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Plans are unveiled for a new ice rink in Aviemore

By Gavin Musgrove

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Plans are well advanced for the return of an ice rink to Aviemore after an absence of two decades, but supporters will need to raise around £100,000 for the project to reach its full potential.

Aviemore and Glenmore Community Trust (AGCT) hopes to have the rink installed by December for a five-month period, with the intention it can pave the way for a more permanent facility.

The Macdonald Aviemore Resort is providing the site for the potential covered rink this winter, which costs £215,000.

The Ice 2020 Aviemore plans being drawn up by contractor Ice Caledonia Ltd would be a first for temporary ice in Scotland comprising two parts: one ice pad of 15 metres by 15 metres and a curling sheet of 45 metres by five metres for two regulation-sized lanes.

N-ice one: Hazel Pavitt, chairwoman of AGCT, at the site proposed for a new temporary ice rink in Aviemore.
N-ice one: Hazel Pavitt, chairwoman of AGCT, at the site proposed for a new temporary ice rink in Aviemore.

AGCT chairwoman Hazel Pavitt said: “Having an ice rink back will be really important to Aviemore and the surrounding area. Our trust members gave us an 86 per cent thumbs up for this project and the mandate to progress.

“The idea is so popular locally and adds an extra dimension to the local offering.”

The rink will be geared to fun skating and training, and cross hockey.

Mrs Pavitt said: It will all be undercover but open sided, so we will be able to comply with Covid rules. This will not be synthetic tiles, but a genuine ice rink.

“It will be as close as we can get to where the old ice rink used to be – key to this is water and power supply.”

AGCT is having to run to a tight timetable. Mrs Pavitt added: “We think that it is really important to be up and running this winter.

“We all know that the weather on the hill can be unpredictable and this is another attraction which will encourage people to stay within the vicinity.

“There is also a very important social element for some of our community, who were skaters and curlers in the past and have to travel elsewhere.”

Mrs Pavitt was full of praise for the encouragement they had received from the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Macdonald Resorts, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Ice Caledonia Ltd.

But she said on top of this the local community had a pivotal role to play: “We are going to be needing to raise £100,000 between now and December which is a big ask. The more funding we can get then the more ambitious our scheme can be.

“We would like to repeat it season by season.

“Some of the equipment we are looking to lease to buy would be transferable to a permanent ice rink.

“We want something which starts a legacy for our community especially younger people.

“This project is really important in terms of our creditability, our community and employment. To make it something really worthwhile we need this £100,000. We would be very disappointed if we ended up with a small ice pad as it would not fulfil what we have set out to achieve.

“We think this is really important for local business and the community, and hope people will support us. We believe we can make it a profitable enterprise albeit not massively profitable.”

Around five staff would be employed initially with more jobs possible depending on funds and the rink’s popularity.

AGCT now has “some critical applications in with funding bodies and discussions are ongoing”.

The trust hopes the project will show HIE ‘it has the right stuff’ to take on other projects and ultimately the running of Cairngorm Mountain.

A Macdonald Aviemore Resort spokesman said they were delighted to be working with relevant stakeholders to “explore this exciting opportunity to enhance the village’s leisure facilities”. He said: “We look forward to progressing this project for the benefit of Aviemore and the wider area.”

An HIE spokesman said: “When AGCT made us aware of their idea for a pop-up ice rink, we agreed it seems a potentially good project for them. We are now in discussion with the trust about how we might be able to support them to take the project forward.”

Murray Ferguson, the CNPA’s director of planning and rural development, said: “We are aware of the desire for an ice rink to return to Aviemore.

“An application has been made by AGCT to the Green Recovery Fund to which we have had 27 applications, indicating both the seriousness of the Covid situation and the strong commitment of local organisations to recover and make a difference.

“We expect to make an announcement on which applications have been successful in early October.”

Anyone keen to find out more information about the project; get involved in fundraising or wanting to donate can contact Mrs Pavitt by email at hazel.pavitt@aviemoreglenmoretrust.org for more information.

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