Letter to Residents

Association at a Crossroads

The Board of Directors of Briarwood Community Association (BCA) are facing some major decisions in key areas and need some direction and support from our members and residents of Briarwood:

  1. Briarwood Pond Rink

The pond rink on Briarwood Lake has been a mainstay for the Briarwood neighborhood, however, we are facing challenges:

  • We are not allowed to set up the rink until Saskatoon Fire and Protective Services has declared the ice safe. They will also determine when the ice surface becomes unsafe in the spring which will be a result of melting and water inflow to the lake and on the ice surface. Our rink season ended prematurely last winter when the above normal temperatures in February resulted in the ice being deemed unsafe. While winter conditions will fluctuate significantly from year to year we are concerned that climate change will result in more extreme temperature fluctuations which could result in extremely short rink seasons which will not justify the work required to setup and remove the rink.
  • We do not have power equipment that can easily move significant snow off the ice surface. The Association owns a quad with a blade and a power sweeper. The blade works well for moving snow short distances such as the skating loop however it takes a large amount of time to move snow off the ice surface. The sweeper will only move very light snow. We also own a walk behind snow blower which again takes several hours to clear the ice surfaces that we have maintained in past years.

Due to concern about the viability of the pond rink the Association has investigated the possibility of setting up a removable rink in the proximity of the Community Centre. The concept we are looking at would utilize a curb structure with a breathable liner to prevent damage to the grass. It would not have the higher boards associated with permanent outdoor rinks. However, this proposal also has some challenges:

  • We require a relatively flat surface with access to power for outdoor lights and running water for flooding. The location must be approved by City of Saskatoon (COS).
  • As the rink material would have to be removed and stored from spring to fall we would also need to consider expansion of the cold storage shed at the Community Centre or construction of another standalone shed.

As a result, the cost of this project could be as high as $25,000 with partial funding possible through the COS Park Enhancement grant. An expenditure of this magnitude would require approval by the membership at the next BCA Annual General Meeting (AGM) next spring.

We currently have a volunteer who has agreed to look after the rink again this winter however he will need assistance. Once the ice is deemed safe, we will again set up a rink however it will likely be much smaller than past years (possibly just a skating loop and small ice surface with a warm-up area). It will be dependent on the ice condition which may be poor this year due to the early snow we received at the same time that ice was forming.

We are planning a membership survey which will include some questions regarding the pond rink and possibility of a temporary rink near the Community Centre. Please watch this website for notice of the survey and please take some time to complete and provide feedback.

  1. Indoor Fitness Programs

The position of Indoor Programming Coordinator has been vacant since the AGM last spring. While we have continued to offer programs this fall, the work is being done by our Treasurer and is proving to be too much work to manage both. The programs continue to be in demand and we would like to continue to offer however we cannot do that without a Coordinator. While the size of the Briarwood Community Association Community Centre limits our program offering there is a possibility of acquiring space in the new elementary school in Rosewood for programs requiring more space i.e. team sports, etc.

  1. BCA Membership

The Membership Coordinator position has also been vacant since our last AGM. As well as memberships purchased at the annual BBQ and for indoor programs and outdoor sports, our previous coordinator would also organize an annual membership drive. She had volunteered to assist with a membership drive this fall however the Board felt that we should defer the drive until we have a new Coordinator. Our membership fees are a significant part of our annual operating budget and we believe they provide excellent value to the residents due to programs we offer and the projects we have funded such as the shade trees for the spray pad and basketball court line painting. If you have not done so already please visit this website at briarwoodca.com/about-bca/bca-membership where you can find instructions for purchasing online or you can print a membership form and mail to BCA with payment. Also, please consider joining the BCA Board as our new Membership Coordinator!!

Next Steps

As the title of this article indicated, the BCA is at a crossroads. If we cannot get more support and feedback from the residents of Briarwood we will not be able to offer the current programs and services. The cost of the proposed temporary outdoor rink would use a significant amount of our reserve funds. While our current financial position is strong, if we cannot earn enough income from memberships and programs to cover our annual operating expenses then our cash reserves will eventually be depleted and will necessitate windup of the Association. Please take some time to consider these issues and feel free to contact us at briarwoodca@gmail.com for further information.

– Briarwood Community Association Board of Directors