Icy attraction hits Springfield

By Josephine Gillespie

KNOWN for its fast cars and even faster planes, Ipswich is set to get a different kind of attraction.

N-Ice Ponds Skating Rink owner Roger Smith said a temporary skating rink would be built at the Orion Springfield Town Centre next Wednesday and would open to the public on Saturday.

"It is basically a rink we're putting in to test the market with the idea of building a full-size ice-skating arena next year," Mr Smith said.

"We want to see the interest in the first rink and see how it goes."

Mr Smith said the aim, if there was interest, was to build an arena that would be capable of hosting ice hockey games, figure skating, speed skating and curling.

He said the Brisbane-based company had been planning a rink in Ipswich for several years.

"We believe it will be an attraction to the area as well as giving everyone a place to enjoy that's cool to get out of the heat," Mr Wilson said.

"There's a very young audience out there and it's an opportunity to bring something to the youth in the area."

The company has constructed ice rinks in Cairns, Dunedin (New Zealand) and currently run an ice hockey supply shop at Oxley and an ice hockey school on the Gold Coast.

"The ice rink is basically a natural progression of the business we're in," Mr Wilson said.

An Orion Springfield spokeswoman said the rink was a unique attraction.

"It's something that there is nothing like around here," she said.

"I hope the community will embrace it and reinforce that these sort of things are required around here.

"Obviously the more the community gets involved and uses the centre, the more we can put towards it staying longer.

"If this goes really well, other people might come on board and say 'let's look at Springfield as an option'."

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said it was good people were starting to see the potential in Ipswich.

"It's tremendous to see people respecting the city," Cr Pisasale said.

He joked he would be one of the first people out next weekend checking the ice.

"We're no longer skating on thin ice. Now we've got a proper skating rink," he said.

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