Fire pit coming to Kelowna’s outdoor rink

A relatively unobtrusive item on Kelowna city council’s Monday agenda, may be just what it takes to make a good thing better.

City council approved an amendment to the open fire bylaw Monday, allowing for future use of outdoor fire pits, outdoor fireplaces and barbecues fuelled by natural gas, propane or briquettes only.

“I think this is a positive step,” said Coun. Luke Stack.

“If we wanted to put an outdoor flame in Stuart Park, would that be permitted?”

The fire chief told Stack that he was right on the money, allowing room for a warming area to be installed near the rink.

It, along with a snack area, were among the top requests by skaters.

Unfortunately, however, users of the rink won’t get to try it out until next year as unfavourable ice conditions—sunny weather—has prompted the end of the winter wonderland downtown.

“We wanted to keep the rink open as long as we could, but the heat from the sun is just too intense,” said Martin Johansen, the city’s building services manager.

“It’s cold enough out there for ice, but the solar load on the ice makes it impossible to maintain.”

City crews started the process of removing the ice Monday.

The rink opened to the public on Dec. 28, 2010, and has seen thousands of visitors since then. Earlier this month, Stuart Park was recognized with an award from the Design Exchange Awards in the Urban Design category.