A Winnipeg inner-city skating rink that had been used as a parking lot for most of the winter is getting closer to opening up.
The Edward Carriere Community Rink, located behind the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre (BNC), has been in limbo over the past few months due to an insurance issue that stems from the BNC’s designation as a “neighbourhood” centre rather than a “community” centre.
BNC executive director Spatch Mulhall told 680 CJOB he’s hopeful the rink will be up and running for the community’s Snoball festival on Saturday.
“All the cars are gone, the gates are up, now it’s all contingent on getting some sort of a rider or insurance in place so we can at least finish this season on a positive note… with ice and families skating, and that sound of blades cutting into the ice and pucks hitting into the boards.
“I think the big win for the city, the community, for us would be to have it up and running for our festival.”
Mulhall and other BNC board members and volunteers are working on getting the ice prepared in case they get the go-ahead, and he said it’s possible that it could be ready to go for Saturday.
“It’s starting to feel like it’s happening. Right now, it’s at the point where we can put down a base right away. You can’t skate on it, but the ground’s frozen, so that would give us just a base to work with.
“If we can get this done and something in place by Thursday, we can have it ready to go – and the weather’s not going to be great, but we could have ice in for Saturday.”
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said the centre is an integral part of the community and that local Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry) is working with the city’s public service to come up with a solution as soon as possible.
“The work at the centre… They do incredible work,” said Bowman. “I want to give a shout-out to all the volunteers and everybody who brings that centre to life every single day.
“I want to make sure we’ve got the right people at city hall attending to it, trying to resolve it as quickly as possible, because obviously it’s an incredible community space for an area of the city that we want to see recreation made available.”
Rollins told 680 CJOB earlier in January that the insurance issue has been under discussion at city hall since September, and that it all comes down to a community centre falling under the city’s insurance, while a neighbourhood centre – funded through a general council grant – does not.
Mulhall said being out in the cold getting the rink set up is all part of the gig as the centre’s director.
“That’s our job, is we maintain. We’ve got a platoon of snowblowers, the community comes in borrows shovels, they push the show… It’s just like old-time hockey, as they say.”
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