Winter sporting facilities in the region have received a boost to the tune of $575,000 thanks to the Central Lakes Trust (CLT).
Last month the trust awarded more than $1 million in grants to 11 initiatives inthe region.
Plans to cover Alexandra’s outdoor ice›skating rink have been bolstered by $350,000, while in Wanaka Snow Farm NZ Ltd received $225,000 towards its new base lodge.
Overseen by IceInline Inc, the Olympic›sized ice›skating rink in Alexandra is believed to be the largest outdoor rink in the southern hemisphere.
The cover is stage 3 of the incorporated society’s plans to upgrade the facility, which started in 2010.
Stage 1 included an upgrade of the ice›making plant, making it much more energy› efficient.
Stage 2 was the building of a new curling rink facility, and stage 3 involves covering the outdoor facility to try to extend the season of the rink by up to six weeks.
IceInline assistant treasurer Hugh McIntyre said the roof would result in fewer cancelled days because of bad weather, giving greater certainty to curlers and skaters.
‘‘It will further lower energy costs and increase ice quality as well as improving lighting,’’ he said.
Chairman Murray Miller said to finally be at this stage was ‘‘quite exciting’’.
‘‘I’m sort of at the stage of ‘it’s not going to happen’. There’s been a few disappointments along the way — it will be real once we start digging holes [for the roof supports].’’
CLT chief executive Susan Finlay said the trust had worked with IceInline since the project began, supporting all three stages over the years.
‘‘It’s great to see the entire facility will be completely upgraded. It is a wonderful asset for Alexandra and wider community,’’ she said.
‘‘Skaters, curlers and ice hockey players have had a wonderful local asset. This will extend its use and benefit for the community.’’
In Wanaka the CLT grant will help fund stage 1 of Snow Farm NZ’s new base lodge.
The build needs to be completed by next season, as its lease is up with neighbour Southern Hemisphere,
Snow Farm general manager Sam Lee said the grant had kicked things off in terms of fundraising.
‘‘We’re just working through the consent process and everything is happening at once. It’ a very fluid process and we are excited to be in our own purpose›built space for next winter,’’ he said.