HUNDREDS of skating enthusiasts have signed a petition in a bid to get a permanent ice rink in Bournemouth.
So far nearly 300 people have backed the online petition and organisers are hoping local authorities will sit up and listen.
Mary Waygood was a regular user of the Westover Road ice rink, which closed in 1991, and she hopes a new campaign will see skating return to the town for good.
A recent reunion for ex-Westover Road skaters used the full capacity of the temporary rink at the BIC and she hopes the forthcoming Winter Olympic Games, the temporary rink in Bournemouth’s Gardens and the return of Dancing on Ice to our TV screens will add to the campaign.
“There’s nothing for young people to do in Bournemouth that doesn’t involve the cinema or eating,” she said. “We want a permanent ice rink based in Bournemouth where people of all ages can socialise and enjoy sport in a safe environment.
“Temporary ice rinks are all very well but youngsters don’t get the chance to develop their skills if they are only skating once or twice a year.” Among those who have signed the petition are Paul Sime, who said: “Ice rinks are a great community asset whre all ages can enjoy everything from skating to ice hockey.
“In this era where experts are constantly telling us to do more exercise a place like this would be ideal – good luck Bournemouth.”
Lindsey Harris said: “It’s important to have facilities for younger people in Bournemouth that don’t just revolve around drinking alcohol, eating fast food and hanging round the streets.”
And Luke Evans added: “An ice rink would do wonders for this town.”
A spokesperson for Bournemouth Council said: "The Council is committed to working with the private sector to provide a new permanent ice facility for Bournemouth. Land at Kings Park has been earmarked as a suitable site for this development and the Council secured outline planning permission in October 2010.
"Unfortunately, it has so far been difficult to attract a suitable developer/operator in the current economic climate and no bids were received as a result of a detailed marketing of the site, ending in March 2012, despite a number of expressions of interest. The Council subsequently has been working with interested parties who have expressed a desire to develop the site, but unfortunately these discussions have not yet resulted in a viable proposal.
"We are currently in discussions with an ice rink operator and we remain committed to the provision of a new ice facility in Kings Park. However, at a time when the Council’s finances are under severe pressure, we need to ensure that any proposals are economically viable and can be developed and operated without subsidy."
The petition can be found at thepetitionsite.com/663/912/737/we-want-a-new-permanent-ice-rink-in-bournemouth-for-everyone-now-weve-waited-long-enough/