A Mississauga man is fighting to save an outdoor skating rink that is scheduled to be torn down.
Joe Galati has an emotional connection to this outdoor skating rink. When his mother died in 2014, he would come to the Burnhamthorpe outdoor rink because it helped him deal with the devastating loss.
“The only thing that helped me was coming to this rink so I could escape my pain,” he told CTV News Toronto. “I am still emotional about it. I made a lot of good connections here. I learned to play hockey here so I have a lot passion about this rink.”
Galati says his beloved rink located at 1500 Gulleden Drive is scheduled to be torn down this spring.
The City of Mississauga is renovating the Burnhamthorpe Community Centre to meet the needs of the community. Plans include a new indoor pool and expanded fitness centre.
The 53-year-old has started an online petition to save the rink. He has more than 5,500 signatures so far.
Scott Sangster lives in the neighbourhood and has been skating on this rink for years. He signed the petition.
“I think it is great he is doing something to save it. As someone who has been coming here since I was a kid I would hate to see it go,” Sangster said.
The City of Mississauga says the outdoor rink needs to be removed to do the renovation. According to its website, the recommendation to remove the rink was supported by staff.
The rink serves on average 500 visitors per week for four months, the newly expanded areas of the community centre (pool, therapy tank and fitness centre) will serve 6,000 visitors per week year round.
The city says improvements will be made to the current indoor rink at the community centre.
The local councillor in the area told CTV News Toronto a new outdoor rink will be built at the adjacent park on the west side of the property, to ensure residents in this neighbourhood will continue to have somewhere to skate.
Galati told CTV News Toronto he is hoping the city will reconsider and that is why he has started the petition.
The renovation is schedule to begin in April. It is expected to be completed in 2023.