Puslinch Optimist Club proposes hiring consultant to assess if outdoor arena’s ice season can be extended

ABERFOYLE – The Optimist Club of Puslinch wants to make the most of the covered outdoor arena in Aberfoyle.

On Dec. 4, the Optimists asked council for input on the club’s intent to hire an outdoor rink company to assess what, if anything, can be done with the rink to extend the usable ice season.

Optimist Ken Williams told council, “We are not asking permission to change the rink, just to look into how we can improve it.”

Williams added the club would pay for the study and present those findings to council.

He explained the club has been there since the beginning with other groups involved in building the Optimist Recreation Centre.

“We’ve been involved with it ever since.”

Williams said the club believes the facility has been very successful overall through the years.

“Facilities such as this bring the community together as a whole. The community becomes healthier and stronger through physical activity.”

However, Williams said the since the facility opened the cooling system has not worked properly to make and keep consistent ice throughout the entire season.

“We were proud to help build that facility and we want to see the expansion of the ice season, and to make the ice more consistent.”

He said the club wants to bring in someone who can recommend what, if anything, can make the cooling system work properly.

One of the companies contacted was involved in the build of the Freelton arena, which Williams said is consistently able to open earlier and have a longer season that the centre in Aberfoyle.

“We have never been able to offer ice for March Break and we’ve been trying for the past 10 years.”

Williams stressed, “We are not asking the township to spend money on this. The club is only asking permission to move forward with the study to lay out what it is we need to do to make this place work right.”

‘Jewel in our community’

Mayor James Seeley asked for clarification the study would solely focus on the cooling system.

Williams said the study would look at all aspects of the cooling system.

Seeley said, “If you believe there is something to be found, I’m willing to give it a shot.”

Councillor Jessica Goyda said, “I think that facility is really a jewel in our community and that we should all be really proud of it. Anything we can do to extend the life of the season is worth looking at.”

Councillor John Sepulis said there have been numerous studies already, and it could benefit from making use of them.

Councillor Matthew Bulmer thanked the club for its efforts helping to keep the ice rink open.

“In a way this whole issue has been a hot potato for many years and this might be a first step in putting this issue to bed,” he said.

“It is always good to know if there is an answer and what that answer is. Then we can all move forward.”

Mayor Seeley thanked club members for all they do within the community.

“This is just an example of what you do.”

Council then gave its permission for the club to move forward.