Five outdoor rinks sit and wait

Pictured above: The newly constructed Iroquois rink building. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

MORRISBURG – Before the latest provincial lockdown South Dundas’ parks and recreation department was working towards hosting volunteer training in 2020 for outdoor rink volunteers to help them with ice building and outdoor rink maintenance.

However, as 2021 is upon us, and the weather has not been conducive to ice building those activities will have to wait.

South Dundas now has five outdoor rinks ready and waiting for ice – Morrisburg at Earl Baker Park, Iroquois at Haldane Park, Williamsburg at J.C. Whitteker Park, Riverside Heights at Riverside Heights Park and Brinston at Matilda Memorial Park.

While under current lockdown rules outdoor rinks are allowed to operate, South Dundas isn’t yet ready for that to happen.

Kalynn Sawyer Helmer, communications coordinator for South Dundas said that the municipality is holding off for now, but monitoring the situation daily.

According to Helmer, “recreation staff will assist with building the ice when the appropriate weather conditions present themselves and the emergency management committee determines it safe to open. We are doing our best to provide COVID-19 safe amenities to our residents and will update the public as soon as the rinks open.”

While The Leader has been asking whether or not the municipality has sufficient volunteers in place to operate all of these outdoor rinks, no clear response has been received.

During the last term of council, in 2017, an outdoor rink policy was put in place requiring that all outdoor rinks in South Dundas be operated by volunteers and that without volunteers the rinks can not open.

That lack of volunteers led to the eventual demise of the Dundela outdoor rink. The boards from that rink are now in Morrisburg at Earl Baker Park ready and waiting for a long stretch of cold weather.

According to a key information report from Danielle Watson, director of environmental services, the new Iroquois Outdoor rink building, constructed through community partnerships is in its last phase of construction.

“It is the parks and recreation department’s goal, along with the community partners, to have the building completed prior to December 25, 2020, so that the community can utilize the new facility while enjoying the outdoor rink this season,” said Watson in her December 21st report to council.

In that report she said there will be an official opening and plaque installation with the community partners scheduled in January 2021.

It is unlikely that official opening will take place during the ongoing provincial lockdown which was implemented December 26th.

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