The Town of Huntsville will have at least one outdoor ice rink this winter.

A new rink will be installed at Lions Lookout Field, while the rink at Cann Lake might be brought back after a year-long hiatus. The town will maintain the Lions Lookout rink, while a community group would be in charge of installing and taking care of the one at Cann Lake, according to Steve Hernen, Huntsville Director of Operations and Protective Services.

“I’d like to think that maybe by mid-December we’ll have the ice surface up and running, cause we’re not relying on the lake to freeze over,” says Hernen of the Lions Lookout rink. “It’s not like anybody’s going to fall through the ice and end up in the water. So if we have a normal winter here in Muskoka, I’d like to think that by mid-December we could possibly be up there skating.”

The Lions Lookout rink will be approximately 100 feet by 200 feet, open to the public with no scheduling or booking, and will run for an estimated 16 weeks to after March Break, according to Hernen. Depending on how successful the rink is this year, he says the town might bring it back every winter.

To provide water for the rink, Hernen says the town is permanently extending and cold-proofing a water line and sewage line to the field. Even if the rink doesn’t end up making a return, the infrastructure can be used for other things, he says.

“There’s always a reason for water up in that location, so it’s certainly not a wasted expense,” says Hernen, citing the field’s past use as an event venue. “Although there’s nothing to connect [the sewer line] to, while you’re digging the hole, you make sure you put all your services in. If there was ever a desire or an opportunity to expand the services, put something up there, at least the services are there.”

Huntsville staff will also continue to maintain the walking track at Lions Lookout Field, which Hernen says will not be affected by the rink.

“We’re still going to maintain that,” says Hernen. “It’s just in the centre where it used to just be a snow-covered field, you’ll see an ice rink out there, and maybe you’ll see some kids out skating while you’re out for your walk.”

Hernen adds that the town is now hiring for a 40-hour per week part-time position to clear, surface, and maintain the Lions Lookout rink, and that members of the Rotary Club of Huntsville have expressed interest in looking after the Cann Lake rink.