February 21st, 2024

Deep freeze weather helps to open downtown rink soon


By Lethbridge Herald on January 11, 2024.

City staff work in the cold and snow on Thursday afternoon at the freshly flooded skating rink in Festival Square. The rink will be ready for use early next week. Herald photo by Al Beeber

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

With unseasonably warm weather making it unrealistic, a decision was made earlier this week to abandon plans to set up an outdoor skating rink in Festival Square downtown.

Until that weather changed and the temperatures began plummeting.

And now that rink will soon be open for the public after it was flooded Thursday morning.

Executive director Sarah Amies of the Downtown Lethbridge Business and Revitalization Zone said the rink should be ready for skating by Monday.

The ice has to cure and settle for a couple of days before the surface can be used by skaters.

“It was really popular” last year, said Amies, and the BRZ had many people asking when it would be installed again.

“But because the weather was so mild in the fall and the early winter, we were actually, it’s ironic really, because we made a decision earlier this week that it’s not going to happen. And then suddenly there’s a deep freeze,” said Amies, whose organization got together with the Urban Revitalization department of the City of Lethbridge to make the rink happen.

The rink is a safe outdoor space for skaters, unlike ponds or a lake so people don’t have to fear falling through, Amies said.

All types of skates will be allowed as well as skate assistance devices. No food, pets, sleds, pucks, blankets, strollers, wagons or toys, will be allowed, however.

Helmets and protective gear are recommended and skating that endangers others or interferes with skaters’ safety is prohibited.

And skating is prohibited if people are under the influence of drugs, alcohol or other control-impairing substances, says the BRZ.

Hockey is also banned from the rink.

No jumping or tricks are allowed and skaters are asked to be courteous of others.

On Jan. 24 during Hot Beverage Week, skaters are being encouraged to hit the ice and then hit area coffee shops for a warm beverage and to vote on their favourites.

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