photo of skate rink with eco rink demo

Update, Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - The Town has reviewed questions that have been received about the Glice - Eco Rink.  See below for some additional information.

What are the pros and cons of natural ice vs. synthetic ice (Glice - Eco Rink)? 

Natural Ice Pros 

  • 100% real ice experience 

  • Best overall/authentic skating experience 

  • Best sensorial and physical skating experience  

Natural Ice Cons 

  • Very limited seasonal use (average 3 months) 

  • Very susceptible to temperature swings and sun exposure 

  • Initial high capital cost 

  • High long-term cost 

  • Requires staff trained in system operation and maintenance 

  • Requires specialized ice equipment (Zamboni, etc.) 

  • Ammonia toxicity - but contained 

  • Longer ice-making time required 

  • The public will slip and fall if unaware of ice feature 

  • Cannot use salt on surrounding sidewalks, trails, and parking lots (so it does not get tracked onto the ice trail feature) 

Synthetic Ice (Glice - Eco Rink) Pros 

  • Potential for year-round use 

  • Potential for fewer injuries 

  • Lower long-term operating costs 

  • Non-toxic 

  • Shorter installation time compared to “ice-making” 

  • Not susceptible to temperature swings and sun exposure, predictable user experience in various climates/temperatures 

  • Non-slip for public who walk on it without realizing 

Synthetic Ice (Glice - Eco Rink) Cons 

  • About 75% of real ice experience  

  • Requires specialized lift equipment (forklift) for storage 

  • Skates should be very sharp (skates may need to be sharpened for each use) and it may dull skates faster 

  • Toe pick should not be used and protected from accidental use on this surface 

What is the cost of synthetic ice versus a natural ice surface? 

Installing Glice - Eco Rink is close to $1M less than installing a natural rink on the initial capital installation. Installing a natural rink would require equipment including a mechanical and electrical room, a refrigeration plant room, Zamboni and equipment room, refrigerant piping, a large outdoor ground-mounted chiller, and trained staff to operate the refrigeration equipment.  The operating costs are still being evaluated by Town staff.

Based on the need for less equipment, it is expected that maintenance of a synthetic surface will be less over the lifespan when compared with the maintenance of a natural rink. The synthetic ice surface will still require regular maintenance, cleaning, and installation/removal of the panels each season. 

Is it the same product that the City of Windsor used for its outdoor skating rink at Charles Clark Square? 

The Glice - Eco Rink is not the same product that the City of Windsor used in the past. Glice - Eco Rink is a world leader in polymer-based skating surfaces that perform like refrigerated ice but eliminate the high costs associated with conventional rinks, including enormous amounts of water and power, regulated coolants, compressors, and pipes, Zamboni resurfacing, and environmental controls required to make and hold a hard ice surface. 

Will skates need to be sharpened more often when used on Glice - Eco Rink? 

Skates should be very sharp and may need to be sharpened for each use. It may dull skates faster.  

How do you clean Glice - Eco Rink when it snows? 

Snow can be cleared by a small cleaning machine, shovels and/or snowblowers. 

What is the lifespan of Glice - Eco Rink? 

The expected life span of the Glice - Eco Rink is normally 10-20 years; however, the condition of surface limited warranty is 12 years (20 mm panel thickness) when properly maintained as per the manufacturer’s written instructions. 

What is the estimates on usable days for natural ice surface vs. Glice - Eco Rink? 

In Ontario, outdoor skating venues that utilize refrigeration systems to create ice are designed to operate based on a flexible skating season spanning the months of December through February, and possibly into early March (1 to 2 weeks) depending on that year’s weather. Exact operating dates cannot be guaranteed due to seasonal temperature fluctuations from one year to the next. 

The weather factors that are taken into consideration for building ice at the beginning of the season, and at the end of the skating season include daily temperature highs, sustained sun exposure versus cloud cover, and the potential for rain or snow impacting ice quality. 

The Glice - Eco Rink offers the possibility of year-round skating enjoyment as it is not affected by temperature or seasonal changes (intense sun may affect the skating experience in that as the ice surface warms, skate starting/stopping may be altered or slowed). The Town intends to offer skating from December to February, whether it is on a natural surface or the Glice - Eco Rink. We expect that there would be more skating days available on the Glice - Eco Rink surface than on a natural surface.  

Will Glice - Eco Rink be installed as a trail or rink? 

The skate trail will be a multi-season, multi-purpose community activity space. During the winter months, the space will function as a skate trail with a warming hut and seating, complete with a mix of existing and new native trees. In the summer, the skate trail will act as a concrete walking trail linking various park amenities in a landscaped setting. 

Friday, June 24, 2022 - The Town of LaSalle is investigating the possibility of installing a Glice - Eco Rink as the skating trail that will be built as part of the Small Coast Waterfront project on Front Road. 

Glice - Eco Rink looks like ice and feels like ice, but it is not ice. The synthetic ice surface runs without electricity and water. 

Administration has been considering the pros and cons of installing Glice - Eco Rink: 

  • The overall cost for Glice - Eco Rink is cheaper than installing a natural ice surface. 
  • Less maintenance to Glice - Eco Rink during the season. 
  • Glice - Eco Rink does not require a refrigeration system or use of a Zamboni to clean the surface. 
  • Glice - Eco Rink is more predictable for use in the months from December to March. Natural ice will melt even in cold temperatures when the sun is shining, which would cause the rink to be temporarily shut down.  

A temporary Glice - Eco Rink has been set-up inside Rink A at the Vollmer Complex, and we need your feedback. Would you use this ice surface on an outdoor skate trail in the colder months?

Bring your family and friends and test it out by July 13
Monday to Friday: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm 

After your skate, please complete the short survey (on-site) to let us know what you think.