Swank offering up new Iroquois rink building

This will be the last winter this building will be standing in Iroquois’ Haldane Park. Thanks to the generosity of Swank Construction, and other local businesses willing to donate, next winter a new building will be standing in its place to welcome skaters. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

IROQUOIS – Iroquois has secured a volunteer to operate the community outdoor rink building this winter, but that’s not the best news council received about the Iroquois outdoor rink last week.

South Dundas council will be accepting a generous offer recently made by Swank Construction.

At last week’s South Dundas Committee of the Whole meeting, South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds spoke about the Swank offer to construct a new Iroquois Outdoor Rink Building for the community.

Through that offer, the municipality will still be responsible for the demolition of the existing building which has not been safe for public use for about two years.

But Swank Construction, in partnership with other local companies, will donate the labour and building materials to construct a new building on the existing slab.

The municipality will be responsible for the services.

According to Byvelds, Ron Swank made the offer as a way to give back to the community that this family grew up in and are a part of.

“We as council will accept that offer,” said Byvelds.

“We have decided to pursue this project because the rink has been an important part of this community and our family for many years,” Ron Swank told The Leader.

“When we were kids we used the rink four to five nights a week, and enjoyed playing hockey and skating with all our friends.

Since then my kids have used the rink, and now my grandkids thoroughly enjoy using it, as much as we did.”

“When we heard about the rink building situation, we discussed the dilemma amongst ourselves, and wondered if more individuals felt the same way. We discussed the project with other local business owners and they all felt it would be a great way to give back to this community, by building a new heated facility.”

The actual build will take place next year.

In the meantime council will have to go through an official process with Swank to formally accept that offer, but will definitely make it happen.

“That’s awesome,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner of the offer.

“That’s very nice of Ron to do this,” said South Dundas councillor Lloyd Wells.

“Kudos to them,” added South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan.

For this winter the Iroquois outdoor rink will be operated with the new volunteer like it was last year. There will be benches on site for skaters and a portable toilet available.

While the future looks bright for the Iroquois outdoor rink the same cannot be said for the outdoor rink at Dundela.

That rink has been without a volunteer and has not operated for three years.

South Dundas councillor Lloyd Wells suggested that the trailer and rink boards should be removed from the site.

He wants to see the park there maintained, or even improved but said that the trailer sitting there for no reason is just a waste of money.

“If no one comes forward to volunteer to run that rink, I’ve got to agree with Lloyd,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan. “If no one comes forward then we should evaluate in the spring whether or not we keep it.”

“I somewhat agree,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds.

South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner said that if that does happen, they need to invest money in making that park better.

There has been some community interest in bringing an outdoor rink back to Morrisburg, but nothing formal has yet been discussed.

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