The Ponoka Kinsmen Club was made an offer it couldn’t refuse.
And it’s one that will benefit the community for years to come.
Beginning later this summer, the club will break ground for a new $1 million outdoor skating rink next to the arena complex.
The club was planning to rebuild the old rink by replacing the boards and asphalt pad but an offer came from the Scott Seaman Sports Rink group to contribute $500,000 “if we dreamed a little bigger,” explained club president Gord Parker.
The province will also contribute $250,000 in a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant toward a full-size rink with artificial ice and all the trimmings, the Kinsmen will provide $125,000 and the Town of Ponoka and Ponoka County will chip in with site preparation and servicing.
In presenting the Kinsmen with the second, $125,000 draw on the grant, MLA Ray Prins said July 3 the project, which should be ready for use this fall, “will be a huge benefit to Ponoka and the surrounding area. This is a quality of life issue that is very positive for Ponoka.
“This is another one of those projects where you put a shovel in the ground, put people to work and have a net benefit for the community.”
The Ponoka project will be similar to one unveiled recently in Black Diamond that was supported by the Scott Seaman Sports Rink group, said Parker. “Artificial ice is better ice and it extends the season.” Users can begin skating earlier in the fall and enjoy the rink later in spring.
Parker said planning the new rink required consultation with the Town of Ponoka because it needed to dovetail with long range plans for the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex. “Whatever they do in the future it’s (outdoor rink) is not in that footprint.”