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Quick action by CUPE 30 and the Edmonton and District Labour Council froze a plan by city council to close community ice rinks and replace them with a privately owned mega-complex.

“It looked like council was going to get this in under the radar screen,” said Alex Grimaldi, president of CUPE 30. “The company, Ice Summit, had done a good job of lobbying city councillors.”

But CUPE did a better job of mobilizing public support. A newspaper ad sponsored by CUPE 30 and the labour council urged people to protest the original plan that would have had Edmonton-based Ice Summit build a six-rink complex. At risk were 15 neighbourhood rinks.

Many concerned residents phoned the city’s citizen action centre. Their message to city council was “don’t close local rinks.” On Feb. 14, they got the best Valentine of all: council announced it would set aside $75,000 to fund a 10-year arena capital development strategy.

Council’s decision does not mean that the P3 threat is over, however. “The council may still look at that as an option,” Grimaldi said. “But now there will be a chance for public involvement in the process.”