Ice skating in the Square

JESSICA SUTTON
Last updated 12:00 19/06/2012
The Square, Palmerston North
WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ

ALL GO: Construction has begun for Palmerston North's temporary ice skating rink, which opens on Saturday.

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Construction of a temporary ice skating rink in the centre of Palmerston North has begun.

More than 20,000 people are expected to don skates for a slip and slide on the rink in The Square during the next few weeks.

Owner Gareth Webber said the 35-metre by 15m rink – about half the size of an ice hockey rink – was scheduled to open on Saturday.

Mr Webber said the rink, which would take about a day to construct, would be put together in stages.

The first stage would see a layer of fine dirt put down and levelled out, with a layer of polystyrene placed over the dirt, and a sheet of polyurethane put on top, he said. Aluminium tubes would be positioned on top – a few centimetres apart – where cold fluid would run through the pipes. A chiller keeps the fluid at -12 degrees Celsius.

About 45,000 litres of water is poured over the pipes and it freezes into a solid hunk of ice.

"I think we should get a minimum of 20,000 people but I'm hoping for 30,000 in the month we're open," Mr Webber said.

"It's a great experience. I've been known to have a skate after hours."

The rink would be semi-covered by a marquee and lit up with "ambient lighting" and fairy lights.

"It's not a kids' disco though. It's meant to be a peaceful experience, so there will be ambient music playing also."

Mr Webber said a number of assistants working at the rink had ice skating and hockey experience. A coach had also been hired for free after-school lessons on Mondays and Thursdays.

For unlimited time on the ice, as well as hire of skates, adults would pay $20 and children $15, with a family pass costing $50.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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