Because our newsletter is written and submitted a month in advance to the publisher, we can’t foresee and include any COVID protocol changes.
January was an excellent month for temperatures and saw a surge in the use of the community ice rinks. I believe that all who attended were generally in compliance of COVID-19 restrictions and use of the rinks ran well during the month. All the volunteer Rink Ratz have been busy seven days a week. It sure was a test for them to keep the ice consistent, while also minimizing interruptions. Keep in mind that our volunteers are regularly employed or have family obligations during the day, so it’s a necessary evil to flood and sweep the ice during peak hours in the evening.
On occasion, we have had some major dumps of snow, and our equipment has come through strongly with only a few breakdowns. Cold weather can be hard on equipment, no matter what the age. Fortunately, we do have inside space, although not heated, to keep the wind chill meter to a minimum while the equipment sits idle. The DIY blue drum hot water flood system that sits on the back of our tractor has been one of the slickest additions to the ice maintenance. Between consistently sweeping and flooding with hot water, the surface has remained very smooth this season despite heavy usage! Hopefully, cold weather will allow us to keep skating to the end of March.
It is hard to comment on what the community association plans to achieve throughout the year while we are all at a standstill waiting for the days to return to normal. As restrictions have been added and removed, it is apparent that we have been able to adapt. Hopefully, we have provided some community support through our daycare and after school programs, as well as the outdoor ice surfaces at the facility.
Let’s look at some positives that have transpired, or will evolve, that are not governed by the social distancing protocols. One project was to close the gap between where the wood boards and the frost fence (safety wire) vertically meet at the rink. Depending on where you looked, there was a gap of as much as three inches, creating a puck hazard between the ice surfaces. The problem was brought to our attention by a concerned member. Thank you to Jay Clements from Capital Expenditures for sourcing materials and to the volunteer staff that were able to find a solution and quickly fix the problem.
Another issue that required attention this past fall was the overhead lighting focused on the rinks. We managed to salvage some of the light fixtures and to repair some wiring. These repairs gave us a temporary cure for this winter. The life cycle of these units is overdue. Who says incandescent light bulb anymore? LED is in! With the help of Etienne Bley, our Ways and Means board director, we have secured a grant for our outdoor lighting. The grant will allow us to upgrade to new, LED sourced light fixtures this year. We can also count on a large return on investment for electrical usage. To go from incandescent to LED lighting could see a reduction in wattage draw of up to 75%. This is an excellent green project for the centre.
Also, with applicable grants for life cycle repairs to the community centre, there is buzz that the main gymnasium roof can be replaced over the spring or summer. This improvement would see that indoor activities can continue for many years to come and avoid any costly repairs in the interim. Together, these changes support our mission statement, to facilitate a variety of fun programs and activities to encourage community involvement and volunteer opportunities.
A shout out to all our business supporters. Hoping all stay safe in the months to come!
Sports Director, DRCA