Bathurst waterfront

The $100,000 artificial ice surface is expected to be open in time for the summer tourism season, Bathurst officials say. (Courtesy of City of Bathurst)

The City of Bathurst is going ahead with a plan to build a $100,000 artificial ice surface in a new gazebo along its waterfront.

Scott Ferguson, chair of the waterfront development committee, says when the gazebo was built, the initial plan was to have an outdoor rink in the winter.

But the costs of maintaining it with fluctuating temperatures proved too much and a year-round synthetic surface seemed like a good alternative for the Promenade Waterfront Park, he said.

“I was at the hockey game on Friday night —  I got some mixed reviews about it. ‘You're spending what?’ A lot of people are excited, but a lot of people think you're kind of crazy to put that amount of money.

“But I said, ‘Well, listen, it's money that's earmarked towards stuff for tourism.’ The idea that people have that any time you get government money it has to be spent on a road  or whatever because mark my words if I could get $100,000 and help pave some of the potholes or whatever I'd do that, but this money is earmarked towards that.”

Ferguson hopes the outdoor ice rink will be used all year, including for special summer events. There will be a cover to put over the fake ice when the surface is being used for entertainment, he said.

The surface itself will come in about 200 pieces and fit  together like a jigsaw puzzle.

He expects the rink will open in time for the summer tourism season.