MORRISBURG – South Dundas recreation director Ben Macpherson said he wants a fair way to handle operations of the municipality’s outdoor rinks this season – and although not every council member agreed, the municipality will now operate outdoor rinks solely through unpaid volunteers.
Macpherson’s motion to create “a consistent and transparent operating model for all of the outdoor rinks in South Dundas” was approved at Tues., Oct. 3’s council meeting.
Last year, Macpherson brought forward the same recommendation to council, although politicians voted at the time to pay two outdoor rink attendants in Iroquois and Dundela.
For the season, it cost the municipality more than $3,000 to operate the rinks by paid attendants.
According to Macpherson, several concerns came up last season due to having paid attendants. Not only were staff members informed that there were attempts to make ice at above-freezing temperatures, attendants were also banking on future hours for personal income.
Macpherson suggested that the municipality eliminate the paid positions in order to ensure a fair process, while also abiding by their insurance contract for volunteers to make injury claims.
Staff reported that neighbouring municipalities in 2016 used a standard practice of operating outdoor rinks with unpaid volunteers. Merrickville was the only place that paid someone to make ice for an outdoor rink.
Council ultimately decided that attendants would be unpaid volunteers who have “a passion for their communities, and for providing service to residents.”
The municipality will be providing training, as well as all the necessary equipment for future ice flooding at any of South Dundas’ outdoor rinks.