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New Seymour resident ‘breaks the ice’

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By Pam Kiriakidis

WHEN Philip Crowe and his wife moved to Seymour from Melbourne last month, he noticed one major part of his life missing in the area – an ice rink.

Since first putting on his skates at age 13, Mr Crowe was a member of Melbourne Amateur Speed Skating Club during the 1960s and 70s.

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In his early skating years, Mr Crowe competed in short-track speed skating on the Victorian team for one occasion in Sydney and raced against the father of four-time Winter Olympian Steven Bradbury at a national competition.

Now retired in Seymour, he continues to make use of the ice rinks in Melbourne but Mr Crowe saw the missed opportunities for his new Mitchell Shire community to take up the winter sport.

“That’s my thinking, I think an ice rink here would provide skating for the kids and the older folk and it’s a wintertime thing, probably six or eight weeks over the next winter,” he said.  

“It’s a matter of fostering a love for the winter sports, not just kids, adults too and disabled [people].”

Mr Crowe posted the idea on Facebook, with the community supportive of the idea.

“When I put the post in the Seymour Facebook [page], I got over 200 replies – it’s amazing how many people living around Seymour were ex-skaters around Melbourne over the years,” he said.  

Mr Crowe has proposed the location of the pop-up ice rink as Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre – walking distance for most residents and accessible for people with disabilities. 

Mr Crowe said the aquatic centre was an ‘attractive’ facility where an ice rink would help create jobs for residents.

“We have a terrific sports and aquatic centre here and Seymour has a lot of open car-parking space and facilities like toilets, which are essential,” he said.

“Obviously to run these things you’ve got to have staff to run it, people standing at the gate. There’s usually food then associated with it, kids get hungry, the ice has to be maintained, the equipment has to be maintained – so it would generate work.”  

Mr Crowe said there were several companies that could arrange delivery of an ice rink, coming complete with skates to hire out and a large marquee to protect against the weather.

He said many towns were installing ice rinks and listed areas such as Ballarat, which installed one at this year’s winter festival, as inspiration.

“I just thought if it works in other shires, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work in Seymour. I think it’s going to come down to council support,” he said.  

Mr Crowe has submitted a business plan, consisting of Seymour’s demographics, population and financial consideration, to Mitchell Shire Council.

“All you can do is put it on the table and see what they think about it,” he said.

“I’m sure [council] has a procedure if they get an idea of a plan they like, they probably delegate it to a member of staff and push it from there.”  

The business plan has been acknowledged by council, and Mr Crowe is waiting to hear a response from the economic development team.

For more information or ideas, people can contact Mr Crowe by emailing philipcrw@gmail.com.

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