Valley First has made a three-year financial commitment to not only make Penticton’s new outdoor rink a reality, but also to ensure that skating and equipment can be free for everyone.
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 complemented by another donation of $ 25,000 in 2022 and a donation of $ 12,000 in 2023.
“As a member-owned financial cooperative, we love to support local initiatives that have a direct, positive and lasting impact on our members and the communities they inhabit,” said Paulo Araujo, President of Valley First.
The three-year donation will remove all barriers to skating, said Activate Penticton president Drew Barnes.
“Not only will the rink be free to the public, but thanks to Valley First, those without their own equipment will have free access to helmets, skates and frames for adults and children. It’s an extremely thoughtful and generous addition to our project, ”said Barnes.
Activate Penticton, a non-profit corporation, began construction on the rink in September. But the unexpected cost increases nearly doubled the original project estimate of $ 438,375. The group needs an additional $ 400,000 to help build the rink.
Fortunately, an anonymous donor from Penticton contacted 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, including $ 25,000 donated by Valley First for 2021. These funds will be matched, leaving $ 140,000 to be secured prior to launch, with more donations gratefully received to support ongoing operations, ”Barnes said.
The outdoor rink was originally brought forward in 2019 and was supposed to be open in 2020, but has been 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 ice rink is located just north of City Hall, adjacent to the connecting road that connects Main and Martin Streets, occupying part of the City Hall parking lot.
“I am optimistic that other companies will follow Valley First’s lead before the end of October,” said Barnes.
To learn more about the ice rink, click here.