Funding deadline for Uptown skating rink postponed

On Monday evening, the public square’s fundraising committee announced to city council that they had raised $200,000 towards the $426,000 needed to build a skating rink in Uptown Waterloo.

Council approved the motion, directing city staff to put forward a work tender to complete the skating rink for this winter, on the grounds that the remaining funds are raised by Oct. 19.

Only Jan d’Ailly, city councillor for ward six, was against the motion, as he wanted council to match $0.50 to every dollar raised, in addition to putting the work tender for the rink forward to ensure that the goal would be met.

As the original deadline for the funds was Sept. 21, the extension does present an opportunity for making the skating rink a reality this winter.

However, the fundraising committee expected greater support, including financial backing by the city.

“Our group is disappointed that tonight they did not say that ‘we’re going ahead, we will support you, you raise what you can raise and we’ll fill in the gap,’” said Paul Rossi, a member of the fundraising committee.

Rossi conveyed that d’Ailly’s suggestion of matching a portion of the funds raised would have been incredibly beneficial.

Since it is uncertain if the rink will open this winter, the committee is concerned about failing those who have already donated towards the effort in the event that construction is postponed until 2010.

“What message does that send out to our donors?” asked Rossi.

The uncertainty will be another challenge that the committee will have to overcome in securing more donors in the coming weeks.

There have been 26 individual donors and two corporate donors contributing to the $200,000 that has been raised thus far.

Talks with other sponsors are ongoing, but Rossi would not provide specific details as the donations have not been confirmed.

The fundraising committee will continue to work diligently to raise the remaining money necessary for the rink.

“We’re still really upbeat,” said Rossi. “We’re going to raise this money and we’re going to do our best to raise it.”

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