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John Kusznier Park rink remaining open

By CJ Goater Oct 17, 2023 | 12:36 PM

Thunder Bay City Hall (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

City council had approved the permanent closure of nine outdoor ice rinks in December of this year, but that number is now down to eight.

The closures were set to include Woodside Parkette, Anton Parkette, Pickton Parkette, John Kusznier Park, Third & High, Wilson Park, Franklin Park, Confederation Drive, and Holt Parkette.

In addition to the closures Waddington Park, Charry Park, and Oliver Road Park are set to be downgraded to boarded unsupervised rinks following the same time frame.

City council has now adjusted their decision sparing John Kusznier Park’s rink from closure.

City Councillor Andrew Foulds led the charge for John Kusznier Park’s rink to remain open ” This particular area, that in my view from a recreational point of view is underserved. This is the one recreational asset that kids and families can use free of charge in the winter.”

Foulds also cited a lack of parks surrounding John Kusznier Park, as well as a higher number of low-income families in the area.

The majority of the council agreed leading to the cancellation of the closure.

Going forward city administration is set to report back on or before December 4, 2023, with the 2024 cost savings associated with the closure to be included in the 2024 budget. City administration is also set to provide usage statistics for the 2023-2024 season to see if further closures should be pursued.

As part of the 2023 budget process city administration suggested the reduction of outdoor rink sites from 39 to 8.

As the process has progressed the amount of rinks set to close has slowly been reduced to the number approved today.

The memorandum brought to council in response to the proposed closure of 31 rinks, was for a reduction of 13 rinks. After multiple discussions, Green Acres Park, Friendship Gardens, Thornloe Parkette, Castlegreen Rinks, and John Kusznier Park were removed from the reduction list.

The closures come as the majority of the rinks set to close have faced lower-than-required usage numbers that have warranted the closures.