Huntsville approves outdoor skating rink at River Mill Park
Huntsville General Committee approved a skating rink to be installed at River Mill Park, in the October 25, 2023, meeting.
The Huntsville Chamber of Commerce requested permission install the ice rink, which will be set up for the 2023-2024 winter season.
Executive Director, Kelly Haywood, indicated that they installed a rink at the park prior to Covid and it was popular, however, it was small. They want to go to a larger size this year, with lighting for night skating, a snow village around it, and to have rubber matts in the bandshell for a place to sit and put skates on.
Haywood added that given the unpredictability of the weather they will build it in December, with the goal to start skating on it in January.
She also said that given it will be downtown, “it will compliment Huntsville as a winter destination.”
The Chamber also requested that the Town waive the fee for use of the park, and they will maintain and clean the rink, and install and uninstall it.
The Town agreed to the installation provided the Chamber’s insurance and indemnification is to their satisfaction.
Councillor, Monty Clouthier, expressed concern about the ground not being level at the park.
Haywood advised they will have it levelled by a reputable company experienced with the installation, including use of a subfloor to ensure the rink is flat. She said, “The company we worked with is confident that we can make it level.”
She added that the water needed to flood the rink will be delivered by a water truck, and after that they will get it from the river.
Deputy Mayor, Dan Armour, inquired whether they applied to HMATA (Municipal Accommodation Tax Association) to cover the rental fees for the park, prior to requesting the Town waive them. (The organization generates funding in support of promoting tourism in the Town.)
Haywood indicated they hadn’t.
In a later discussion with the Committee Armour suggested “having them research HMATA first before waiving the fees.” He indicated the Town had a similar situation last year with another organization.
Director of Financial Services/Treasurer, Julia McKenzie, advised, “Last year we did have that issue come up, and we did come up with the new fee Financial Request Policy, and that did give some flexibility for our CAO to approve items that were kind of outside our user fee By-law. This is something that really is outside our user fee By-law because we wouldn’t rent that facility in the winter for that period of time. So, we do have the ability to waive the fee.”
Committee waived the fee.