Applications are now being accepted from volunteer groups who want to help offer outdoor skating in their neighbourhoods in St. Catharines this winter. This marks the fifth year for the Community Outdoor Ice Rinks Program. The program allows volunteer groups to build, operate and maintain outdoor ice rinks in City-owned parks. Last winter, volunteer groups operated rinks at a variety of City parks. Volunteer groups are permitted to apply to use any park they wish, but it does need to meet several requirements. The park needs to have a reasonably flat surface, sufficient lighting, adequate parking, as well as access for emergency vehicles. The volunteer groups are also responsible for acquiring the materials needed to build, operate, and maintain the outdoor ice rinks. They must be prepared to store all equipment as well. In addition to the park space for the outdoor rink, the City will provide signage, and training sessions for volunteers on how to build outdoor ice rinks and how to complete reporting requirements. The City will support up to six rink locations and offers grants of up to $1,000 per rink to help cover costs. Applications are due by Nov. 3 at 4:30 p.m. Successful applicants will be notified on or before Nov. 24. The community outdoor ice rink season will run from Dec. 11 to March 31. You can learn more about the program and how to apply at stcatharines.ca/OutdoorRinks.