Climate change means warmer winters in the city of Montreal making it much more difficult to maintain outdoor skating rinks. So, the city is planning to spend $7.3 million over three years to try to make sure citizens can continue to play hockey or skate at their local rinks through the winter.
Mild winter meant late opening
The weather was so mild last winter that most rinks only opened in late January, reports CBC. In the past, they would have opened in December giving people the opportunity to use them over Christmas holidays.
When temperatures go up, the ice melts or it may rain. Once it has rained it takes a minimum of three days to get the ice back into a fit condition.
The city maintains 262 outdoor rinks. Of those, eight are refrigerated. They may open even when temperatures go above 0 C, but not if there is rain.
City considers more refrigeration
The city wants rinks to be open from December 15 to March 15 and is considering installing refrigerating pipes at some rinks and covering others. That would free up resources for maintaining other rinks. When snow falls, it must be removed and the rinks are regularly watered once the surfaces become too rough.
Preparation has begun
Not everyone likes to skate, but those who do may have felt a tinge of excitement this morning seeing that the city has already put up the boards around some of the rinks designated for playing hockey. This is early, pre-season preparation.
When the time comes, skaters may consult a website that uses information from the municipal government to report skating rink conditions.
With files from CBC.