FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John city staff have nearly completed flooding the Matthews Park outdoor skating loop and Kin Park outdoor rink.
The skating surfaces have battled through a number of obstacles since mid-November when staff started to make the ice. Shortly after starting the process the city received numerous heavy snowfalls which caused city workers to be pull off making ice to snow removal duty. That was followed by nearly two weeks of abnormally warm weather to start December which melted all of the ice that was already in place. The second go at it started shortly thereafter when the temperature got colder but with the recent extreme cold spell that most of Canada experienced over the Christmas holidays the ice surface was too uneven for great skating conditions.
“Because its outside people think that really cold weather is great to make ice which isn’t the case, said Director of Facilities and Grounds Robin Langille. “The water doesn’t have time to level itself out and freezes too quickly and as a result, the ice gets really bumpy. The perfect temperature for making ice is around minus 10.”
Workers are in the final stages of completing the flooding even with the current warm stretch Fort St. John has experienced.
“Hopefully the weather starts cooperating,” added Langille. “There is ice on it but it’s really rough right now. This is great weather to make it smoother because when you put down the water it fills in the low spots. They have been using the cooler temperatures in the morning for flooding during this warm stretch.”
It’s been a very slow process compared to recent years as workers have had to start from scratch twice. However, with the weather looking like it will cool off to the minus teens starting next week, the Matthews Park skating surface should be ready by the end of the week and the ice surface at Kin Park outdoor rink will be ready by the middle of January.