The Stuart Park skating rink will open on Jan. 11 for the season. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Stuart Park skating rink will open on Jan. 11 for the season. (Black Press Media file photo)

Stuart Park skating rink finally opens for the season

Residents will have to book a time slot to use the rink

Outdoor skating in downtown Kelowna is coming back, though it may look a bit different than previous years.

The Stuart Park skating rink will open on Monday, Jan. 11 at 11 a.m. with enhanced safety measures and a pre-booking system in place.

“In consultation with public health officials around outdoor public skating at Stuart Park, we have the go-ahead to operate at a restricted level until further notice, which means skaters will need to pre-book their skating time before heading down to the rink,” the city’s sport and event services manager Doug Nicholas said Jan. 8.

Typically, the rink opens on Dec. 1 each year but had been delayed due to COVID-19.

The city’s new pre-booking system will allow for a 60-minute skate time. Some of the safety measures that will be in place at the rink will include:

  • Staff members to ensure only those who booked skating times will have access to the rink
  • A maximum of 40 skaters will be allowed at the rink at any given time
  • There will be fencing around the rink along with designated entry and exit points
  • Seating to put on skates will be distanced with one family or skater at each bench
  • Rink maintenance and cleaning will occur daily and as required between booking times
  • Food and rental services will not be available
  • Masks or face coverings are recommended

Skating and equipment rentals will not be available at this time. As such, the city recommends that people bring their own skates, helmets, hand sanitizers and masks.

“Providing safe, active opportunities is important right now and we’re pleased to be able to open the rink, even within this restricted capacity,” Nicholas added.

“Though it is an outdoor venue and not mandated by the current provincial order, we still recommend wearing a mask or a face covering as an added level of safety. It’s important to remember when heading down to the rink to respect other skaters and maintain plenty of space both on and off the rink.”

Online booking is open now. For more information, visit the city’s website.

Indoor skating is available at Capital News Centre, Memorial Arena and Rutland Arena.

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Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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