Outdoor rink back on thin ice

An outdoor ice rink in Grouard will remain idle until the future of the Grouard Community Association is known.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

An outdoor ice rink in Grouard is back on thin ice.

At its regular meeting Jan. 23, Big Lakes County council delayed a decision about the future of the rink that is unusable.

The boards were installed last year by the Grouard Community Association, which is in jeopardy of losing its status as a society.

Council tabled a decision until the GCA elects a new executive at an annual general meeting.

County administration requires the CGA hold an election by Feb. 15 before the organization loses its society status, says Heather Nanninga, director of corporate services.

“Let’s wait for a new executive and see what their priorities are,” North Gilwood- Triangle Councillor Ken Matthews says.

He says the new executive may not want to maintain the rink.

“We want to make sure we have an elected board to work with,” Grouard Councillor Fern Welch says.

“People in the community are anxious to have an election.”

Currently the issue is in the hands of the county.

“We have a dilapidated rink on our property,” CAO Jordan Panasiuk says.

“It’s our responsibility right now.”

Administration recommends that the county draft a new agreement with the CGA and repair the rink.

The county contacted the CGA which temporarily agreed to transfer ownership of the rink to the county, Nanninga says.

If the CGA meets the criteria and grant funding requirements by Oct. 31, 2019, the county will enter a lease agreement for the old Grouard fire hall for the CGA to use.

However, Welch says the old fire hall should not be considered because it is in poor condition.

“It’s unusable, it’s disgusting,” Welch says.

If the CGA meets the criteria of he grant policy, the county will provide funding again.

The CGA also wants lighting to allow people to use the rink in the evenings, the report says.

Since the rink is on the wrong lots as defined in the agreement, the lots require council to rezone to parks and institutional from residential.

The rink also encroaches on an undeveloped county road.

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