Skate Rental Will Be Available Again at Kelowna Outdoor Rink | New


Kelowna’s most recognizable skate rental company has stayed away from the pandemic so far, but can’t wait to get back on its feet and get back to business next week.

Kevin Laflamme will return on December 1 to his familiar winter location, inside a trailer with a giant wooden skate on its roof, next to the Stuart Park ice rink on the downtown waterfront.

Owner of Bladez, Laflamme has had the town’s concession to rent skates at Stuart Park since 2015. But the COVID-19 pandemic put the business on ice last winter, as public health orders limited it. use of the rink and prevented the sharing of equipment such as skates. .

“Of course, they were understandably worried about crowds and having skate rentals available would have led to large crowds,” Laflamme said in an interview Thursday.

Laflamme had worked nearly 50 years in retail and as a baker before starting the skate rental business, which sees him at Stuart Park every day during the skating season except Christmas Day.

“At first I thought it would be pretty nice to take some free time,” he said of the pandemic-induced break from his business. “But I missed my tree. I did absolutely nothing. It was the worst winter of my life.

“Like everyone else, I couldn’t go anywhere, I couldn’t travel, I was practically homebound,” he said. “So I bought a drum set and started playing the drums. “

Although the rink opened for 45 days last winter to people bringing their own skates, its capacity was limited and users had to book their skating times in advance.

About 14,000 skaters used the rink last year, up from about 50,000 in the unrestricted winter of 2018-19, when the rink was open for a record 99 days, said arena supervisor Steve Fagan. .

This year, the city is planning a return to a simple format with no reservations, no fencing or barriers around the rink to limit the number of people on the rink at all times, and no need for users to show a COVID -19 logbook. vaccination.

“Skating at Stuart Park is one of the highlights of winter in Kelowna and we are excited to return to a casual, walk-in model, but we encourage all participants to be safe and comfortable. caring about others, ”Fagan said. .

Depending on the weather and ice conditions, the rink will be open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Laflamme will be at the rink, rental of skates every day, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the same rate of $ 5 for adults and $ 4 for children.

“I know a lot of people couldn’t skate on the ice last year when they wanted to,” says Laflamme. “I think we’re going to have a pretty busy year this year. “


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