By Nick Bernard
Minden’s downtown will be home to an ice rink in the future.
At a Jan. 13 Minden Hills council meeting, Craig Belfry, community services director, spoke to councillors about a Dec. 9 delegation by Monica and Ben Scott, owners of the Minden River Cone, on the possibility of creating an ice rink next to their business on Orde Street. In his report, Belfry said one option was to move the Dawson Hamilton Memorial Ice Rink, currently located next to the Minden Cultural Centre.
Belfry and his staff consulted with proponents of the idea, as well as other municipalities with similar ice rink programs.
“We’re all in support of having an outdoor rink, I think that’s a great idea being driven by volunteers, if that can be sustained,” Belfry said.
At the time of the delegation, work on the Dawson Hamilton rink had already begun, and the rink has since been opened to the public.
“When I talked to Monica about it, the idea that she had was not exactly for this year, it was ‘what can we do in the future,’” Belfry explained, saying the prep work involved in such a project requires a number of protocols, including insurance and the pre-screening of volunteers. “It gives us some time to look to next year to find a new rink.”
Belfry also said there were a number of concerns around placing the rink beside the River Cone from other departments.
“There is a storm drain in there that the rink would be covering, there is access to the water system in the middle of the road that [would also be covered], snow plowing would be an issue,” Belfry said, listing off observations made by acting director of public works Tara Stephens and fire chief Nelson Johnson. “From a fire perspective, it would be blocking a fire hydrant there, so that was going to be an issue for the fire department in responding to issues if they do occur.”
Belfry suggested an alternative location for the rink, beside the fire hall.
“We have a spot where we could move it,” he said. “There is a grass area that it could be moved to in the future. We do have to look, again, at snow plowing issues because public works does dump snow there, so we’d have to look at that. But there are other options that we can explore if [it’s not] on Orde Street. When I did talk to Monica, I said if we do move it to another location, would her volunteer crew still work on that rink if it’s not on Orde Street and they confirmed yeah they would still like to move ahead.”
Deputy Mayor Lisa Schell was moved to emotion as she reminded council why Minden has the Dawson Hamilton rink, noting that the Jan. 11 meeting was taking place 12 years and a day since the boy’s death from leukemia.
“He was a little boy that was very well-known within our community,” she said. “And his mom and dad, Scott and Heather, lost him 12 years ago, and he was very much into the hockey community. This just seemed like a nice way to remember him within the community, and we did a lot of fundraising in order to purchase the Dawson Hamilton Memorial Rink, so I’m very happy to see it revived and being used by the community and that we wouldn’t forget him.”
Council directed staff to proceed with the development of a new ice rink, or else relocate the Dawson Hamilton rink for 2023.