Outdoor rec pad welcomes first visitors

Chris Abbott/Tillsonburg News/Postmedia Network The 60' x 120' J.L. Scott McLean Outdoor Recreation Pad in Tillsonburg, which opened Friday, has regulation-size boards for hockey as well as fencing at both ends for safety. TN

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The J.L. Scott McLean Outdoor Recreation Pad, located beside the Tillsonburg Community Centre, successfully opened to the public on Friday.

The facility features a refrigerated 60’ x 120’ surface which will function as an ice rink in the winter, and a venue for street hockey and basketball the rest of the year.

The new Tillsonburg facility is named for J.L. Scott McLean, a local businessman and minor sports coach who passed away suddenly in 2016 after a snowmobiling accident.

“We’re very grateful to the McLean family and the volunteer committee members who have worked so hard to fundraise and bring this vision to life,” said Mayor Stephen Molnar in a media release.

“So many people have been a part of this endeavour. It’s a real testament to our community’s generous spirit.”

The purpose of the recreational pad is to provide a place for friends and family to enjoy recreational time together at no cost.

“It’s great to see people already out enjoying the facility,” said Rick Cox, Director of Recreation, Culture and Parks in the media release.

“With the rain and inclement weather earlier in the week (last Wednesday), our staff team had a big job getting the ice ready for use, but they did a fantastic job.”

Cox notes ice conditions on the pad will vary with the changes in the weather, so red flags will be used to indicate when the ice is unsafe for use.

“Although the pad is refrigerated, rain and snow events can affect the top layer of the ice so we’re asking the public to cooperate with us and not use the facility when the flags are there,” he said.

“Our goal is to protect the both the users and the facility.”

Cox reminded users to abide by the posted schedule, noting that the facility is closed from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily.

Sunday night, recreational users included children and adults, hockey players and skaters. But for the enjoyment and safety of all participants, the Town of Tillsonburg is asking participants to respect a suggested stick-and-puck schedule, which has been posted on site.

On weekends and holidays, from 8-9 a.m. is open skating, no hockey sticks or pucks.

Then 9:30-11:30, sticks and pucks for ages 11-plus. And 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. sticks and pucks for ages 10 and under.

Family skating is 1:30-3:30, followed by two-hour time slots for 11-and-over, then 10-and-under, and open stick and puck (7:30 p.m.) until closing.

For the enjoyment and safety of all participants, a set of rules/guidelines have been created for the outdoor recreation pad. These include…

– Use at your risk.

– The facility is unsupervised.

– Do not use the facility when red flags indicate the recreation pad is closed.

– Smoking is prohibited.

– All skaters must skate in the same direction during open and family skating.

– CSA-approved helmets and protective equipment strongly recommended.

– All people on the ice must wear skates.

– Profanity, abusive language not permitted.

– Sticks and pucks only during scheduled times.

– Skate guards recommended for off-ice.

– No food or drink on ice, no cell phones or electronic devices on ice, no animals, no chairs or strollers, no carrying children and no hockey body-checking, no speed skating and no figure skating.