Go-Fund-Me created to assist community ice skating rinks.

The Kamloops Outdoor Skating Association is raising money to ensure there are well-kept rinks in the area this winter.

The Omega’s Culture Editor Kyra Grubb gives ice skating a try for the first time. (Kyra Grubb/The Omega)

The Kamloops Outdoor Skating Association (KOSA) is looking to raise $10,000 through their  Go-Fund-Me, Skating is Good Medicine. The money raised will be split evenly between neighbourhood associations in Heffley Creek and Westsyde to support them in maintaining their outdoor ice skating rinks. 

KOSA created the initiative after discussing the possibility that outdoor winter activities like ice skating may become more vital to the community this year amidst the pandemic. “Having a place to go skate with family and friends could become even more so important than ever this winter because of COVID-19,” says TRU sustainability coordinator and KOSA member James Gordon. “Our citizen’s group got together and thought, what can we do to help?” Gordon says that KOSA “contacted four outdoor rinks in town to see if [the association] could help raise some money. Two of the four, out in Heffley Creek and Westsyde, said yes.” 

Gordon says that although “there are many community volunteer-run skating rinks in [Kamloops], the quality of the ice varies from rink to rink because of different factors.” He explained that “sometimes [the cause] is mother nature. It gets too warm out, and the ice turns to mush, but it is often because of a lack of equipment and ‘people’ power.” 

He added that although “the city helps out to some extent, volunteers do most of the work, and sometimes there just aren’t enough people to get the job done.”

Gordon stated that “in particular, the Westsyde group needed money for liability insurance, which covers the volunteers who work on their rink.” The neighbourhood association’s insurance rate increased substantially this year from $300 to $5000. Although Gordon is unsure if the rise in rates is related directly to COVID-19, he added that “[he] has heard that rates in many sectors have gone up quite a bit this year in general for whatever reason.”

He went on to say that “the folks over at Heffley Creek need a new snowblower, which is in the $2500 range and you know, new shovels, materials to seal the cracks in the concrete and asphalt, and also just money to host events to attract volunteers.”

Gordon discussed that from a health and wellness point of view, “skating really is good medicine… it’s good exercise,” and it can be an incredibly grounding experience. “it’s just lovely to get outside, enjoy the scenery, and breathe in the fresh air. No matter the weather, [ice skating] is a glorious way to spend time,” he said. 

Neighbourhood rinks in Heffley Creek and Westsyde are open to the public. In Canada, rinks are a real gathering place “and help build community,” says Gordon. If you get out there and skate, “who knows, you might even make some new friends.”

KOSA hopes to reach its goal of $10,000 by Dec. 6. Gordon stated that “any donation, big or small, would be greatly appreciated.” If interested in donating, click here for the Go-Fund-Me.