Penticton outdoor skating rink gets needed donation, but still short of goals

Outdoor rink gets help

The group behind an upcoming public outdoor skating rink in Penticton has received a major fundraising boost.

Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, has pledged more than $60,000 between this year and 2023 to the Activate Penticton Society.

The donation includes $25,000 immediately, and a further $25,000 in 2022 and $12,000 in 2023 to contribute to ongoing operating costs and purchase equipment to make the rink accessible to everyone.

Activate Penticton has been working towards the goal of a downtown rink for two years. They got a green light from city council for the project, located next to City Hall, in June, and ground broke in September. It was to be funded entirely by Activate Penticton, with the exception of infrastructure upgrades accepted by the municipality.

Unfortunately, the non-profit society quickly discovered construction costs were mounting beyond their projections, and unanticipated soil issues have required more digging and infilling than planned.

The society said in early October they are looking at $400,000 in additional funding is needed to complete construction of the vision.

Valley First's contribution helps make that goal a reality before the expected opening date of Dec. 15 for the rink.

"As a member-owned financial cooperative, we love to support grassroots initiatives that have a direct, positive and lasting impact on our members and the communities they call home,” says Paulo Araujo, president of Valley First.

"We’re excited to partner with this inspiring group of volunteers, led by Drew Barnes, and I encourage other businesses to step up in support as well – I know together we can make this happen.”

Barnes, president of Activate Penticton, said they are extremely grateful for the injection of capital.

"I also really appreciate how their support will remove barriers to accessing the new facility. Not only will the rink be free for the public to use, but thanks to Valley First, those that do not have their own equipment will have free access to adults’ and kids’ helmets, skates and frames. It’s an extremely thoughtful and generous addition to our project," Barnes said.

An anonymous community donor has committed to matching every dollar donated during the month of October up to $200,000. To date, the society has raised $59,500 in October, which will be matched, leaving $140,000.

“I’m extremely grateful for all the donations so far and I’m optimistic that other businesses will follow Valley First’s lead before the end of October. It is amazing how the community is really coming together to make this happen so that we can all enjoy a more vibrant and active downtown during the winter months," Barnes said.

For more information on Activate Penticton and how to donate, click here.

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