Valley First has made a three year financial commitment to not only making Penticton’s new outdoor ice rink a reality but ensure that skating and equipment can be free for all.
Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, along with its philanthropic partner First West Foundation, has committed $62,000 over three years: $25,000 for an immediate donation, which will be supplemented by another $25,000 donation in 2022 and a $12,000 donation in 2023.
“As a member-owned financial cooperative, we love to support grassroots initiatives that have a direct, positive and lasting impact on our members and the communities they call home,” says Paulo Araujo, president of Valley First.
The three year donation will remove any barriers to skate, said Activate Penticton president Drew Barnes.
“Not only will the rink be free for the public to use, but thanks to Valley First, those that do not have their own equipment will have free access to adults’ and kids’ helmets, skates and frames. It’s an extremely thoughtful and generous addition to our project,” said Barnes.
Activate Penticton, a non profit society, began construction of the rink in September. But unexpected cost increases nearly doubled the project’s original estimate of $438,375. The group needs another $400,000 to help make the rink.
Luckily an anonymous donor from Penticton got in touch with Activate Penticton and offered to match all donations to the project for the month of October.
“Since that date, APS has received $59,500 in donations inclusive of the $25,000 donated by Valley First for 2021. These funds will be matched, leaving $140,000 left to secure prior to launch, with more donations gratefully received to support ongoing operations,” said Barnes.
The outdoor rink was originally brought forward in 2019 and was intended to be open in 2020 but was delayed due to COVID-19. In June 2021, Penticton city council gave unanimous approval to support APS in making the project a reality. According to Barnes, the plan was to have the rink ready and open in December.
The new rink is located just north of city hall, next to the link road that connects Main and Martin streets, taking up part of the city hall parking lot.
“I’m optimistic that other businesses will follow Valley First’s lead before the end of October,” said Barnes.
To learn more about the ice rink click here.