MD OF BIGHORN – With the new permanent outdoor ice rink in Dead Man’s Flats, and ice rinks in Exshaw and Harvie Heights, all on municipal land, the MD is looking at a new policy related to rinks.
The policy falls under the new goals of the strategic plan, specifically managing and investing in sustainable municipal infrastructure, and ensuring municipal services evolve to address the needs of residents.
“It came about when we started discussing the Dead Man’s Flats rink when the community association requested that utility services such as water, wastewater and electricity be covered by the MD,” said Reeve Lisa Rosvold. “While we were in discussions for that, we started asking administration if that was happening at the other rinks. They weren’t certain but they were pretty confident that there was already some utility costs going to the MD from those rinks.”
This new policy evolves from the discussions over the Dead Man’s Flats ice rink that was constructed in 2022. Last week, residents were able to skate on the rink for the first time.
“We wanted to make it equitable between all the rinks in the MD and make sure the MD is taking care of utilities in the same way for the rinks,” Rosvold said.
At the September council meeting, several motions were passed to make the MD responsible for utility charges at the rink.
This policy will formally define the level of service offered by the MD towards rinks and the community associations that manage them.
Under the new policy, community associations will not be expected to pay for utility services such as water, wastewater, natural gas and electricity.
The MD will also establish an annual budget allowance for the replacement of rink fencing, glass and boards.
In addition, maintenance and management of ice rinks will be described in separate agreements prepared by the MD.
Rosvold said the process of adjusting and creating policies was important to ensure that communities are receiving the support they need from the MD for recreation.
“It is important to look at what our communities are asking from us, and recreation has something all the hamlets have been looking to the MD for,” Rosvold said. “This is a small way that we can support the recreation that the community associations have been working hard, volunteering many hours, to provide.”
The policy now goes to MD council for approval.