Ballarat Winter Festival: Ice skating rink returns

ON THIN ICE: Ballarat City deputy mayor Mark Harris says council expects huge interest from the community when an ice skating rink returns to Armstrong Street South. Picture: Jeremy Bannister

ON THIN ICE: Ballarat City deputy mayor Mark Harris says council expects huge interest from the community when an ice skating rink returns to Armstrong Street South. Picture: Jeremy Bannister

Armstrong Street will become a winter dream when an ice skating rink returns for the school holidays from July 1.

The rink will pop-up between Ballarat Town Hall and Myer, with road closures in the area in force until the city’s winter festival ends on July 26.

Ballarat deputy mayor Mark Harris said the festival and ice skating rink were deliberately targeted to benefit residents in the municipality, rather than tourists from further away.

“It is a participation activity as much as anything else and the city underwrites it by right,” he said.

“It is certainly not a profit maker.

“We hope everyone doesn’t see it as a super silly event – we want people to be out enjoying the city in winter like they do in summer.

“It is something particularly for kids, that keeps people in Ballarat and we know local businesses are particularly positive about it.”

Planter boxes and cubes will also be installed across Ballarat’s central business district to create excitement for visitors ahead of this year’s winter festival.

Mr Harris said the rink would host hourly sessions, which should be pre-booked, if patrons wanted to ensure they beat the crowd.

“An ice skating rink in Australia is unusual,” he said.

“We are not a culture that is used to ice skates that for sure, but it is an opportunity to develop those skills if you want to learn them.

“At least last year were booked up the whole time by the first week, so people are encouraged to get in and get a booking, although there always a few spaces for people turning up on the day.”

Armstrong Street South will be closed from Sturt Street to the rear of the town hall while the rink is available.

Bath Lane access will be maintained from the Dana Street end.

The Ballarat Visitor Information long vehicle and caravan parking will be relocated from the back of the town hall to its front on Sturt Street.

Regular vehicles will still be able to access seven visitor parks and two parks normally reserved for long vehicles at the rear the town hall via Dana Street.

The Myer taxi rank will be relocated to two car parks directly out the front of the Central Square Post Office.