By Sue Tiffin
A dead-end road could one day become the site of a bustling outdoor public skating rink next to the Gull River.
Monica and Ben Scott, the owners of The Minden River Cone, approached Minden Hills council on Dec. 9 proposing that in the future, the Dawson Hamilton Memorial Rink currently located at the Minden Hills Cultural Centre be relocated to the north end of Orde Street, next to the eating establishment.
“There’s clearly quite a bit of public demand for space that can be used recreationally, space that can be used as a social gathering point, and certainly we’ve seen plenty of school-aged kids that stop by that area after school or in the summer time they spend many days there,” said Ben.
According to the proposal, “anecdotal surveys have been conducted both online and through conversations with residents of the area, with 100 per cent positive support.” The rink, intended to be free and accessible to all public, is planned as “a destination for families in the area,” encouraging visitors to the downtown area.
The Scotts said the rink could be made larger for the space, parking would be available downtown, and because the area is well-lit and highly visible, it could be readily available. With the rink in place, the Scotts said youth could acquire necessary volunteer hours to maintain it or teach skating, and it would help with the beautification of the Gull River shoreline south of Bobcaygeon Road.
“Minden already lends itself as the most beautiful village around,” reads the proposal. “However, driving across the main bridge [on] Bobcaygeon you see pure magic.”
“What a grand idea,” said Mayor Brent Devolin, noting staff would need to work out the “nuts and bolts” of the details of the plan.
“It sounds dreamy, quite frankly,” said Deputy Mayor Lisa Schell, adding she had questions about liability, and who would be responsible for maintaining the rink. “Very exciting, I love the idea.”
Ben said there is a growing list of local residents who were willing to volunteer to erect and maintain the facility to reduce workload of township staff. Monica added that she knew of funding that might be available to the municipality for the project.
Councillor Sayne thanked the Scotts for “paying attention to the needs of the community.”
“We all have ideas and good ideas but not everybody puts their feet to the ground and actually starts to make it happen, so thank you for this,” said Sayne.