdoor rink does open to the public, Dezall says it will remain open from sun-up to 10 p.m. when the lights turn off. 

The outdoor rink was created in late 2022 and opened to the public last year. 

Dezall says operating it last year was a learning curve. 

“We learned a bit,” she said. “We learned that it takes a lot of us to make it happen, so the parks service area, the arena service area and the fire department, we all work together to make it happen.” 

In addition to the Centennial Park rink, around the town, five outdoor ice rinks are either open are in the process of being opened.

Outdoor ice rinks that are now open are at Briegel Pond, Winter Lake and Vistas Pond.

Work is underway to get outdoor ice rinks at Holy Trinity (6610 57th Ave.) and Neil  Leatherdale Park (4249 54th Ave.) up and running.

Dezall says crews began making ice for the Holy Trinity rink the week of Jan. 8. Crews began making ice at Neil Leatherdale outdoor rink the first week in January.

Both rinks need more ice before they'll be ready. Even then, opening will be dependent on staffing and weather.

As of Jan. 11, the outdoor rink at Deer Meadow (5411 57the St.) remained closed. No prep work and maintenance had been done on it as of that date.
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