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Canterbury on Ice: building work for Christmas skating rink Dane John Gardens begins

Construction has begun on Canterbury's first-ever festive ice rink.

Canterbury on Ice is set to open in the Dane John Gardens next Friday and run right through the Christmas period.

Work has begun on the city's festive skating rink. Picture: Canterbury City Council
Work has begun on the city's festive skating rink. Picture: Canterbury City Council

But the project has proven controversial, with campaigners branding it a "climate disaster".

Hopes to bring a skating rink to the city were dashed two years ago, after the private events firm behind pulled out mid-construction.

But this year, the city council decided to bring the project in-house, with an enclosed rink large enough to cater for 140 skaters at a time.

While largely met with excitement, the plans have come under fire after figures obtained by campaigner Adam Daniel revealed the amount of electricity and water the site will consume.

The city council - which declared a climate emergency earlier this year - has been forced to admit it did not consider the environmental impact of the festive attraction.

The unfinished ice rink from 2017
The unfinished ice rink from 2017

In response to a Freedom of Information request from Mr Daniel, the authority revealed two diesel generators will provide power to the rink and food concessions, consuming between 60,000 and 90,000kWh of electricity - enough to fuel 20 homes for a year.

About 46,000 litres of water will also be pumped into the rink from a fire hydrant.

The council recently announced that "quieter" skating sessions without music or flashing lights will be available for people prefer to skate in a more relaxed environment - such as those with autism or learning disabilities.

Head of commercial and cultural development Caroline Cooper said: “One of our key aims with Canterbury on Ice is to create an atmosphere where everyone can feel safe and at ease on the rink.

“We know there are people who will be put off by the thought of lights and music, and hope these relaxed, quieter skating sessions will mean they can still experience our fantastic ice rink.”

Penguin-shaped skate aids. Picture: Canterbury City Council
Penguin-shaped skate aids. Picture: Canterbury City Council

The quieter sessions will run on December 7 and 29, at 10am.

Skate aids in the shape of penguins will also be available to hire, subject to availability, at all skating sessions. Children must be aged four and above to skate.

The rink will be open every day except Christmas Day, until January 1.

Tickets are £12.50 per adult, £9 per child, or £38 for a family ticket.

To book or for more information, visit the Canterbury on Ice website.

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