Warmer temperatures ruining outdoor skating rinks

Warmer January temperatures may be good news to some, but for people who enjoy outdoor winter sports, the warmer temperatures make outdoor skating rinks unuseable.

City warns not to skate before ice has a chance to re-freeze

Parks officials in Moncton are warning people to stay off the ice until the city gives the go-ahead to return to the ice. (Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press)

Warmer January temperatures may be good news to some, but for people who enjoy outdoor winter sports, the warmer temperatures make outdoor skating rinks unuseable.  

The skating rinks at Moncton's Centennial Park are melting and cracking, which is bad news for for skaters and hockey players.  

It's Michael Craig's job to try and bring the rinks back to life.   

"It'll probably take definitely a couple of days of work. We have two shifts ... so everybody will probably still be flooding until it's back up to pretty much par," he said.  

Dan Hicks, the supervisor of parks and grounds for Moncton, said building outdoor rinks in the city has been a big job.  

"The outdoor ice, it's like building an onion, you've got to do it in small layers," said Hicks. 

"There's no magic to it. It just takes a lot of time and a lot of light floods to get these rinks up to speed."

While it's an inconvenience to rebuild some artificial rinks, Hicks said the natural surfaces are more difficult to smooth out.  

He said the oval at the island in Centennial Park is breaking apart in some areas, making for dangerous conditions.  

"The ice gets very soft and the currents also play into the ice safety, so where it was 10 to 12 inches a few days ago, you may end up with six or seven inches of really not-so-nice ice — that's not so good to hold people up," he said.

The warmer weather is welcome news for John Kernighan. He spent the day ice fishing on Killarney Lake in Fredericton and said conditions are right but you have to be careful.  

"When you walk along you'll sink anywhere from five to six inches [into the] slush," said Kernighan.  

At the moment there is no skating on outdoor rinks in the Moncton–area.

There are, however, a few options for anxious skaters who can't wait for the temperature to drop.  

Anneke Boss, 2, went for a skate on solid ice at the four-plex. Her Dad Keith said he loves the indoor rink.

"Oh we're so thankful for it. My day off is every Monday so we try to come almost every Monday that we can. It's only $2 a person and it's a great opportunity. We love it."  

Even though colder temperatures are in the forecast, it will take a while to build the ice back up to where it was before the big thaw.

Hicks said people must stay off the ice until the city says it's safe to skate.