Eckville skating rinks open for the season

Eckville Fire Department crew members preparing the second rink. submitted photo
Eckville's two fire trucks. Submitted photo
File photo

Eckville’s two outdoor skating rinks, both located at 55A St. and 55 Ave. are now open for residents. The free-to-use rinks are open all day, with decorative lights turning on after dark, until around 10:30 p.m.

“We do this to support the community and to make sure the community has a place to go when the big arena is not open. A lot of the kids enjoy having that outdoor spot where they don’t need to check-in, they can go anytime they want,” said Lieutenant John Philips, of the Eckville Fire Department.

Given the lack of water supply in the area, the Eckville Fire Department hauls in the water to flood the rinks.

“We do our best to try and get as much of the snow off as we can before we flood it. If you flood it with a bunch of snow in there, it creates a lot of ice bubbles and the ice itself is fairly brittle at that point. We get as much snow off as we can and we try to do about an eighth to a quarter of an inch with every spray of thickness, and then we build up the ice. We try and get it up to about two or three inches by spraying it continuously, multiple times a day, for a week or two.

“Once the ice is boarded down, with help from the arena, it is then cut and is cleaned up before welcoming pubic,” said Philips.

The town owns both skating rinks and installs lights to offer a greater experience. The rinks are made possible with all the volunteer’s hard work.

The fire department’s new truck was instrumental in preparation of the ice rinks. Eckville’s older 611 Rapid Brush Truck perfectly served its purpose, until it was time for a replacement, said Philips.

“Our old truck served the community for many years. It started its life at Lacombe Fire Department as a rescue truck and was repurposed to Eckville about nine years ago. Since then it has been our rapid response for medical, vehicle accidents, and especially grass/brush fires.

“Its replacement, 668, comes specifically built for the needs of our community. This new tool will help us by having an updated pump for better extinguishing, brighter scene lighting, more storage space for scene clean-ups, as well as it’s rigged properly to haul our side by side to future off-road calls. We at Eckville Fire are extremely excited for the new possibilities that this truck brings. If you see us out and about with it, please make a point to say hello and we will gladly take you through it,” Philips concluded.