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Fort ice rink back in the game

Fort ice rink back in the game

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Fort ice rink back in the game

Wednesday 26 October 2016

The States have stepped in to make sure the ice rink is back at Fort Regent this Christmas and promises it will be bigger and better than ever and cheaper to skate too.

Just weeks ago Ice Skate Jersey announced they wouldn't be operating the rink following the announcement there were big plans to bring an ‘Arctic village’ with its own smaller rink to the Weighbridge.

Ice Skate Jersey's Keith Halstead said the Island was too small to sustain two ice rinks during the festive period and said it would be the "nail in the coffin" for Fort Regent which would be dead over the festive period without a rink.

St Helier Waterfront Action Group planned to petition the States to bring his rink back to the Fort, saying he was being frozen out by unfair competition.

Their online petition on said: “The Arctic Village put on by the Jersey Development Company has undercut the Fort Ice Skate prices as they have no responsibility to make a profit.

“They have no rent to pay at the Weighbridge unlike the operator at the Fort. This is unfair competition by a publicly owned QUANGO which is likely to be challenged by CICRA.”

States members have been in talks since and have now announced the rink will be run this year by Fort Regent with Ice Skate Jersey brought in as an adviser. 

Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture's Murray Norton said: "We’ve looked at the figures over the last four years, we had up to 25,000 skaters who used it last year. So we looked at those figures and realized that if you were a commercial operation, you’d look to make a profit from it.

Ice Skate Jersey are not going to running it as a commercial operation, Fort Regent are running it as something that now needs to break even. Sure are going to remain as one of the sponsors and other sponsors are coming on board. To cover the cost, we need fewer people coming but it's going to be a much better experience than last year. We've got other attractions coming in and we've reduced the price as well. Clearly what we are doing is to make it cost neutral.

"The local operators will benefit, there will be more local jobs and we are supporting a local operator in running the ice rink. It’s been the venue for the last four years, there are a lot of loyal customers, you’ve got parking, food and beverages, all in an indoor environment, and it’s the large rink that everyone wants to skate on."

The Fort Regent ice rink will run open on 9 December 2016 and run until 15 January 2017.

Fort Regent Centre Manager Jo Mousdale said: "We were overwhelmed by the public support for Fort Regent and Ice Skate Jersey, and are very pleased to be working with Keith Halstead in the delivery of this event this year. The ice skating works so well at the Fort, and we hope the public will really get behind us and visit the Fort for their skating this year. We plan to add even more to the experience than in previous years, making it bigger and better than ever."

Meanwhile plans are underway to transform the Weighbrige during the six-week Fête de Noué period into a winter wonderland replete with an ice rink, German eatery, Santa’s grotto and a giant snow globe.

Connétable Steve Pallet said: “I am delighted that the public will have the opportunity to ice skate at Fort Regent for a fourth consecutive year. We have worked closely with our local competitor, Ice Skate Jersey, to ensure that Islanders have the choice they have asked for. This will also help to protect local jobs and support other businesses at Fort Regent during the busy Christmas period.”

Mr Halstead said: "I am thrilled that cooperation with all parties has resulted in the reinstatement of the ice rink at Fort Regent to the benefit of all the thousands of Islanders who we know will enjoy the facilities so much. This was evident following the fantastic public support shown to Ice Skate Jersey through social media and an online petition."

Deputy Norton said: "Between the joined up team, the officers at EDTSC and Fort Regent, we have spent many many hours over the last week pulling this together. I’m absolutlely delighted to bring this about and to bring this really excellent offering to the public." 

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Posted by Jeff McGarry on
So, now no one makes a profit and the States pay for it?
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