With COVID-19 changing the look of the holidays for many people, one winter tradition can remain the same—lacing up the skates for some outdoor fun.
Outdoor rinks will be open and available for use this winter in the City and County of Wetaskiwin.
Outdoor rinks in the County such as Falun outdoor rink and Pipestone outdoor rink are open to the public as well as outdoor rinks in the City of Wetaskiwin.
In the City the following rinks are in the process of being completed:
• A boarded rink at the recreation grounds located at 47 Street and 52 Ave;
• Rink by the playground at the recreation grounds located at 47 Street and 52 Ave;
• Rink at Garden Meadows Park located at Garden Meadows Drive and Garnet Crescent;
• Rink at Montgomery Park located at Centennial Drive and 53 Ave.
The City says there is a possibility of building a rink at By-the-Lake Park in January when the ice is thicker. It is advised that all rink users wear a helmet on the ice surfaces given that the outdoor rinks are a use-at-your-own-risk activity.
In addition to the outdoor rinks this year the City of Wetaskiwin has started building a skating trail at Centennial Park. The Parks department is currently awaiting a couple more weeks of cooler weather before the skating trail will be ready to use. The City says they hope to have the skating trail ready before Christmas.
The City has also made cross-country ski trails at Peace Hills Park on Friday.
“We are just really excited to offer some more recreation options for residents,” says City of Wetaskiwin Communications Manager, Ren Goode.
Although outdoor skating is a great opportunity to enjoy the fresh air in an active way, the City is reminding people to be aware of the current provincial restrictions before lacing up.
With current provincial restrictions, outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 individuals and a physical distance of at least six feet must be maintained from anyone outside of your household.
The County of Wetaskiwin has had discussions with Alberta Health Services (AHS) regarding the recommendations surrounding outdoor skating rinks.
“Individuals or households who independently go skating at rinks and ponds are not considered to be part of a social gathering. However, if a group of people attends a rink or pond together to skate, this is a social gathering,” says AHS in their recommendations. “Therefore, groups coming to skate together cannot be more than 10 people, unless they are all part of the same household. These 10 people should maintain physical distance from each other – and everyone else – at all times. Games like shinny or pick up hockey should not occur.”
Both the City and County of Wetaskiwin recommend being aware of how many people are on the rink at a time and not skating on said rink if you notice it is full or crowded.