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Controversy over Proposed Summer Ice Rink in Millbrae

By Alex Lederman

Image courtesy of Pixabay

With the prospect of summer approaching, many plan to spend their days relaxing by the beach under the full haze of the Californian sun. Some are envisioning an alternative summer endeavor. The Millbrae City Council has proposed a slightly unorthodox idea, by considering the construction of an ice rink to be utilized over the duration of the upcoming summer.

There have been mixed feelings throughout San Mateo County on whether to invest capital and time to building this temporary ice rink. The proposed site for the ice rink is at the farmer’s market parking lot near Victoria Avenue. Many residents are concerned about the hefty price of $250,000 budgeted to constructing and maintaining the rink, saying the money could be better used.

Eric Lam, a concerned member of the Millbrae community, expressed the ordeal as, “a short-sighted measure to spend surplus funds which could potentially be used elsewhere.” He said he would prefer to allocate funds to updating, “failing roads” and “infrastructure, such as water and sewage lines.”

I don’t understand why people hate ice rinks, but whatever.

Lam isn’t the only member worried about the project. Doug Radtke, from Millbrae Highlands, believes the Millbrae City Council is to blame for even proposing the idea. Radtke states that the idea was proposed without community buy-in. Radtke isn’t against the proposal, but says he feels that the way it was proposed was “inappropriate”, and that the City Council has been wasting a good deal of resources on “ideas that do not move us forward as a town; the ice rink being symbolic of that ineptitude.”

The Millbrae City Council is still favoring creating a holiday ice rink, regardless of backlash from local residents. Council member Wayne Lee specified that he was open to the ideam in a meeting on April 25. “This is an opportunity for something different for Millbrae… [residents] don’t care how big it is, they just want to get on that ice… I don’t understand why people hate ice rinks, but whatever.”

Fellow council member, Anne Oliva, promotes the idea under the condition that a thorough business plan is developed. “A business plan is what we are asking for… [to] hopefully promote business in Millbrae.”
Concerns over budget allocation have led to the project rolling over into discussion scheduled for the next town hall meeting.

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