Canalside ice rink will be closed on Saturday but other rinks open

Posted at 10:32 AM, Dec 27, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The warmer-than-average weather has closed the ice rink at Canalside.  The rink closed Tuesday afternoon, and hasn't been open to skaters since.

The $23 million project includes 70 miles of cooling pipe under the ice, but it's not keeping the ice cold enough to skate with temperatures in the mid 40s.

Empire State Development Regional President Sam Hoyt says Canalside officials are hoping to change that.

"We're working out the kinks to make sure that when we have conditions like this we can make adjustments and get them back up and running as quickly as possible," said Hoyt. 

Hoyt says other local ice rinks are partially shaded by their surroundings, but the Canalside rink is in the sun.  He says that could play a role in why the ice is melting there and not at other places.

But some think the design of the rink may be flawed.  Tony Farina worked as a consultant for DiPizio Construction, the firm that was originally hired for the Canalside project.  The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation fired DiPizio in June of 2013, after disputes over cost and project design.  Farina says he thinks it's that design that's causing issues at the Canalside rink.

"This should be able to handle this type of weather, and people should be able to skate," he said.  "There are ways to do that, and other places are skating even though it's a little warmer.  Their design was flawed."

Hoyt says he believes the design is fine, and that the equipment works, it's just a matter of working out the problems the rink is seeing now.

"I think the equipment that we have is state of the art, but it's all brand new," he said.  "And we really didn't have time to do a soft opening, so to speak, so this really is it."

The Canalside rink is closed again Saturday.  Hoyt is hoping that the rink will be able to re-open Sunday.

Meantime Rotary Rink in Fountain Plaza on Main Street is open, weather permitting.  It's operated by Buffalo Place, which formerly operated Canalside before Global Spectrum took over the contract from the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.  Hoyt says the tall buildings surrounding Rotary Rink helped shade it from the beating sun, but that the Canalside rink is directly in the sun all day.

There is also an outdoor rink at Riverworks on Ganson Street, which is also approximately a mile away from the Ice at Canalside. It too remained open on Friday for Open Skate

Global Spectrum recently asked for more money, saying it did not have the operating expenses to open the Ice at Canalside. The 50 percent increase was approved.