This morning while walking through the streets of Wellington, I was bemused.
You can see there’s no snow and ice – it’s mid-summer here, you can see the pavement is cracked and uneven – so why is a pair of skates tethered to railing usually reserved for bikes?
The even more puzzling (and sad!) part of this is that Wellington doesn’t even have an ice rink. Someone is trying to say something. This railing is alongside the Wellington City Council chambers. Recently a young girl, having collected over 2,000 signatures, presented her petition (on behalf of the rate-payers) to the Council. A petition requesting that the Council build an ice rink in the city. Our Mayor Celia Wade-Brown thanked the petitioner saying that she was unable to commit to such a project at this time.
When I was a child we did have an ice-rink in the city. We also had a roller-rink alongside it. It was extremely popular, always busy.
My Polish-born father skated throughout his years growing up. There was a lake in front of his home which would freeze over in winter and serve as rink for the neighboring children. Everyone could skate, everyone could ski – it was part of life.
He used to take us to the rink in Kilbirnie nearly every weekend. We could choose whether to ice or roller skate, and he would sit on the seats beside the rink and look on with pride. Our efforts were pretty feeble but we had loads of fun. We loved it. There was no other feeling quite like gliding along the length of the rink, hearing the crunch of the ice under blade and seeing a spray of ice frosting as you turned. I longed to have a special costume – to be like the bigger girls in their sparkly pink leotards and make-up – but I didn’t have the talent or the grace. I spent a lot of time on my toosh.
I don’t know why the rink closed down, most likely the cost of maintenance and upgrade was too high and no-one was willing to take it on. Or perhaps it was just victim of the redevelopment of the nearby site which included building an olympic-sized indoor pool.
If the council were to build a new ice rink in Wellington, the phantom skater wouldn’t have to tether her (the lining is pink) beautiful skates by the roadside, wouldn’t have to dull her blades on the harsh concrete, and could fulfill her dreams of gliding over ice.