TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL – Entertainment centre to host ice skating rink in holidays

ICE ICE BABY: Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre staff member Kim Holliday chills out with Cheryl Patterson, Kerrie Mackey, Cassandra Shepherd, Rae Studdert and Ian Munro after the announcement that the facility will host an ice skating rink in summer. Photo: ADAM WRIGHTNOWRA is set to be the centre of all things cool during summer.Regardless of what happens to the temperatures outside, the atmosphere inside the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre will be the ultimate in cool as it plays host to a large ice skating rink.Sydney-based enterprise Stars on Ice is installing an ice skating rink measuring 25 metres by 15 metres into the entertainment centre for three weeks during January, in what is expected to draw large crowds into Nowra from outlying villages.Centre manager Bob Mangan said the skating rink, complete with skates, attendants and rubber matting to help people get to and from the slippery stuff, was an “exciting attraction” timed to take place when there were plenty of visitors around.“We’re excited about the opportunity to have something this unique to cater for Shoalhaven residents and have the opportunity to attract holiday makers and bring them in,” Mr Mangan said.“We’re very excited about this but we do need to execute it really well.”He said the large skating rink “will look very impressive” and if tickets sold well there was also a chance to have a 10 metre by four metre ice slide as an added feature.Other added features were also possible depending on customer support, Mr Mangan said.Plans for five sessions of skating a day over three weeks, turning the entertainment centre into a hive of activity, is a stark contrast to last January when there were no events at the centre.In January 2011 the entertainment centre had events, but they did not sell well, Mr Mangan said, forcing a rethink and a new approach.However for the ice skating to take place it has required Shoalhaven City Council to underwrite the $190,000 cost on top of the $780,000 it already spends subsidising the entertainment centre’s operations.The cost was not a concern for Cr Andrew Guile, who expected large crowds to take part in the five 90-minute sessions a day over three weeks.He said Nowra needed something to cater for the many people who visited the area during January, but traditionally stayed in the villages and rarely ventured into town.“This will energise the Nowra CBD,” Cr Guile said.While there was a chance of council suffering a financial loss, Cr Guile predicted, “We could be making a stack of cash out of this during January.”Stars on Ice recently set up in Mackay, Queensland, and “did spectacularly well”, according to Cr Gareth Ward.“Sure it’s different, but this will help bring people into Nowra which can be a bit dead that time of year,” he added.To break even the skating rink would need to attract an average of 129 people per session, the meeting was told.Cr Robert Miller doubted that level of support would be achieved.“I can’t see this making a profit,” he said, however he was a lone voice with all other councillors voicing strong support for council underwriting the event to ensure it could proceed.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.