CAMPAIGNERS have issued an appeal for a developer to step in and make an ice rink happen in Bournemouth.
They say there is massive support behind their call for an Olympic size facility in the town.
Bournemouth council has given planning permission for a rink at Kings Park but currently has no developer in place to build it.
Calls for a rink were given a new lease of life when former regulars at the defunct Westover Road ice rink launched a nostalgic Facebook group and got together for a reunion on the seasonal rink at the BIC.
Mary Waygood, who started the Facebook group Westover Ice Rink – Memories, said it was possible a viable scheme could attract funding from Sport England. “The council say they’re all for it but they don’t seem to be doing anything about it. We’re appealing for anyone out there to put the money forward or approach Sport England,” she said.
Supporters say a rink would be commercially viable if it were big enough. “It has to be a certain size to have international ice hockey championships,” said Mary.
An online petition currently has more than 1,100 signatures and around 12 paper copies of the petition are being circulated.
“I’m hoping for 5,000 signatures by the beginning of March,” said Mary. “It’s important we have facilities for all ages, which we do not have in Bournemouth.”
The campaigners for a new rink can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Independent councillor Ron Whittaker raised the ice rink issue at the last full meeting of Bournemouth council. He asked for an update after councillors were told last October that a company had expressed an interest in taking forward the Kings Park plans. Council leader Cllr John Beesley insisted the council was committed to working with the private sector to provide a permanent rink.
He said: “I can confirm that council officers have had an initial meeting with an ice rink operator and, whilst early indications are positive, we do not know when, or indeed if, they will be coming forward with firm proposals.
“Whilst the council continues to fully support the provision of a new ice facility in King’s Park, we need to understand that we are dependent upon a commercial operator coming forward with a viable proposal.”