A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Saturday, officially opening the new outdoor rink cover in New Bothwell.

Travis Doerksen is the Ward 1 Councillor for the Rural Municipality of Hanover. He says construction of the cover was completed in late fall at a cost of approximately $600,000. The community decided to wait until its annual winter carnival before holding the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"It turned out very, very good," says Doerksen, referring to the final product. "It's always amazing to have a dream and to make it a reality and then in the end to actually see the final product has been a blessing for our rec group, our community and we hope that it serves our area for a very, very long time."

Doerksen explains that what they have built is much more than just a canvas cover. It is a wooden post structure with a wooden roof that has tin on the inside and outside. The structure is fully lit with up-to-date LED lighting and the ceiling is insulated. Doerksen says the north and south ends are framed in and completely closed off. He notes they have added curtains on the east and west sides so that the rink can be fully enclosed to keep out the rain, snow, or wind. 

"It so far has been very well received and has been a major benefit to our community," adds Doerksen.

According to Doerksen, the cover has already come in very handy, as without it, they would not have been able to use the ice surface during their winter carnival in last weekend's mild weather.

"This just proves that this structure can help in many, many ways," he says.

Doerksen notes they are hopeful that this structure can now be used 365 days of the year. He says during the warmer months it can be an option for weddings, socials, summer sports, or other rentals.

Konrad Narth and Travis Doerksen at Saturday's ribbon cutting ceremony (submitted).

Doerksen says with a construction cost of approximately $600,000, the project came in nearly $200,000 over budget. He notes they ran into some additional engineering costs which brought up the price tag considerably. Another factor that added to the project costing more than expected is that they ran into a major issue with the fire rating needed for the roof and ceiling. And finally, he says some of the material costs that were required cost more than they had budgeted. 

"As we know building costs are extremely high these days and that added up, it adds up very quickly when you start to do a project this size," he says. 

Doerksen says a number of funding sources helped pay for this project. He notes they had a handful of businesses that graciously donated to the project, including two major sponsors in Bothwell Cheese and Accurate HD. In addition to that, they received $375,000 in funding from the provincial government, and the balance was taken out of the New Bothwell recreation reserve. 

"No direct money came from the RM of Hanover and none of this project will be on for an additional tax to our community," assures Doerksen. 

Meanwhile, Doerksen says they had a great turnout for their winter carnival last weekend. He notes they had a record number of participants in their crib tournament on Friday and says their rec centre was pretty much full all-day Saturday. Doerksen says the only event that got cancelled because of the weather was the public skating on Friday evening and Saturday evening. He notes they were still able to run the ball hockey tournament as scheduled. 

Ball hockey tournament winners (submitted)Ball hockey tournament winners