FIVE ISLANDS - When the snow starts to fly, work should be complete on the renovations to the outdoor rink in Five Islands.
Paula Rochon, secretary with the Five Islands Athletic Association, said work is well underway to the base of the rink.
"For the rink to last years, we need to have a great basework for the concrete slab, so that's what we're doing now," said Rochon from her home in Five Islands.
"But first we had to do some ditching and drainage work."
Since last winter, the athletic association was successful in securing money from both the provincial government and Colchester County. Nova Scotia contributed $29,000 to the project, while the county's funding came in at $40,000.
"We thought we had enough, but the base is a little bit more than we thought, so we've been fundraising like crazy. We need about another $10,000 for the boards."
Without the community's support, Rochon said the association and the 12 or 14 volunteers wouldn't be able to continue on.
"We've had a lot of support from local businesses. With the community, we've done so well."
The association hosted a bottle drive a few months ago that brought in about $600, and another $600 was raised back in February during a winter carnival.
"During the winter carnival, it absolutely poured but we still had people out for chili, and kids came out to play the games," Rochon said.
"We're always raising money. After the boards, we want to be self-sufficient and want to have our own pump. The Five Islands fire hall has been a great support to us."
With compacting and levelling at the site this past week, Rochon said the volunteers have been out as much as possible to lend a hand.
"We were there (Monday) laying bricks and helping with rebar."
Having grown up in Five Islands, Rochon said she and those in her generation all learned how to skate on the rink.
"It has skipped a generation so we want to have it so it can be used year-round. Our kids aren't always able to go to Truro to go to the (new) civic centre and we here are re-populating Five Islands. The population of younger families here is increasing."
By having a cement slab for the rink, it can be used in the summer for those on bicycles or those wanting to play ball hockey.
"We're hoping to be able to have some concerts here and maybe a picnic area - just something to bring the community together. We want to promote physical activity, but also a place for networking for the community."
Last winter, the rink was used on a regular basis, said Rochon, who said volunteers were there all hours of the night.
"We have people who work all summer and are off in the winter, so they would be down here at midnight for a flood," she said. "Every night there were people on the rink and we had a good 18 inches of ice. At one count, I know there was at least 25 people on the ice at the same time."
With a Facebook page (Five Islands Rink), those interested can keep an eye on the progress of the renovations and upcoming fundraising events, including a yard sale.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the cause, can do so through a PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=D3FWBXEUUMQQQ (just follow PayPal's directions) or donations can be mailed to Five Islands Athletic Association 1070 Hwy. #2 Five Islands, NS B0M 1K0.
"If people make a donation through PayPal, we can send them a receipt," said Rochon, adding work is in the process to have something set up for income tax purposes.
As long as the weather co-operates, Rochon said a tentative date to start pouring cement is Sept. 5.
"But that's dependent on the weather and heat," she said, adding Dura Construction of Truro is the contractor for the project.