Nova Scotia

Community co-operation builds new ice rink

Members of the Boularderie Island community have come together to build an outdoor skating rink for children in the community.

Children in Boularderie await temperature drop to skate on new rink

Students Ella MacLellan and Evan Fraser along with the principal of Boularderie Elementary School, Steve MacDougall, stand next to their new outdoor skating rink. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

Children on Boularderie Island in Cape Breton will soon be able to skate outdoors.

Volunteers came together to build a 12 metre by 18 metre rink on the playground behind Boularderie Elementary School, a first for the community.

"There was a little rink over in our horse pasture so it was frozen so we got an old couple of skates and we just skated on it," said Ella MacLellan, a Grade 3 student at the school.

She's one of the children who is ready and waiting for the new ice rink to freeze.

"I was on hockey skates just a few weeks ago and I'm pretty good on them," said MacLellan.

The rink is the brainchild of Steve MacDougall, the school's principal.

He said parents jumped on board; along with the municipal councilor and a local contractor.

"There were 15 to 20 people that showed up here ready to chip in and get the boards together and get the perimeter set up, level it, and from there we got the tarp on," said MacDougall.

All of the materials for the rink were donated and all the construction work was done by volunteers.

MacDougall believes the rink could help keep children active for years to come.

"Well it's going to promote an active, healthy lifestyle and I want the kids to learn how to skate and it's something that they will have for the rest of their lives. The earlier you get them on the skates, the easier it will be for them to pick it up and hopefully continue it on,"said MacDougall.

Two volunteer fire departments filled the rink with water, even though the temperature is still too warm for it to freeze.

That's something eight-year-old MacLellan is anxious for.

"So what we are going to try to do is — we have teams on intramurals — so you can go on your boots or go on your skates if you bring them," she said.

Children may be waiting a while before they can use the rink, the temperature will dip down below zero over the next few days, but on Friday the temperature is expected to get as high as two degrees.

The school has organized a skate exchange for the kids. Helmets are required on the rink.

MacDougall said they will set up Christmas lights and invite families to lace up and enjoy an old-fashioned backyard skate.