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Year-round outdoor rink in Olds could be operational in November

A new permanent outdoor rink for skating in winter and pickleball in the off-season is about to open in Olds' Centennial Park
MVT stock hockey skates
The addition of a permanent outdoor rink in Olds is part of the Centennial Park revitalization project. File photo

OLDS — A permanent outdoor rink in Centennial Park is projected to be completed and “operational” in November, town operations director Scott Grieco says. 

Grieco made that prediction during a town council meeting. 

The plan is for it to be used for skating in the winter and pickle ball in the warm months. 

In an email, Grieco said stakes are now in the ground for the new outdoor rink location at centennial. Construction was expected to begin this past week and take four to six weeks to complete.

The main part of the project is pouring the concrete slab.

Grieco told councillors that drawings had been finalized and construction on the facility was expected to begin later this month.  

It will be located in the south part of the park where the horseshoe pits used to be.  

Construction of the rink was included in an overall plan approved by council in April to create amenities for the newly-constructed Rotary Athletic Park and a Centennial Park revitalization project. 

That includes a toboggan hill, community gardens and inclusive playground at Rotary Athletic Park as well as the outdoor rink and an outdoor gathering space at Centennial Park featuring fire pits, benches and an entrance. 

According to the Town of Olds, the total cost for all those projects was estimated to be $780,438.  

Of that figure, $46,897 will come from the provincial government’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funds, $243,322 from reserves and $490,219 from “other funds.” 

A request for proposals to create the rink was sent out in April. 

Coun. Wanda Blatz asked Grieco if the rink will be operational by the time winter arrives. 

“Yeah, typically with ice and the making of ice, we’re projected to have the rink open probably in November, weather-dependent,” Grieco said.  

Grieco said the first step in construction is pouring the foundation. The boards will be installed by a contractor.

Deputy mayor Heather Ryan asked if concerns about utility rights-of-way in the proposed location of the rink had been sorted out.  

Grieco said they had.  

“There is a gas line close by, but we moved the rink over a little bit. We can accommodate it, there’s no issues with that. So full steam ahead,” he said.  

Ryan asked if the boards will be made to resist vandalism due to intentional physical damage or graffiti.  

Grieco said the boards will be “puck boards” made of an especially strong material, so vandalism with a view to destroying them shouldn't be an issue. 

He assured Ryan that staff “will be responding to any and all graffiti issues.” 

Mayor Judy Dahl said one reason for the rink’s location in the park is that it will be in a well-lit area, so that may cut down on vandalism as well.  

Grieco echoed that point.