Construction surrounding the new open-air refrigerated ice rink at the borough’s Confederation Park has run into delays, and the rink won’t be open for summer activities at all this season, city officials have confirmed.
Upon its opening in January,the rink was deemed a great success as kids and members of the community flocked to it for outdoor skating and friendly hockey games.
Even more promising, and what made the $1 million provided by the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation a sound investment, was that the rink was supposed to be used throughout the summer season as well.
“The skating season is scheduled to take place from the end of November until mid-March, while various types of ball games, such as soccer and in-line hockey, as well as a variety of different sporting activities, will take over for the spring, summer and fall months,” said a release from the foundation at the time.
But, as of this week, the 200 x 85 foot rink remains an inaccessible and desolate area.
All the entrances are locked down with chains and padlocks. A look over the fencing shows trash lining the players’ benches.
The chalet beside it, initially predicted to be opened in February, remains unfinished and a far cry from what was planned - a space large enough to house a garage for the Zamboni, bathrooms and changing rooms.
“There were construction delays that were out of our control, and obviously the rink couldn’t be open for other sports during the summer without the rest of the site being completed,” said Normand Julien from the borough’s parks management and real estate division during a phone interview.
Jean-François Dulièpre, section chief for aquatic activities and arenas, did most of the planning and organizing of rink activities during the winter season.
“It’s unfortunate - after the really successful winter season we obviously would have loved to have the rink open for basketball and other activities this summer,” he said.
The rink was originally built with volunteer labour by Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) construction workers and City of Montreal blue-collar workers.
The rink itself is finished, but the site surrounding it and the adjacent chalet remain mostly incomplete.
According to Julien, the contract to finish the job will probably be awarded at the next borough council meeting on Aug. 12.
At the June 25 council meeting, a contract was awarded to Construction Piravic Inc. for repairs to the park’s “sports facilities, athletic track and trails.” This doesn’t necessarily imply that it’s a contract to finish the work surrounding the rink. The newspaper has been unable to reach Mr. Julien again to confirm this information before going to press.
Construction originally began last August on the site, located at the corner of Fielding and Côte Saint-Luc.
This is the fifth rink of its kind in Montreal - the Canadiens Children’s Foundation started introducing them through its Bleu Blanc Bouge program in 2009.