Chuck Shoesmith, of the Fernie Lions Club and representing a group of volunteers, presented a proposal to the City of Fernie for what’s required to construct an Olympic size outdoor rink on the Fernie Aquatic Center property. The Lion’s Club have stepped up to take a lead role.
The Fernie Memorial Arena has been closed following an ammonia tragedy on October 17th that took the lives of three. The arena is closed indefinitely with the RCMP and WorkSafeBC undergoing investigations to determine the cause of the tragedy, and potentially could never reopen.
Shoesmith and other Fernie volunteers looked at all potential sites and determined determined that the Aquatic Center is the best location.
Shoesmith says Fernie arena users are grateful that Sparwood and Elkford are helping with ice-time but acknowledges that its been tough without their own facility. He says everyone feels a bit lost with the arena closed, waiting for a conclusion and not knowing when the facility will reopen. He says they’ve consulted with the CFF and the timetable is favourable to have the rink built as soon as possible
The group wants to get the ice surface complete by Christmas and they’re getting noteable donation from the Calgary Flames Foundation (CFF). After learning of the tragedy, the CFF donated an outdoor skating rink package to the City with a 200×85 foot set of boards. Candice Goudie, CFF Executive Director, said, “We are very excited about the partnership and the opportunity to help provide leisure ice for the community and support for minor hockey.” Norm McInnis, Fernie CAO, set up the partnership and had worked diligently to make this effort move forward.
Fernie City Council approved the outdoor rink Monday night and volunteers got to work and are currently preparing the site. After donations the rink could cost the City $25,000. With favourable weather Fernie could possible have a new rink for Christmas!
Read the details of the outdoor rink proposal and financial contributions here: COTW Nov 27, 2017 Presentation