New Lakeview Park rink “busiest in the city” says community organizer

 

When he’s at home, the crack of slapshots and the swoosh of skates remind Mark Kress of his community’s hard work.

Kress is the Special Park Project Coordinator for the Lakeview Community Association, who recently upgraded their community rink. He also happens to live right across the street from said rink.

“There’s people on it all the way till the lights go off at 11 o’clock at night,” said Kress.

The rink, which had hardly been touched since it’s construction in the 60’s, was due for an upgrade in 2025. Kress said the community wanted the much-needed upgrade to come sooner.

“Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease a little bit,” said Kress.  “[We thought], if we’re due for a few years out and the rinks really falling apart, is there any way to expedite this?”

The community began to fundraise and ended up contributing $90 000 to the $750 000 it took for the upgrade.

Now, the city takes on most of the upkeep and maintenance work.

“What happens is that once the installation is done, you basically sign it off, so the city does the upkeep and maintains it,” said Kress.

According to the city of Regina, “boarded and unboarded rinks are cleared of snow and flooded two to three times a week depending on weather and snowfall.”

Kress says the crews are working more often than that.

“They’ll clean it, scrape it, and flood it almost every weekday,” said Kress. “They’re awesome at getting out there and they have a good crew that goes around and does the city rinks.”

While the city maintains the ice surface, the community is in charge of operating the other aspects of the rink.

“We’ve also made a commitment this year to really try to keep the warmup shack open every single day,” said Kress.

Volunteers unlock the shack each morning and lock it at 9 o’clock each night. Having it open each day as increased traction even more.

The City of Regina website states that there are currently 42 outdoor skating rinks that the city operates and maintains. Most of the rinks are open for public use, with the status of seven of them being “in progress”.

Map of Regina’s outdoor rinks

The Saskatoon website lists 54 outdoor hockey rinks for community use. With a 2021 population of 266 141, Saskatoon has 20.3 outdoor rinks per 100 000 residents. Regina has 18.2 (population of 225 404).

Despite a significant number of rinks in the city, Kress said the Lakeview Park rink was always pretty busy.

“It was busy before, but I would say it’s noticeably busier with more vehicle traffic on the street, which is awesome to see,” said Kress.

The rink is just one part of the larger park revitalization project.

“The whole Lakeview Park project was started in 2017. We need to raise $150,000 to make it more of a park. So, we’re planting a ton of trees, and we’re even going to put some irrigation into the park,” said Kress.

Since its completion in November of 2022, the Lakeview Community Association has yet to put on events or programs at the rink, but they have not ruled out the idea.

“There is potential and plans to incorporate [the rink] into some community events,” said Kress.

Pictured above: Lakeview Community Park rink

 

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