As the leaves change, you can smell outdoor skating weather in the air. Unfortunately, this winter will be another one without Koko Platz Rec Club providing an ice surface for the community.

"We are still in our fundraising drive and making plans, but our goal remains to have it up and running for the winter of 2024-25. So, that's the goal we are working towards," says the board chair, Julene Toews-Dewis.

The project is set to cost Koko Platz $500,000, according to Toews-Dewis. To date, $415,000 has already been raised.

File Photo.Julene Toews-Dewis.

"We would have loved to have never lost the rink. What has happened is that we need to fundraise for the rink, and we've had a very successful fundraising drive. We are fundraising, along with costs also going up. So, we still need to meet our fundraising goal before we can go out to tender with the rink, but we're getting closer and closer to that every day."

Koko Platz has shared the latest rendering of what the rink will look like in collaboration with the City of Portage as well as the architects and engineers on the project.

File Photo.

"A few key things with the new design is you'll notice that the building of the Koko Platz Rec Centre is now at the back of the lot with the rink in front of it. We're really excited about that change. It will allow for better sight lines for better visuals."

Toews-Dewis notes that other changes include an additional storage shed for ice equipment as well as hoops and other equipment in the summertime. Also, new to the area will be a meeting area between the storage shed and the Rec Club complex, with access to the trails behind the centre.

"That will be a really exciting addition to the footprint of the space."

Lastly, as you look at the rendering, you will see that there will no longer be a roadway off Meighen Avenue but instead be a roadway.

"That will now be a walking path, and that walking path will connect throughout the Koko Platz Park and then around the rink and the court centre that we have, making it a really accessible and nice walkable place for folks to spend their time."

Toews-Dewis adds that while they would have loved to have the ice available this year, they are rolling with the punches and very grateful for everyone who has helped the campaign.

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, PortageOnline encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the PortageOnline app.