The Town of Banff will not have an outdoor skating rink at either the high school or on Bear Street this year, and according to the report from administration in the Nov. 8 meeting agenda, the Town is not planning to have outdoor skating at the Fenlands and the rec grounds rink will not be ready until January 2023.
Considering the amount of discussion that went into visitor experience surrounding the Banff Avenue closure, I'm surprised the decision went in this direction regarding outdoor skating on Bear Street. I would have thought a skating rink at the Bear Street lot would have been a no-brainer for bringing more foot traffic to the part of town that was more seriously impacted by the combination of COVID-19 and the extended construction last year.
The way the start of winter is going, I'm concerned about how large of a window we will have for wild ice skating. We have been spoiled the last two winters with excellent skating conditions.
While there is always the Fenlands, it's not as easy to get there during public skating hours and it's also indoors. We are still experiencing a public health emergency and outdoor recreation options are still preferable for my family when available.
I strongly urge council to consider setting up the outdoor rink next to the Fenlands so we have at least one reliable outdoor skating option.