Hundreds of people are lacing up every day at the Canada Games Oval on the Halifax Commons – and that has the mayor suggesting it shouldn’t be a one-shot deal.
The daily turnout for free skates is far beyond what organizers anticipated and that’s prompted calls from some users to make the rink a permanent fixture.
The oval is scheduled to close to the public on Feb. 8 prior to the opening of the Canada Winter Games. It will be open for public use afterwards, but is scheduled to be dismantled in the spring.
However, HRM Mayor Peter Kelly wants the outdoor ice surface to stay put. He says the city must find a way for the Canada Games speed-skating oval to stay on Halifax’s North Common, saying it’s a one-time chance to enhance the Commons.
”This is one of the most phenomenal assets that we have heard from the public on and this is one that they want to hold on to,” Kelly says. “It has attracted the very young and senior and everybody else in between.”
Mike Sims, skating on Dec. 31 with his two-year-old daughter Avery, says he’d like to see the rink stay.
“It’s such a great family activity,” he said. “To have it right in the middle of the city is just fantastic.”
There will need to be some additional investment made into the $2.5 million oval in order for it to become permanent.
“We’d have to put in some concrete in the oval as I understand so it would be easier to maintain and easier to work with,” Mayor Kelly explains.
It’s not clear yet exactly how much it would cost.