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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - For the first time in decades skaters are being welcomed to the old ice pond in Summerside’s west end.
Many years ago, the pond, off Notre Dame Street near the intersection with Greenwood Drive, had served as a source of freshwater ice for the community. Over the years it became a popular fishing hole and skating surface. Use dropped off as sediment and debris filled it in.
The Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association (BBEMA) has been working for more than a year to restore the pond to its former glory. They had been working with the previous owner, ADL, on the project, but the company recently donated the land directly to BBEMA.
Chris Newell and David Allan, both with BBEMA, were busy on the pond Monday morning, clearing snow off and flooding it to make two ice pads. The organization is inviting the community to come and use them.
BBEMA had always planned for winter activities to be part of the rebuilt pond, said Newell, but that was supposed to come next year. However, the conditions conspired to allow for some good skating ice now.
“It’s been a great winter for being outdoors, so why not take advantage and do something? “We really hope that people will enjoy it," Newell said.
It will be a great spot for a pick-up game of hockey, added Allan, and he’s already planning a mini-tournament for his Donuts league.
“I think they’ll love it. It’ll be a great chance to get out and experience hockey the way it should be played,” Allan said.
The men hoped to have surface prepped and flooded by late Monday afternoon.
Restoration of the ice pond is now largely complete, though some landscaping work and the addition of features like benches, a trail and a small bridge will be added in the spring.
Use of the pond for skating is at the individual’s own risk and BBEMA asks that any children on site be supervised by an adult.
There are a couple of points on the pond, mainly around the fish ladder and where the stream empties into the bowl, where the ice is not as thick. Those areas will be roped off, but children should still be kept under supervision.