Some reacted in shocked silence, others whooped and one even did a “happy dance”.
Members of the Skeena Ice Arena Association (SIAA) got the news this morning they had won $100,000 from the Aviva Community Fund to help run their community-built outdoor skating rink.
The announcement came after an extensive community campaign launched in October to encourage online voting for the project.
SIAA member Vivienne Spooner said she was at work when she heard the news.
“I was in shock because I didn’t believe that we did [win],” she said.
“Sure enough we did so we’re all very happy, we’re elated about the whole thing.”
Of the total prize money, $65,000 will be used to buy a Zamboni to replace the makeshift tractor set-up they have been using.
A further $20,000 will go towards the construction of a temporary roof for the outdoor rink, for which the Gitksan Government Commission has also donated $100,000.
The remaining $15,000 will be used to cover the Association’s operating budget for this winter, which it had to spend to get the outdoor arena ready for this winter.
The ice surface is what remains of the Ken Trombley Memorial Arena, which closed suddenly in March because of safety issues with its roof.
Plans to build a new recreation centre were already underway when the old arena was condemned, but an interim solution was needed to keep skaters on the ice until the new facility is built.
The association decided to tear down the arena roof to create an outdoor rink so clubs would have a place to skate this winter.
The arena is now operational, after a crew of volunteers prepared and painted the ice surface, installed lights and built a storage shed for the tractor in November.
More in the Dec. 9 edition of The Interior News.