Chances of rink's return to Palmerston North on thin ice

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 12:00 18/02/2014

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Ice World New Zealand has vowed to bring its popular temporary ice skating rink back to Palmerston North again, but the chances of it returning this year appear to be melting away.

When the ice was defrosted in August, director Gareth Webber said a return to the city depended on a long-term solution to the rink's electricity demands in The Square.

An upgrade to the clock tower's electricity transformer would be the ideal solution, but initial Palmerston North City Council estimates suggested that could cost up to $100,000.

Six months on, Mr Webber said there had been no change to the situation in Palmerston North and they did not have the city booked in for 2014 as yet.

"It's still undecided . . . with the way we are as a business we do have to know where we are going to be months in advance. We will return to Palmerston North and we want to return to Palmerston North, but whether that will be this year, I'm not sure."

During the past two winters the temporary ice skating rink in The Square has drawn more than 44,000 people - 24,000 in 2012 and about 20,000 in 2013. It did that using a temporary transformer to keep the ice up to scratch, supplied for free by power supplier Powerco.

Destination Manawatu chief executive Lance Bickford said the ice rink had been good for the city in the winter but ratepayers should not be expected to fork out $100,000 for Ice World's return.

"We are still doing some numbers as to how much it will cost to bring them back. I don't think it will be as much as [$100,000] but we can't ask ratepayers to foot that sort of bill.

"It's a commmercial operation but at the same time it's good for the city, so we've got to balance that."

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- Manawatu Standard

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