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Plan coming for outdoor rinks in Olds

Staff still hammering out details for rinks, community services director says
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OLDS — A plan is coming soon for the creation of outdoor skating rinks in the community again, says Doug Wagstaff, the town’s community services director. 

Wagstaff gave that assurance during the town’s Nov. 22 council meeting. 

Last year, town staff, along with members of the Olds Fire Department set up some outdoor rinks. They were seen as an outlet for residents cooped up due to COVID-19 restrictions to get some fresh air and recreation. 

"You will hear from us shortly – when I say us, all of administration, both protective services, operations and community services – about our plan for this winter and rinks,” Wagstaff said. 

He said staff are still working out the details so there’s no plan to share with council and the public yet. 

“But stay tuned, it is coming,” he said. 

Wagstaff made those comments as council received the Mountain View Regional Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan. 

While presenting that plan, Justin Rousseau, managing director of Expedition Management Consulting Ltd., noted that researchers found that outdoor rinks were among the most requested amenities in town. 

Coun. Heather Ryan was intrigued. 

She asked whether researchers had determined how many rinks should be provided and whether there should be a mix of outdoor rinks with and without boards. 

“I know that we don’t have any with boards, but there seems to be some kind of an interest in seeing that as well,” Ryan said. 

Rousseau said no detailed analysis on outdoor rinks was done, but researchers certainly heard about them. 

“We did hear from individuals and groups about the appreciation of what you did last year, the need for a mix of leisure skating and a sort of boarded hockey-type rink,” Rousseau said. 

“You know, often we forget about the leisure skaters. So it’s kind of no sticks and pucks and then also to have that stick and puck opportunity as well. But it was noticed from what your community what you did in terms of the expansion.  

“And we know with COVID, you know, the embracing skating, embracing outdoor activities and year-round activities, so you definitely responded to that."

Ryan said: "You know what? We did a good job with putting those outdoor rinks."

She commended director of protective services Justin Andrew for ensuring they were created. 

“I’d like to see that continue,” she said. “Obviously the community was appreciative of it.”