Orillia Council has approved temporary measures to get user groups back on the ice at Rotary Place as soon as possible.
At a special meeting on Dec. 1, 2022, Council authorized staff to execute an agreement for the rental, installation and other potential costs associated with installing a temporary refrigeration system at Rotary Place for up to 18 months with a total cost limit of $425,000. The funding was allocated from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve.
“We understand the significant impact the loss of the ice at Rotary Place has had on our ice user groups. While long-term solutions for the operation of ice at Rotary Place will be contemplated later this month, this temporary solution will provide certainty for user groups and our community for the remainder of the ice season and beyond should it be required,” said Mayor Don McIsaac. “The City has allocated costs from a reserve that was created to offset extraordinary, unforeseen one-time expenses such as this and will not impact the 2022 or 2023 tax levy.”
The City explored three primary options and considered various factors when reviewing possible short-term solutions, including short-term modifications and adjustments to the existing cooling tower/refrigeration system, synthetic and refrigerated outdoor ice surface systems, and the rental of alternative refrigeration equipment. The most appropriate solution based on numerous factors including cost, availability and timelines was the rental of alternative refrigeration equipment that can run independently of the system currently at Rotary Place.
The City is working towards getting user groups back at Rotary Place by early January. It is anticipated that the blue pad ice surface will be available to user groups and the public the first week of January 2023. Staff will then focus on installing the green pad ice surface by mid-January 2023. Provided there are no unforeseen issues, ice usage on both pads will be accommodated as per the original ice season schedule.
Regular updates regarding the progress for implementation and ice installation will be provided directly to user groups as well as posted on the City’s website and social media channels. Updates regarding drop-in ice programming will be provided once available.
It is anticipated a report regarding long-term solutions for the operation of Rotary Place will be presented to Council for consideration on Dec. 7, 2022.