In the News: Parliament Hill ice rink cost about $100,000 a day: documents

The Canada 150 rink on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Dec. 7, 2017.
THE CANADIAN PRESS

Excerpted from the Globe and Mail on June 1, 2018 | Read the full story

An $8.2-million ice rink set up on Parliament Hill over the winter was used by about 150,000 skaters, newly disclosed government documents show – averaging a cost of about $53 a person or $100,000 a day.

The free-to-use Canada 150 rink was initially unveiled for a three-week run on Parliament in December, along with a lengthy set of rules: there was to be no hockey, no tag, no carrying children, and no speed or figure skating. After media reports about the cost, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly decided to keep the rink open an extra two months, until Feb. 25.

The government response said the final bill was unknown. But the total cost, including the construction, tournament and two-month extension adds up to $8.2-million, according to the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.

That works out to about $53 a person, $9,300 an hour of public skating time or $100,000 a day.

“This ice rink had the potential to be a fun and spontaneous experience for Canadians,” Conservative heritage critic Peter Van Loan said in a statement. “Unfortunately, because of the Liberal government’s fiscal mismanagement, costs were allowed to run out of control. Once again the Liberals have through incompetence taken an idea with great potential and turned it into a disappointment.“