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Outdoor rinks to be used this winter, Verner arena to open Monday

Outdoor rinks in West Nipissing are officially a go.

Director of Economic Development and Community Services, Stephan Poulin, received the thumbs up from Council on Tuesday.

All of the outdoor rinks across the municipality will be up and running, but with an old-timey twist.

Buildings or facilities that were once used by residents to keep themselves (or their boots) warm, will not open due to COVID-19.

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“Per Health Unit recommendations, we will be putting occupancy limits for a maximum of people on the ice at once and then we’ll also be posting signage that people need to be aware that they’re using the facility at their own risk as per COVID-19 guidelines,” said Poulin. “It’s up to the public to ensure their own safety and that they’re remaining six feet apart and whatnot. That’s from a municipality’s standpoint. That’s what we’ll be doing as per the Health Unit.”

Rink attendants will make sure the ice is kept in good order, do snow removal, and turn the lights on and off every day.

“It’s going to be a little bit like old-time outdoor rink use. There will be benches and residents will be able to put their skates on, and absolutely follow the guidelines and be as safe as possible,” added Poulin.

The Verner arena is also opening up Monday for both user groups such as figure skating, adult leagues, minor hockey and ice rentals.

“Compared to years past, there won’t be as many games, tournaments and whatnot. So ice is definitely available for private rentals as well. All of our user groups are proceeding with their seasons… so a substantial amount of ice will be used at both facilities.”

Despite West Nipissing still being in the green as per the provincial COVID-19 tier system, Poulin reminds the residents to remain vigilant.

“We need to be to ensure our safety. We need to keep adhering to all guidelines and protocols,” he finished.

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