Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.
If we're going to have a rink at Parliament Hill, let's do it right: Mochama
When it comes to these kinds of splashy moments, Ottawa has all the imagination of a parody Twitter account, which is to say, none, writes Vicky Mochama.
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For the first time all year, there’s something exciting happening on Parliament Hill.
The Heritage Ministry announced they'll be installing an ice rink on the east lawn of the Hill. Currently under construction and slated to open in December, the rink comes with boards, stands and something Ottawa does not need in December: a cooling system.
But it caught the eye of the politicians and the press who ruin and improve everything in equal measure with their questions. They found out that the rink will cost $5.6 million, which seems expensive. However, they're going to take down the whole thing then donate it to a community, which is nice. I'd guess a community that needs an ice rink has some other pressing needs, but the politicians are going to have to load the rink off the truck (or at least be photographed doing so before hitting the podium for the inevitable speech), so that's a prime opportunity to ask them for clean drinking water or a good school.
That said, if we’re going to do something like this, we should spend what it costs to do it right. At the moment, the rink isn’t much more than a played-out cultural symbol in front of an old building. The planned 32-team peewee hockey tournament sounds all right if you're into hockey, but if you're not (I’m not) then there's not much for you.
There are so many ways it could have been improved. For one thing: instead of a hockey rink, why not a whole lawn of hot tubs? Why zig when you can relax?
I have more. For at least four million more dollars, we could have made the rink tiltable and turned it into a giant pinball machine. Imagine Red Bull's Crashed Ice series but with several dozen tourists.
What about a skating rink with trampoline sections around the — I wanna say free-throw area? What's the honourable minister for Innovation, Science and Economic Development doing if he's not solely dedicated to convening our brightest and best technology companies to figure out a springy hockey rink?
When it comes to these kinds of splashy moments, Ottawa has all the imagination of a parody Twitter account, which is to say, none. Consider that, at the moment, the city of Ottawa, Canadian Heritage and the National Capital Commission are arguing over what should cover Centre Block during the decade-plus-long renovations that will start in 2018. Mayor Jim Watson’s idea? "When the building shuts down, we can’t have just a grey tarp,” said Watson. He would like a more colourful tarp.
We can do better than that. Had I been asked, I would have suggested covering the façade with newspapers, if only to keep the industry in business for a decade longer. That's two problems solved.
This government claims to be a fan of consultations yet I wasn't consulted about either the rink or the renovations. I can't see why not.