FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – Kin Park redevelopment talks continue as council was presented with a revised plan.

On Jan. 25, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Victor Shopland’s presentation included talks of a refrigerated ice surface for the multi-purpose rink and the boarded pickleball court/rink.

Shopland notes the installation will cost just under $1.3 million not including operating costs. Staff will also need to be hired to maintain the ice.

The installation cost would be funded through the Peace River Agreement. The City has also applied for a grant for the first phase of the park’s redevelopment.

“Right now, we kind of look after it when we get to it. If we have a nice, refrigerated surface, you want to really take care of it a little better than the current surface that we get to it. Not that we don’t try [currently], but it’s the way the ice has been, or the weather has been this year. It’s kind of a make it when you can.”

Shopland estimates the refrigerated surface would be available from October to April. The ice’s operation would depend on the weather as the surface would only operate during warmer temperatures.

“If we had -10°C or -20°C  all the time the plant wouldn’t even come on. We would just be maintaining the ice surface because it would just be frozen. ”

Councillors were also curious about the surface’s lifespan, which Shopland estimated would be 15 to 20 years.

Mayor Lori Ackerman notes that Ottawa has four similar surfaces, and believes it encourages families to go outside.

“I think it’s an opportunity to give our residents better access,’ says Ackerman.

The Kin Park revisions include a boarded hockey/pickleball area on the south end of the park, removing the existing ice surface and two ball diamonds, and changes to the parking lot layout.

Staff adjusted the parking lot and decided to remove the previous ice surface and ball diamonds due to the sewer main extension on 96th Street.

Councillor Trevor Bolin asked if the users of the ball diamonds will feel the results of the removal. Shopland said he wasn’t involved with the conversations, but said groups were consulted about the removal a year ago.

“With the road going in, we can’t [keep the diamonds there] unless we put the ball fields someplace else, there’s not really anything we can do in that space.”

The plans have the skate area at a reduced size compared to an NHL rink due to it being too big.

Shopland noted the skate area was placed on the south end of the park because it’s near a new structure. This will not only accommodate people lacing up their skates, but it is also where equipment is stored and has bathrooms for those using the ball diamonds or skate surfaces.

City staff is set to make further revisions after consultation from council and prepare a final concept at a later council meeting.