For the first time ever, a winter ice skating rink is coming to downtown Chico. But it’s not without its controversy.
The City of Chico is bringing an outdoor winter ice rink in the Chico City Plaza, which will open on November 18 and run for about 8 weeks. Although the city has been planning the rink for 4 years, it could bring adverse impacts to the annual ice rink up the road in Paradise, which continues to recover from the devastating Camp Fire in 2018. The annual Paradise ice rink has been in operation since 2013, bringing residents from all over Butte County for a rare opportunity to skate in the outdoors.
The Chico City Council approved the new rink with a 5-2 vote, but councilmember Alex Brown reminded the area how it could impact the rink in Paradise, along with wasting water during Northern California’s extreme drought.
“An ice rink in Chico may seem like a winter wonderland experience on its face,” wrote Brown on Twitter. “But really, it’s a slap in the face to a 10-year tradition in Paradise (who respectfully pleaded with us not to move forward on it), it’s environmentally tone deaf, and it’s entirely ill-timed.”
An ice rink in Chico may seem like a winter wonderland experience on its face. But really, it's a slap in the face to a 10-year tradition in Paradise (who respectfully pleaded with us not to move forward on it), it's environmentally tone deaf, and it's entirely ill-timed.— Councilmember Alex Brown (@AlexBrown2018) September 23, 2021
Paradise residents agree with Brown, stating that the rink will deter much needed business from the town during a crucial economic period.
“I think it’s a real shame for Chico wanting to do that and pull business away from the Paradise area,” said Janel Williams to Action News Now. “We don’t have a lot of businesses up here as it is. They’re creating competition that was unnecessary.”
Paradise on Ice will be open to the public on November 11 and last more than two months. It begs the question if the area really needs two ice rinks? And will the Chico rink deter people from visiting Paradise this winter?