With the arrival of warmer temperatures and the beginning of the spring thaw, Ponoka’s outdoor skating season is officially coming to an end. Starting today, March 5, the Downtown Skating Plaza, the skating trail in Lions Centennial Park and the Outdoor Rink at the Ponoka Arena Complex are closed for the season.
“It’s been an exciting outdoor recreation season in Ponoka,” said Andrew Jones, recreation coordinator for the Town of Ponoka.
“The new Downtown Skating Plaza was a popular destination for our citizens who took advantage of every opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air this winter. The expanded Christmas light display in Centennial Park was also a big attraction for families and individuals who headed to the park to skate or simply to wander through the trees and marvel at the colourful lights,” said Jones.
“All of these outdoor recreation opportunities were a fabulous benefit for Ponoka residents during the pandemic and they were very well used,” said Margo Kusiek, chair of the Ponoka Recreation, Parks and Culture Advisory Committee.
“We were all feeling socially isolated in our homes and these outdoor facilities gave us a vital opportunity to get out and enjoy some exercise while also making social connections with people at a safe distance. We’re very lucky to live in a community that offers so much to its residents. It makes me proud,” said Kusiek.
She added, “The maintenance of the trails was second to none this year. The snow clearing crews did an excellent job of clearing an extra wide path along the trails, which made it easy to physically distance from others when we were out walking.”
With the ice melting quickly on Ponoka’s outdoor skating surfaces, skaters are asked to please stay off of the ice to avoid causing damage to these facilities.
“The good news is that these outdoor skating facilities will all be back next winter,” said Jones.
He notes the town has been working hard to provide enhanced recreation options for its citizens during the pandemic, and it intends to continue those efforts in the months ahead.
Plans for summer
This summer the town will build another new trail expansion that extends from the walking bridge across from the Battle River Medical Clinic, along the north side of Hwy. 53 over to the Ponoka Arena Complex.
“This trail expansion will be another important step in the town’s efforts to continue increasing the interconnectivity between our trails, parks and the downtown area, which are priorities identified in Ponoka’s Recreation Master Plan and Downtown Action Plan,” said Jones.
“The Town is also planning a variety of special events this spring and summer and will be completing the landscaping at the Old Hospital Rotary Park and at the Tractor Park,” said Jones.
He notes the refurbished tractors will be returned to the Tractor Park this summer.
More details about the special events that are planned will be provided over the coming weeks.
– Submitted by the Town of Ponoka