Last summer, Scotty Creek resident Belinda Campbell organized a community fundraiser, raising money to go towards improvements to an outdoor ice rink in her neighborhood.
It was for a good cause and over $2,000 was raised with donations of money and supplies coming from over 200 homes in the area as the community got together to improve on an outdoor ice rink they had been building for several years on a vacant lot owned by Black Mountain Irrigation District (BMID).
It was a community effort. Dads flooded the rink; Moms brought drinks and hot dogs and kids got outside and enjoyed the most typical of Canadian winter past-times: Hockey on the outdoor rink.
But now that’s all on hold.
Campbell was organizing another fundraiser and work crews were set to make more improvements this year when BMID told the group to hold off on building the ice rink this year. Gates to the fenced lot are now locked and the community is unsure what will happen next.
“We had some issues last year that we wanted to fix,” said Campbell, a mother of kids who regularly used the outdoor ice rink. “We wanted more efficient lighting. But now it’s all on hold. There have been a few issues but we were always proactive in coming up with solutions to any issues. We brought in more dirt to build up the bank so snow and ice didn’t melt and run off into the neighbor’s driveway. We talked about shutting things down at a certain time, moving the lights, putting hedges up. This rink benefits everyone and we’re really accommodating.”
Campbell and other supporters of the outdoor rink are hopeful they will receive the go ahead from BMID to continue using the location as an outdoor ice rink. BMID had a board meeting on Thursday where the issue was expected to arise.
Campbell said BMID has known that the neighbourhood was using the lot for an ice rink and the water utility had told the group to make sure it had “Use at Your Own Risk” warning signs posted at the entrances to the lot and had even given the community keys to get inside the fenced area to work on the rink.
Word of the decision by BMID quickly spread on the Scotty Creek Neighbourhood community Facebook page with residents quick to support the community ice rink.
“I live three lots down and I think it’s a great thing for the neighbourhood,” wrote Wendy Amorin, among the dozens of comments. “Love seeing the kids out there having a good time.”
“The majority of us who live next or across from it have no problems with it,” wrote Letisha Pfenning.
However not everyone in the area was in support of the ice rink.
In a message to the Capital News, Colby Wilkinson said the rink was an eye sore.
“The ice rink is only used by a select few In the neighbourhood. It’s only cold enough to have ice for maybe three weeks of the year. The rest of the time it’s a mud pit. It has become an eye sore year after year,” he wrote. “The lots in Scotty Creek are plenty big enough that they could build one in their backyards. It’s quite simple. The land doesn’t belong to them.”
As for Campbell, she said her two kids were regular users of the rink, many times heading down there for just a few minutes and then staying for hours on end. She says the community would work with any concerned residents and with BMID to come to a solution that would allow for the ice rink to continue.
“This just benefits everyone,” she said. “It’s about the kids learning to skate because we’re Canadian. It’s about getting them off the electronics. I’m trying to keep my kids optimistic. There are ways around this.”