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A number of community members and dignitaries were on hand for the first “official” puck drop at the newly completed Wasa and District Lion’s Pete Vereshagen Memorial Rink.
The Wasa and District Lion’s Club has always maintained a rink in Wasa and it has been a popular winter fixture in the community; however, without a proper concrete pad at the facility, it was difficult to retain a quality ice surface. The Lions Club and Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) applied for funding through the Provincial Community Recreation Program and received $70,482 in 2012.
Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett was another advocate for the project. “I am so happy to see the Wasa outdoor rink completed. Jane Walter deserves the credit and I am pleased for Jane as well. She worked so hard to make this happen,” says MLA Bennett. “As senior as I am getting to be these days, I hope that I can come for a skate someday soon on Wasa's beautiful, new, outdoor ice rink!"
The rink project included building a concrete pad, rink boards and a storage shed/warming hut in addition to the installation of additional outdoor lights.
Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) allocated $8800 to the project through its Community Development Program. “Being able to access this new, quality rink will help Wasa residents be physically active and increase community well-being,” says Katherine Hamilton, Columbia Basin Trust Community Liaison. “Skaters of all ages and abilities will be able to take advantage of improved recreation opportunities and have a lot of fun and enjoyment on this new outdoor rink.”
Prior to being awarded the funding, the Lion’s Club raised thousands of dollars for the rink by selling rink boards with business and individual donators’ names on them. “We are so grateful to the Province, CBT, RDEK and the many businesses and individuals who supported this project. The Lion’s have had a vision of improving this piece of recreational infrastructure for residents and visitors. We are so excited to officially open the rink and have this asset in our community,” say the Lion’s.
The project was administered by the RDEK and Electoral Area E Director Jane Walter says it is truly a community project. “I want to thank the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett and CBT for their support of the outdoor rink,” says Director Walter. “The community of Wasa has a big heart and this project would not have been possible without the generosity and hard work of the volunteers who have put in countless hours from planning right through the construction.”The concrete slab is 72 feet wide by 168 feet long and was designed and constructed by Western Recreation Ltd, a specialty ice rink contractor based in Red Deer. The rink will be maintained by volunteers from the Lion’s Club, is free to use and is well lit at night.
The community is planning its first Winterfest Celebration at the Wasa and District Lion’s Pete Vereshagen Memorial Rink on December 31, 2014 from Noon to 4pm and everyone is invited to come out and celebrate this new community jewel.