Outdoor Rink Pre-Season Update

As we get closer to winter, we’re preparing for another season at the Outdoor Rink, and we have some updates to let you know about in advance of the 2023/24 season.

Seeking Snow Clearing Partnership
Since the Outdoor Community Rink opened in December 2017, the City of Fernie has relied on volunteers to clear snow from the ice surface. Through the end of the 2022-23 Season, the City had the support of one dedicated citizen volunteer to oversee and provide regular snow clearing at the Outdoor Rink. With this support no longer available, we are reaching out to community groups to see if there is interest in a partnering agreement with the City to oversee and provide snow clearing at the Outdoor Rink for the 2023-2024 operating season.

Without the help of volunteers, the City doesn’t have the staff capacity to continue to provide the same high level of service at the Outdoor Rink. The City prioritizes snow clearing on roadways and sidewalks after a snowfall, and clearing the Outdoor Rink would be designated as a lower priority in the City’s Snow and Ice Management Policy. If we can’t find external support for snow clearing, we unfortunately anticipate the availability of this recreation amenity to the public will be significantly impacted.

Temporary Storage Structure Due for Replacement
When the rink opened in December 2017, a temporary structure was constructed onsite that over the years has served as a storage facility, a place to lace-up your skates before hitting the ice, and a home for our Zamboni. The building was originally constructed to be a temporary structure and was issued a temporary building permit. The original permit has expired, and this fall the City was issued a final temporary permit to continue using the structure until the end of April 2024. This permit limits the use of the building to storage of the Zamboni, with no public access allowed, public use of the rink will be unaffected.

Service Review Coming in Early 2024
With the Outdoor Rink structure not usable past the end of the 2023/24 season, the City will be reviewing the service area in the new year before determining a long-term solution for the storage of the Zamboni and the ongoing maintenance and operation of the rink.
The Outdoor Rink has been enjoyed by many each winter since it opened, but it is a natural ice surface and has some considerable limitations due to our climate and the amount of snowfall we typically receive each year. Since 2019, Staff have been tracking the days the rink is open, and the cost to maintain it. As part of this service review, we will be looking for your feedback on the Outdoor Rink.

Looking Forward to Another Great Season!
The Outdoor Rink typically opens late December and is operational until late February, weather dependent. Located adjacent to the Fernie Aquatic Centre at 250 Pine Avenue, the Outdoor Community Rink is an NHL-size natural ice rink (200 by 85 feet). The rink opened in 2017, thanks to generous donations from the Calgary Flames Foundation, National Hockey League (NHL), Canadian Arena Products, the Fernie Lions Club and numerous community donors. Stay tuned on details for opening day!