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MD moving ahead with Ardmore, Cherry Grove outdoor rinks

The MD of Bonnyville is moving forward with constructing new outdoor rinks for Ardmore and Cherry Grove. File Photo.

BONNYVILLE – Residents in Ardmore and Cherry Grove could be lacing up their skates at new outdoor rinks in the future.

MD of Bonnyville council instructed administration to put together a request for proposals for rinks in both of the hamlets, and to begin negotiations with the Cherry Grove Agricultural Society for a rink to be constructed on their land, where the current facility is.

Council has been discussing upgrades to the current outdoor rinks in the two hamlets over the last year, and were determining the best way to move forward on the projects.

Caroline Palmer, general manager of planning and development for the MD, outlined the options and estimated costs for the rinks to council during a committee meeting on Wednesday, April 1. A rink with no roof would cost roughly $645,000, while one with a fabric roof could come in at $1.26-million. If they opted to go with a metal roof, the price would be approximately $1.26-million.

Although administration explored the possibility of a wooden roof, a cost estimate wasn’t given to council due to an inability to engineer trusses for the structure, which is the foundation for the roof.

All of the plans included the approximate cost for rink boards, lights, foundation, and site preparation.

Moving ahead with the facilities being covered was strongly supported by Coun. Ben Fadeyiw.

“I think the need for a roof is definitely there, it’s going to be used all year round,” he noted. “When council approved this in the springtime, it was always under the understanding that it was going to be a covered rink. There’s going to be two, one in Ardmore and one in Cherry Grove, and it could be used not only at ice rink time but other purposes as well.”

Coun. Dana Swigart agreed, “Ardmore and Cherry Grove have had rinks forever, uncovered obviously, and the issue is snow removal in the winter and maintenance overall. So 100 per cent a covered roof.”

After administration inspected the existing outdoor rink in Cherry Grove, which is located beside their community hall, they determined it's too run down and requires demolition.

Since the new outdoor rink would be located on grounds owned by the Cherry Grove Ag Society, the municipality wants to enter into an agreement for the project.

CAO Luc Mercier said starting negotiations now would assist in making the process go faster.

“It’s hard for us to award tender without an agreement to use their land,” he explained. “We’re going to take control of their land for a bit of time for construction and to demolish the old one so we need to have some sort of agreement.”

The current outdoor rink in Ardmore is located on school grounds, and where the new one will be is still being determined. There’s a possibility of constructing the rink on the Ardmore Community Society’s land, but the costs associated with that build weren’t presented during council’s meeting. The spot being discussed is just off of 52 Ave., near the Ardmore Community Campsite.

When the topic was discussed during a Jan. 8 meeting, accessibility for Ardmore students was a concern with relocating the rink. According to Mercier, that won’t be an issue.

“The principal has stated, contrary to what we thought, in a letter this week that the school will still be able to utilize the rink if it was on the Ardmore (Community) Society lands as opposed to the school lands,” Mercier said, adding feedback has been gathered from the community supporting a new rink be built there.

“Previous council did approve the Ardmore Society's plan for their dreams in the future, and the development of the northeast quadrant of Ardmore. That being said, there are going to be some additional costs if we do go with the society land as opposed to the school, like road access, water, and those sorts of things.”

Administration will provide council with a list of pros and cons for locating the new Ardmore rink on the community society's land, along with the costs associated, during their April 8 meeting.

Construction on the projects are tentatively scheduled to begin in June. The municipality is hoping to have the rinks completed by October of this year.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle

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