Mayor Peckford, the frozen one in the centre, with municipal workers at the site of the South Branch ice surface

by Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Skating was an activity that was enjoyed by many on the Creek last year, thanks in large part to the efforts of local Herb Cloutier, who wanted others to enjoy an activity from his childhood. To the north, the famous Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa opens yearly and attracts countless skaters both from the city and from surrounding localities. The Community Skateway in Kemptville provides a much closer option, and is slated to be about five times larger this year than it was last year. The Creek will have an area for hockey, as well as a separate area to provide safe skating for those who are not interested in hockey. Curling matches may also be allowed once the season opens up.

Last year, Herb was in charge of the flooding of the ice, using money that he received from the Municipality under a successful Community Grant application. This year, the Municipality has taken over the flooding and maintenance of the ice surface, with Herb and a team of volunteers also helping out. “Staff have even built a made in NG custom zamboni for the ice,” reads Mayor Peckford’s post. There will also be a skate lending program, organized by Tonya McRae – those interested can find more information by joining her Facebook group at No definitive date was provided for the opening of the Creek for skating, but it hoped to take place this coming weekend.

After the opening, events and activities on the ice will depend heavily on the quality of the ice surface, which depends on freezing temperatures, as well as COVID-19 restrictions. Now that winter has really made its presence felt, Herb plans to have special events and activities take place on the river, which should go a long way to reconcile many of us to the freezing winter months. Details will be published as they become available. Until it is officially announced that the ice surface is ready, everyone is asked to remain off of it so that a smooth surface can be achieved.


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