The Tomato

Photo: Kim Wiens

Neighbourhood to become local alternative to Rideau Canal

In an unprecedented move, the Ottawa City Council has decided to convert Sandy Hill into a giant outdoor skating rink, after mounting  frustrations about the Rideau Canal opening late. The City has taken the controversial decision to convert one of Ottawa’s most well-known neighbourhoods into a full-fledged skating rink, after noticing that it was actually cheaper to create a neighbourhood wide ice rink than to remove the ice. 

The new community-wide rink will be complete with ski lifts to help people navigate the icy, hilly streets. The City hopes the move will generate much-needed income from the admittance fees they’ll charge, as well as making the most of the perennial issue of Sandy Hill’s icy streets.

The decision comes as the council recently reported an avalanche of complaints and lawsuits from University of Ottawa students, who have been constantly slipping on the rink-like streets of Sandy Hill this year. 

“It’s such a challenge gliding through Sandy Hill during the winter that I just wear my skates to class,” said second-year English student, Paul LaRice. 

Indeed many residents of the Ottawa’s prime student locale had been falling over themselves trying to get the proper changes made. Residents of the neighbourhood said they had felt the council was giving their complaints the cold shoulder, and hoped that the council would take action before things reached a boiling point.

There are some naysayers of course, with critics calling this kind of extravagant government spending the first step on a slippery slope and the “polar opposite” of what Sandy Hill residents really need.

Some observers are more skeptical about the council’s motives and reliability. Political science professor Mel Tice said “Our icy roads are getting fixed? I’ll have to see it to believe it. Although, with the way certain councillors have seen themselves slide in the latest opinion polls, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re just doing it for a photo-op.”

“We understood the high costs involved with this move, but this was no time to be frigid with the purse strings,” said Councillor Sandra Hills, who first introduced the motion. “It’s going to be an uphill battlefixing everything, but we’re ready to make a serious commitment.”

As Hills pointed out, the new skating rink might make it easier for people living in the area to get around, since they’ll be able to skate over all of it, and stop hitting random patches of pavement. Downtown Ottawa will also benefit from another tourist attraction .