<strong>Downton Skating Plaza:</strong> Preparation for the town’s tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 4 has begun, after which the area will be turned into a skating plaza. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

Downton Skating Plaza: Preparation for the town’s tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 4 has begun, after which the area will be turned into a skating plaza. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

New outdoor skating plaza being built in downtown Ponoka

To help bring some holiday cheer to residents, the Town of Ponoka is creating an outdoor skating plaza around the town tree, located in downtown Ponoka at the site of the old town hall, at 48 Ave. and 51 St.

The tree is to be lit up on Friday, Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m., and the area will be ready for skating as soon as the weather permits.

“With the Arena temporarily closed and the Outdoor Rink limited to 10 people at one time due to COVID-19, this new facility will provide an additional opportunity for families and individuals of all ages to enjoy skating outdoors,” said Andrew Jones, recreation coordinator for the Town of Ponoka in a press release.

Jones added that ice will be ready for skating when temperatures are consistently below zero degrees Celsius.

Ornamental fencing has been installed around the area and will be decorated with Christmas lights.

The town advises that the ice will be for public skating only and not for hockey.

Picnic tables will be placed nearby for people to sit at to lace up their skates along with skating mats for users to walk from the seating area to the ice.

The plaza will be open for use daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The idea for the new Downtown Skating Plaza was developed in consultation with the Town’s Recreation, Parks and Culture Advisory Committee.

“This year has been a fabulous year for recreation in Ponoka with all of the new outdoor facilities that have been built such as new park designs, trail improvements and now this new skating plaza,” said Margo Kusiek, chair of the committee, in the release.

“Town council is excited to see this new skating plaza being built downtown,” said Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett.

“It adds to the quality of life that our citizens enjoy and it’s a great example of how our town administration, council and the citizens who volunteer on our advisory committees work together to do great things for our community,” he said.

COVID-19 measures

Due to COVID-19, there will be one entrance and one exit at the new skating plaza and a maximum of 10 people permitted on the ice at one time.

Skaters are asked to limit their time on the ice to allow others who may be waiting for the opportunity to skate as well.

Skaters are also asked to follow all provincial health orders and recommendations, including physical distancing from those outside your cohort, and to wear a mask where possible.

Other outdoor recreation opportunities that will be available in Ponoka as weather permits include: Centennial Park ice trail, Outdoor Rink (ODR) at the arena, Tom Hamilton Memorial Hill and cross country skiing at the Ponoka Golf Club.

– With file from the Town of Ponoka

Town of Ponoka