It will soon be Hockey Time in Bells Corners. Lynwood skaters, disappointed by last year’s disastrous outdoor rink season, were briefly cheered by the rumour that Al, the guru of Ottawa outdoor rink operators, was interested in taking on the Lynwood rinks.
Alas, Al will only be doing his own neighbourhood rink this year. He was approached by the City and asked to sign the contract but, after considering the offer, he respectfully declined. A second local experienced guy was also approached by the City but turned it down.
The City will eventually con someone into taking on the job – hope this year’s rink operator will be skilled and dedicated – last year was very frustrating for many skaters.
The ideal rink operator would be a local resident with a personal stake in providing the best possible conditions for skaters (which means leveraging the grant money by recruiting and deploying volunteers). A neighbourhood gets the rink it deserves – without some sort of organized volunteer component (not just kids, adults too) conditions will fall short of what is possible.
The community association is hoping to have the building and change rooms open on weekends. We should aim higher! In previous years the fabulous facilities in Lynwood Park were open and supervised every day, from early afternoon until late at night.
There are many advantages to having the building open as much as possible (access to water, washrooms, heat, first aid kit, telephone, etc.) but the primary payoff is that it dramatically increases the number of skaters – the kids use the rink more after school, and the rink is much busier in the evening. That should be the bottom line for our Lynwood rinks – increasing participation by getting people on skates as much as possible.
BUT ice conditions are more important than having the facilities open, so ideally “financial compensation” should be concentrated on physical labour (shovelling, scraping, flooding) rather than on supervision.
Hope I don’t sound too critical here – I’m just saying let’s have high expectations for our rink – a building that’s open as often as possible, a season that starts early and finishes late, a decent puddle rink, excellent ice conditions whenever possible, effective adult supervision, etc. Outdoor rinks deliver many obvious benefits (improved health, community-building, etc.) but another way to look at it is in terms of maximizing the taxpayer’s return on an investment (roughly $10,000 for the Lynwood rinks) by doing what we can to increase the number of skaters.
Hockey Day in Lynwood video