Neighbourhood-Managed Ice Rink Guide

Background and Scope

The information contained within this guide outlines administrative and operational procedures regarding Neighbourhood-Managed Ice Rinks formed and maintained on City property.

The procedures laid out are meant to assist civic-minded residents and incorporated groups in providing public skating opportunities in their neighbourhoods where such initiatives enhance recreational opportunities and are consistent with the interests of the City of London. Through these procedures and outlines of responsibilities, we want to assist residents in providing ice rinks that maximize positive experiences and usage for skaters, volunteers, and the Corporation of the City of London. It is also intended to be a guide for City staff working with residents interested in outdoor rinks.

What do I need to get started?

To be approved for a neighbourhood ice rink, you will need the following:

  • Time: Ice rinks require daily care and maintenance - you must be prepared and available to dedicate time to your ice rink
  • At least 6 dedicated volunteers to help maintain the rink throughout the season
  • One person to act as a main contact for your group who will be responsible for corresponding with City of London staff
  • A suitable site for the ice rink:
    • free from hazards
    • accessible to community users
    • accessible to emergency vehicles
    • reasonably flat surface

Please note that natural ice formations (e.g., natural hollows, ponds, etc.) may not be suitable sites

  • A water source that can be accessed throughout the season to flood the rink (financial subsidies available of up to $400 per year to assist with utility charges)
  • Materials to build your rink base (i.e., perimeter boards and liners, if possible) and the City will provide a hose, nozzle, shovels, and garbage bins

If your group is incorporated, you must provide a certificate of insurance in the amount of $2 million name the Corporation of the City of London as co-insured

How is a Neighbourhood Managed-Ice Rink approved?

  1. Complete the online application form to express your interest in a neighbourhood rink.  
  2. City staff review the information provided in the form to ensure you have everything you need to get started.  
  3. City staff will visit and inspect your desired ice rink location to make sure that it is safe and feasible. This may require you to meet City staff at the site. If the location is not feasible, City staff will help to find a new location.  
  4. Once all conditions are met, City staff will send the volunteer agreement by email for you and your group to complete (and insurance forms if your group is incorporate). 
  5. Upon receiving your completed paperwork, City staff will communicate your approval by email, at which point you will be free to begin building your rink

Rink site selection criteria

The selection of a site for your outdoor rink is very important. The following characteristics should be present:

  1. Location: a flat, level surface of grass, soil, crushed stone, concrete, or asphalt large enough to layout the total square footage of the rink. Locate the rink in a shaded area if possible as this will help to keep the ice from melting on mild days. Consider drainage pattern when the ice melts at end of season. Note: Only City of London Parkland is applicable. No road allowance, boulevards, or stormwater ponds are acceptable.
  2. Water: a water source is especially important and should be located as close as possible to the rink. Cold water will work fine for all aspects of flooding however, hot water if available is recommended as it will produce a better ice surface.
  3. Storage: a place to properly store ice making equipment and supplies (shovels, scrappers, hoses, etc.) a heated storage area is best but not necessary.
  4. Electricity: no temporary electric power or lighting connections are permitted on City property.
  5. Safety: ensure that the rink is in an area that is hazard free (no obstacles, poles, ditches, low tree limbs, close to roads, bottom of toboggan hills).
  6. Emergency Access: to ensure safe entry for service and emergency vehicles.

In-kind and financial supports available

The City recognizes the value of local citizens volunteering to provide additional skating opportunities and the accompanying benefits to their neighbourhoods. City staff will assist volunteers in their efforts where activities are conducted with the consent of the City.

In-kind supports:

  • Expertise on rink location, construction, and maintenance
  • Resource information on rink management
  • Source of water and other utilities where permanent City services are available and proximate to site
  • Garbage cans, garbage bags, shovel(s), hose, and nozzle as necessary

Financial subsidy and utilities:

  • In the case where a water source and storage are provided by a homeowner, the City will provide a subsidy of up to $400 per year to assist with utility charges.
  • The amount of subsidy will be dependent upon the rink season (e.g., an unsuccessfully established rink or poor weather conditions could merit only a portion of the total possible subsidy).
  • Statements/invoices for utilities must be submitted by the volunteer providing services to the rink in order to be eligible for consideration of subsidy.
  • Statements can be submitted monthly or all at once at the end of the season.
  • Approved subsidies will be issued by cheque directly to the person who provided the water source.

Responsibilities of City of London staff

City staff are here to help you with all your ice rink needs from start to finish.

  1. Assist ad hoc groups through the application process
  2. Provide confirmation to the applicant indicating approval (and possible terms) of the application
  3. Provide and post appropriate signage indicating rink protocols and emergency contact information
  4. Conduct an orientation meeting for volunteers to:
    • review new protocols and procedures
    • discuss best practices and learnings from previous experiences
    • provide training around risk management
    • provide opportunities for knowledge exchange and networking
  5. Provide a City-owned water source where possible
  6. Provide garbage cans, garbage bags, shovel(s), hose, and nozzle to support the rink operation as necessary
  7. Receive, monitor, and file completed daily maintenance logs provided by volunteer(s) and alert appropriate persons in case of concerns (e.g., City staff contact and/or volunteers)
  8. Provide weekly inspection to ensure appropriate site and rink conditions
  9. Provide advice on maintenance as required
  10. Process reimbursements for utilities charges up to $400 per season
  11. Act as point of contact between City and volunteers in case of concerns or emergencies

Responsibilities of volunteers supporting the rinks

  1. Adhere to procedures as established in this guide
  2. Participate in training provided by the City and sign off to acknowledge roles and responsibilities
  3. Ensure ongoing commitment of at least six adults from the community who agree to support the rink
  4. Return in good repair all tools/equipment loaned by City for support of ice rink (includes replacement of any damaged shovels, hoses, nozzles, etc.)
  5. Provide own rink base materials if they are desired (i.e., perimeter boards and tarp/liner)
  6. Submit statement of utility spending (up to $400) to City staff throughout, or at end of, the season
  7. Provide daily maintenance, flooding, and supervision of the rink to standards acceptable to the City
  8. Complete a daily log via a provided online form for each day from the time the rink becomes operational until it is officially closed for the season
  9. Provide reasonable control and clean-up of garbage and litter
  10. Maintain open emergency access route
  11. Allow access to all members of the community, through a programming plan that is consistent with City policy
  12. Follow outlined procedures in case of any serious accident or incident

Basic rink usage guidelines

  1. It is strongly recommended that all skaters wear CSA helmets
  2. Parents and guardians must stay and supervise their children
  3. Rinks must be open to all members of the community
  4. Usage after 10 p.m. is prohibited as per the Parks and Recreation By-law. Usage resumes at dawn
  5. Use of rink is at your own risk
  6. Rink users must adhere to all signage posted
  7. For emergencies call 911. For all other inquires call 519-661-2489, extension 4507
  8. Be respectful of neighbours (e.g., no foul language, yelling, screaming)
  9. Be respectful to the ice surface and do not use if the weather conditions are not suitable (e.g., warm conditions with showing signs of melting)
  10. Keep ice rink area clean, tidy up after use, and do not leave garbage on sit

What to do in case of accident or incident

If a problem arises during business hours, volunteers should call the Neighbourhood Development and Support Services office at 519-661-5336.

Deal with medical emergencies immediately by calling 911 from the nearest phone.

If the problem arises during the evening or on weekends, please call the City’s emergency dispatch number at 519-661-4965 and ask for a supervisor to be notified. This number is to be used in extreme situations only (e.g., first aid emergencies). If the situation can wait until the next business day, please do so.

In all cases, be prepared to give the following information:

  1. Your name and phone number
  2. The name of the park site and where in the park the rink is located
  3. The problem as you see it

It is important that all persons involved in maintaining, flooding, and operating the rink carefully complete the daily log sheets documenting the work performed.

The log sheets you provide to the Neighbourhood Development and Support supervisor will be kept in City files. This documentation, along with completed, signed accident/incident report forms will be maintained for reference should any injury become the basis of a future lawsuit.

Signage example

Neighbourhood-Managed Ice Rink Signage Example
Last modified:Thursday, July 04, 2024