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'It's huge': Covered rink for Roblin Park Community Centre proposed in city's newest budget

The outdoor rink at the Roblin Park Community Centre. (Source: Roblin Park Community Centre/Facebook) The outdoor rink at the Roblin Park Community Centre. (Source: Roblin Park Community Centre/Facebook)
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There is excitement in Roblin Park and the surrounding area regarding the news that the community centre could soon have a covered outdoor rink.

As part of the proposed budget the city unveiled on Wednesday, plans were laid out to have a covered rink constructed in the next few years.

The project is projected to cost $1.5 million and completion could be in 2027.

“It’s huge,” said Alex Heese, the president of the Roblin Park Community Centre. “It’s always nice to be able to upgrade.”

Heese said this is something the board of directors had been talking about for quite some time and even brought it up with Coun. Evan Duncan when he was running for office in the area.

“I didn’t realize the ball was going to get carried after those conversations and so we kind of put out the ask, but as with anything that’s kind of a bigger-ticket item, your expectations are maybe a little bit less hopeful. (But then Duncan) called me and mentioned that the budgetary process had been approved and we were looking like we were going to get a covered rink and I’m just like, ‘That’s fantastic.’”

Duncan – who is the chair of the community services committee – said the city has been looking at options over the last year and has been in discussions with Mayor Scott Gillingham about what could be done in the area.

He said they looked at the covered rink at Camp Manitou as a comparison, pointing out how it can be used for a good portion of the year.

“It’s an opportunity for us to reinvest into the community, especially the community clubs, and give them an opportunity to be able to host outdoor skating for a longer period of time,” said Duncan.

Duncan thinks this could be a trend that Winnipeggers start to see throughout the city and will also turn Roblin Park into a destination for many.

“It’s something that the community can rally around and it’s something that they’re going to embrace.”

Both Duncan and Heese agree this could also open up opportunities for other events to be held in the warmer months – like weddings or markets. Other sports could also be played there, like ball hockey and pickleball.

“We can now hard surface that rink and turn it into pickleball courts, which is something that’s just rampant in the city now. Now we can host outdoor activities, outdoor trade fairs. Anything where if the weather is inclement; now they can get underneath and stay dry,” said Heese.

While the formal part of the project wouldn’t likely start until 2026, Duncan said consultations could start right away once the budget has been voted on by council.

“I’m willing to throw some of my land dedication reserve funds at it as well to make sure we get it off the ground and have it ready to rock and roll in 2026 and then the construction in 2027,” said Duncan.

If everything goes according to plan, Duncan said he would like to see it open for the fall of 2027.

The final vote for the budget is set for March 20.

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