Joe Rich to get outdoor rink upgrade

MLAs Steve Thomson, Ben Stewart and Norm Letnick announced $224,000 in provincial funds would go towards upgrading Joe Rich's outdoor rink.

Patty Hanson

On a snowy Saturday, three area MLAs travelled up to the ice rink behind Joe Rich Community Hall to share a bit of good news.

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson, Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart and Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick were on hand to announce $224,000 in provincial funding to help upgrade the existing outdoor ice rink.

“It’s going to totally change this entire surface,” said Patty Hanson, Central Okanagan east electoral area director.

“It’s going to be such a benefit to the families out here and the families around the Okanagan who want to experience a rink outdoors.”

The $224,000 will go towards a $280,000 project to replace the surface, the boards, the pillars and to do cement work. There will also be a small amount of seating added with the upgrades. The regional government will pick up the rest of the project tab.

Curtis Nyuli, fire chief of Joe Rich stations 51 and 52, was on hand for Saturday morning’s announcement. He has been a leader with helping to organize volunteers to take care of the Joe Rich ice rink.

“There’s a group of hardworking volunteers, local guys, and they deserve a lot of credit for keeping this facility open,” said Nyuli.

Although Nyuli didn’t know any exact numbers, he said the rink is well used.

“It’s hard to gauge because there’s not someone here 24-7, (but) when you come up here on a weekday or a weekend, you’ll see people for sure,” said Nyuli.

Nyuli said that the announcement came at a good time because the asphalt surface under the ice needs replacing.

“What’s happened is that trees are starting to grow through (the asphalt) and they are pushing it up. So it’s pretty hard to actually carry a decent ice surface right now.”

The MLAs also travelled to Beasley Park soccer field in Lake Country on Saturday to announce a $400,000 investment for upgrades around the soccer pitch. The $624,000 worth of investments will come from the province’s Community Recreation Program.