Outdoor ice rinks close during lockdown
Although outdoor ice rinks are allowed to be open during the lockdown, Clearview Township has made the tough decision to discontinue access and work on the rinks that are located on municipal property.
New Lowell councillor John Lamers said he has been taking a lot of flack for the decision but said there just isn’t enough manpower at the volunteer-maintained ice surfaces.
Last year Lamers championed the installation of a 60-by-120-foot permanent concrete pad for an ice rink at the New Lowell Recreation Park, which is flooded by the firefighters stationed next door.
“Now, we are getting the cold weather and some nice ice and we haven’t got the manpower to control the public so we’re now closed,” said Lamers during Monday’s council meeting. “Everybody wants to get outside and do something and they’re a little upset they can’t use the public rinks.”
The decision was made to control numbers and ensure people weren’t crowding the facilities.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Mayor Doug Measures. “It becomes a gathering place, and that’s a danger.”
Officials say, in many surrounding communities, unsupervised outdoor rinks have unfortunately led to overcrowding and encouraged travel between public health units while closure and safe usage signs have largely been ignored.
“In our community we don’t have the staff or the resources or the infrastructure in place to supervise and look after those ice surfaces,” said Measures. “Volunteers work like crazy to build them and now they have to be shut down.”
The situation will be re-evaluated once the lockdown has been lifted and final decisions for the winter season will be made at that time.