By: Colin May On: September 28, 2023 In: Community Comments: 0

SEPT 2023 – Letters of support

As a project team, we’re in the process of applying for more grants to support our fully funded rink rebuild project, and we were challenged to provide letters of support or input from our community as part of these grant applications.

We put out a call for help on social media, we asked for your support, and crikey did we get it – we were inundated with responses!

As a result, we took a large sample of the emails, removed any email addresses or phone numbers, and then posted them word for word in our application pack to the various grant organizations.

On behalf of the rink build co-chairs Colin & Jennifer, the SMCA board of directors and all those involved in planning for our new hockey rink, a massive thank you to those who stepped up and offered such kind words of support.

JULY 2023 – Online article / publication

Cherished Calgary rink rebuild is postponed for the third time

Livewire Calgary Article By Isabella West

A rink at the end of its lifecycle, known to bring community together, faces another year of wear before it’s potentially made anew.

Since 2020, the Sandstone MacEwan Community Association (SMCA) has been trying to rebuild the community’s rink.

The Sandstone MacEwan rink was built in 1991 and has been a well-loved gathering place for the community. At the beginning of 2018, the association examined what aspects of the rink needed to be upgraded or replaced. However, in the winter of 2020, it became apparent that the rink was at the end of its lifecycle and would need a complete rebuild.

“MacEwan is one of our older communities, and it’s important that we replace entities as they age. This rink is at that point of requiring some lifecycle maintenance and the volunteers have identified that and are working hard to replace it,” said Ward 3 Coun., Jasmine Mian.

Moving forward, the association put forth a survey to gather feedback on the rebuild proposal. Of the 80 that participated in the survey, 72 said they had used the rink surface for various sports and 100 per cent of respondents were in support of the rebuild.

SMCA originally anticipated that the rink rebuild would start in 2022 upon provincial grant approval. However, in June of 2022, the association announced that construction will begin in the summer of 2023.

After a year of fundraising and applying for grants, June 2023 arrived and SMCA had yet to reach its fundraising target of $750,000. Being $300,000 short of their goal, SMCA postponed the rink rebuild until 2024.

“[SMCA] have applied for countless grants both through the city and external agencies. They’ve been doing lots of fundraising within the community and overall [they’re] just very committed to bringing a new rink to Sandstone MacEwan,” said Mian.

Sandstone MacEwan Community Rink in Calgary on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Tina Brillantes, Team Lead of Neighbourhood Partnership Coordinators for the City of Calgary explained that engaging and supporting community associations is part of her team’s role. In direct correlation with the rink rebuild project, Brillantes said that the city offers community associations access to the Community Capital Conservation Grant to maintain or replace lifecycle items.

The grant can be applied for and allotted yearly, however, the City of Calgary will only endorse 75 per cent of a project’s budget, leaving the community association responsible for the other 25 per cent.

The Neighbourhood Partnership coordinators continue to stay in direct contact with the community association in order to help them reach their goal. They consult on the design and assist with potential grants communities can apply for to reach their goal.

“City support is monetary, but we also have staff, facility operations coordinator and grant coordinators [that] are constantly in touch with the group…it’s just the regular ongoing relationship that we have with groups,” said Brillantes.

Jennifer Bidlake-Schroeder, co-chair of the Rink Rebuild Committee for SMCA said that their community is fairly small, consisting roughly of 12,000 members. There are few free recreational facilities in the area, which is why the rink rebuild is so important.

“It’s used constantly in the winter and in the summer by all sorts of different individuals and groups…we really want to be able to maintain that use and hopefully increase it by having a facility that’s in better shape,” said Bidlake-Schroeder.

The rink commonly hosts individuals all year long from hockey in the winter to basketball programs in the summer.

“These types of spaces, this is what brings us together, gives us that great sense of connection and social cohesion,” said Coun. Mian.

Moving forward, the Rink Rebuild Committee plans to assess all possible funding opportunities like corporate sponsorship and city and provincial grants. Bidlake-Schroeder also said that the committee hopes to explore more fundraising opportunities, however, being such a small team of volunteers, it has always been a struggle.

Bidlake-Schroeder said that although the postponement of the rink rebuild is frustrating, they’ve had great support from the city and just need increased participation from the community.

”We’d love it if the community would band together even more to try to help us be successful,” said Bidlake-Schroeder.

JUNE 2023 – The rink rebuild has been rescheduled to 2024

You find this blog post written by the co-chairs of the SMCA rink rebuild committee, approximately a week after the committee voted to recommend to the CA board of directors to put the rink rebuild on hold for another year – it was a tough decision to make, but we wanted to be transparent with our community, partners, and friends as to why & what it means next.

First, a brief recap of the previous 6 to 8 weeks since we last wrote an update to the blog.   An awful lot happened in that time – some positive, some not so positive.  Without going into excessive detail, the SMCA rink rebuild committee had the pleasure of working and partnering with the City of Calgary and Morisson Hershfield (the city’s official consulting engineer) to produce a set of tendered bids from various organizations across Calgary and Southern Alberta.

The bids were received, the scope had a light number of amendments made, and the bids were re-received.  The three-way group between the City, its partner & SMCA, then reviewed the bids and identified the options for moving forward. To provide an idea of the range of bids we received, they varied from $800,000 to $ 1.2 million depending on the contractor, interpretation of scope, timelines, etc.

In the meantime, the SMCA continued to push ahead with grant applications & fundraising – but unfortunately, the rink committee were turned down on numerous highly critical grant applications, which resulted in a shortfall of funding this calendar year.  Put simply – we are approximately $250,000 to $300,000 short of the goal (including GST & Contingency).

When the SMCA originally scoped out the project (pre-pandemic), the initial designs provided to the SMCA were approximately $500,000 (plus GST & Contingency).  This was the basis of the initial grants, design and fund-raising targets using municipal & provincial grant options, and the gap could be closed at that time.   Throughout the project, the community continued to work with the partners to ensure the project’s scope was accurate, realistic, and grounded in reality – but ensured a sustainable feature in our community.

As you can tell, the cost of materials and labour have increased significantly between the initial design & scope and the bids received in recent weeks. SMCA, the City & MH revised the tender to rescope the project into additional phases in an attempt to reduce the upfront 2023-24 cost, but unfortunately, this was still beyond the fiscal realities of our community association.

The SMCA committee would like to make it clear to our community & partners that the support we received from both the City and Morrison Hershfield was outstanding – they went above and beyond to support the community association and identify every possible option to create success, but unfortunately, it was not meant to be this year.

The hockey rink currently supports adults and children from many neighbouring communities, not just Sandstone MacEwan. We frequently see players from numerous ringette and hockey clubs at the rink, and these sometimes hold practices and games there. Both elementary schools use it annually to expose students to the fun of skating, and families of all sizes use it in the winter as well. In the summer, we see a wide range of people using it for pick-up basketball, and we now have a thriving local basketball program that uses the rink several nights a week. 

We will regroup.  We will continue to focus on fundraising & grant applications.  

We cannot do this without the community coming together & donating/helping. If you feel that having a rink is important to the health & vibrancy of our community, please consider volunteering your time to help maintain it or help fund-raise so we can rebuild it next year. 

Lastly, the community association will now redirect some of its annual operating budget to make some band-aid fixes to the rink to keep it operational this winter.  There may be no ice this winter if we cannot complete these fixes – the rink is at its operational end of life.

APRIL 2023 – Fifty Fifty! (Round two!)

Its back! As promised, our next 50/50 is now live, powered by Rafflebox. Tickets vary from 1 for $5, up to 300 for $50, and are purchased by clicking on the following link.

Every single dollar matters to the successful funding of our rink rebuild project, so please – consider a tax-receipt-eligible donation via https://sandstonemacewan.com/donate or enter our 50/50 raffle:


APRIL 2023 – Calgary Northwest United Soccer Club

We have some simply amazing partners & friends within the community.   It constantly amazes us that organizations from different communities have graciously reached out to us to support our rebuild project – and we would like to shout out about one of them now! 

On behalf of the community association board and rink rebuild committee,  we are incredibly thankful and delighted to announce that Calgary Northwest United Soccer Club has very generously donated to our rink rebuild project, placing them firmly in our Diamond Sponsors category.

Calgary Northwest United functions as a fundraising entity within the North West quadrant of Calgary, primarily supporting NCFC (formally MSB – MacEwan Sandstone Beddington Soccer), and in turn, directly supporting our local youth in both indoor and outdoor soccer throughout the year.

Without partners such as this, our rink project would not get off the ground – we ask that all of our community reach out and thank them if you can do so.    We would also welcome further donations from you and your family or perhaps a business or organization – please check out the donation page for further information – sandstonemacewan.com/donate

MARCH 2023 – Time to Tender

Through the dedication, hard work and talent of our friends at the City of Calgary & their official engineering partners, the SMCA Rink Committee is pleased to confirm that the engineering design is complete and has been released to kick off the tendering process. The process has several pre-determined steps and includes Tender Issue, Site Visit, Question Period, Responses, Submission Deadline, Review & Award.

To not bias the whole submission process, we have opted not to post any of the design or other documents to this blog yet, but we’ll be excited to do so in the coming month or so.

Following the tendering process & the subsequent awarding of the contract, we will have a better idea of the final project fundraising target, the construction timing, the communication plan with the community & neighbours and so on.

Regarding fundraising, we’re prepping our next 50/50 & we continue to invite our friends, partners and local businesses to support the project through taxable donations – check out sandstonemacewan.com/donate for more information on how you can help the project & advertise your business or recognize your donation!

FEBRUARY 2023 – Sponsors, donations, grants – oh my!

As noted in our last blog post, we are excited to be able to partner with Parks Foundation Calgary to receive online and offline donations to our Hockey Rink rebuild project – not only can you benefit from feeling great about supporting our local community and our rink users, but you can benefit from a tax receipt too! If you want to stop reading now, check out sandstonemacewan.com/donate for all the info!

But there’s more! While every dollar matters – no matter how big or small a donation you can afford – we want to call out & thank our friends, heroes, supporters and sponsors of our project. In exchange for your generosity & depending on the tier selected, we want to recognize your contribution – this could include calling it out on our social media, in our newsletter, on the website, on a future wall/plaque at the rink itself, or even as a season’s worth of rink boards starting later this year.

We have lots of information on our website – hit the red donate button at the top of the SMCA website, scan our QR codes around the community, head over to sandstonemacewan.com/donate, email info@sandstonemacewan.com, or reach out to any of our board of directors for more information. We would love to chat about any grants, sponsorship or donation opportunity you can think of with us.

Thank you in advance – our community loves this rink. It brings our families together, a place to meet friends, and despite some -20c temperatures from time to time, we all enjoy the outdoors.

Your donation matters to making this a fully funded project – please don’t assume that SMCA will get the money from somewhere else; it will take an entire team effort to get there!

DECEMBER 2022 – Things are coming together ..

As we all prepare for the Christmas holidays, the rink build committee would like to give a brief update on the build process.  But first, we’d like to remind you that our current hockey rink is still much loved and is cared for by a dedicated crew of volunteer rink rats. Please consider joining this incredible team – even an hour here or an hour there makes all the difference! Simply drop info@sandstonemacewan.com an email, and we’ll introduce you!

Additionally – SMCA is fortunate that we have some used skates available; if you or someone you know is in need of skates, please let us know and we may be able to provide some depending on size. We also have a limited number of hockey sticks to go along with them potentially.

Now for the quick update from the rink build committee ahead of the end of 2022:

  • Congratulations to our first 50/50 winner, who is taking home $2,012.50. The winner generously has offered to donate a portion of their winnings back to the SMCA reink rebuild – thank you! This raffle was a great start, and the SMCA rink rebuild team will announce a new raffle in the new year.

  • We are pleased to announce that we have been accepted into the amazing Parks Foundation Calgary project support program. This acceptance brings substantial benefits to the SMCA project, and we would like to thank PFC for accepting us!
    • Partnering with PFC will benefit the SMCA rebuild project in several different ways. For example, it will allow us to offer tax receipts to both online and offline donations, open other doors to grant applications, enable further reach into the community and expand the visibility of our project, support our volunteers with financial reporting & payment services and so on. 
    • More information can be found at https://www.parksfdn.com/project-support-program
    • As we finish setting up the process with PFC, we will announce when we can receive donations online or offline, as well as any conditions that apply to tax receipts.

  • The City of Calgary, its official partner and the SMCA committee have met numerous times over the last 30 days to review the draft architectural plans, outline costs (with documented margins of opinion) and discuss feature requirements. As these plans become firmer in the new year, we can start sharing them via this blog. We are also working with the partners to confirm how to engage a general contractor who can support the build process.

  • We are also preparing our communications plans for the community in the new year. Starting with the local schools, community groups and neighbours, we want to ensure we are as transparent as possible regarding likely timeframes, use of the rink, closure of the rink, and so on as the rebuild planning stage is put into motion.

And finally – our thanks to everyone who has supported us so far. It will take our entire community and friends to complete the rebuild; we look forward to the new year and wish you all a happy holiday season.

NOVEMBER 2022 – Fifty fifty! Come and get your 50/50 tickets!

Our first 50/50 raffle opens November 1st! Check out the link below or click on the tickets icon … every dollar helps raise funds and closes the gap to having a fully funded hockey rink rebuild!


OCTOBER 2022 – Fundraising kick off shortly!

We promised, mentioned, subtly hinted and straight up talked about it our board meeting – the SMCA is about to kick off its fundraising drive to get ready for next years rink rebuild! But first, we wanted to provide more information as to how the rink rebuild will be funded – and why we need your help.

The SMCA hockey rink sits on land between the two schools in Sandstone – this land is leased by the Community Association (CA) as part of the City of Calgarys “Lease of Occupation” program, and as such is the responsibility of SMCA – it is not automatically replaced at its end of life by the City of Calgary.

As SMCA operates as a registered society in Alberta, we do not have the ability to fund this rebuild ourselves. A significant part of this project is to build relationships and work on funding from multiple sources – provincial grants (CFEP), municipal programs (CCG), capital savings, private donations & fund raising.

The target we have set on the tracker to the right of this page reflects the current gap we believe needs closing to ensure the project is fully funded. The projects budget is being built by SMCA, the City and its official subcontractors and will easily be in excess of $500,000. As the budget becomes finalized, we will update the targets on this page and post an update.

If you or your family, group, sports team or organization make use of the SMCA community hockey rink, please consider making a donation or entering one of our raffles/events – every dollar counts and will go a long way towards making this facility available for many years to come.

SEPTEMBER 2022 – Waiting for the Survey Results

As we wait for the official survey results to come back, the SMCA hockey rink rebuild committee has met with the City of Calgary, its representatives and its official partners to review progress so far. On the agenda for the call was reviewing drainage options for the new rink, confirming which of the external components of the rink were under review (such as the seating / decking), the location of the gates & width, and so on. We continue to work the city to create a preliminary budget on what will be required to fund the rink, with the accuracy of the forecast getting greater and narrower on each pass of the review.

On the subject of financials, the SMCA has recently received a very generous donation to its fund raising efforts from a local community group – more to follow on that in the coming weeks! We are also in touch with other groups in the city to assist with fund raising & reviewing all relevant AGLC rules on raffles, 50/50s and so on. We hope to announce the beginning of further fund raising very soon!

AUGUST 2022 – Surveying Begins

Preliminary survey work will begin this month in and around the existing SMCA hockey rink in anticipation for the new rink build in summer 2023. Great West Drilling rigs are carrying out this work and are completely equipped in obtaining drive samples in a safe and efficient way through the use of automatic drop hammers. This equipment will be on site the week of August 22nd, for safety reasons please vacate the rink area when the sampling work is occurring!

Thank you.

JUNE 2022 – Updates and Progress

The SMCA rink build committee & the SMCA board are excited to report on the following build progress.  These items are mighty steps towards the hockey rink build targeted for Summer 2023 – 

Provincial grant

– SMCA was successful in its application to the provincial governments “Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP)”.  The proposal was accepted and SMCA was subsequently awarded it’s request towards the rink build.  

– The SMCA board would like to extend its thanks & acknowledgements for the tremendous support that was provided by MLA Josephine Pon and her staff during the run up to the application deadline.

Fundraising & additional grants

– The community associations build committee will be applying for further grants from both public and private organizations across Calgary.

– We will also be setting up additional fund raising activities & donation mechanisms to allow community members to donate to the build fund – the goal is to partner with organizations that can offer tax receipts for qualifying donations.

Rink design

– Following the successful awarding of the CFEP grant, this enabled the CA to move forward to the rink design stage of the program.   SMCA is extremely fortunate to have a great working relationship with the City and its Community Liaison team who continue to champion for the build on behalf of the CA.   

– The city has appointed its sub-contractor to continue with the design and this will enable the CA to confirm the design, its cost and the budget required to do so.

– Following the design release from the city to SMCA, the rink build committee with publish more information to both the SMCA board & this website with regard to timing, budget, design modifications, etc.

JANUARY 2022 – Sandstone MacEwan CommunityGrants, Budget & Fundraising

Behind the scenes, we have continued to make progress with our proposed hockey rink rebuild located in Sandstone.  With the support from our City of Calgary Neighbourhood Partnership Co-ordinator, we have been working with the city to get the initial design of the rink rebuild on paper, review options for drainage, and created approximate high-level costs involved.  

Using this information, we have submitted our application for a Provincial Grant to support the initial costs needed to start a rebuild in 2022.   We will hear back from the province in the first quarter of the year.

As we work through Winter & Spring this year, we continue to plan the budget, identify fundraising opportunities and work closely with the city to continue on the pre-defined path needed to result in our local community facilities being rebuilt.

The SMCA board and volunteers are fully committed to continuing to work with all the municipal, provincial & other partners to have our facilities rebuilt and modernized, such that it continues to provide year-round opportunities for our community to get out and stay active.

NOVEMBER 2020 – Sandstone Macewan Community – Hockey Rink Update

Progress, but slow.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of our lives, and work at the Community Association level has not been spared. While we continue to progress work towards the upgrade of the hockey rink, it has been slowed, but not stopped. 

The City of Calgary is overseeing an Engineering Consultation report to investigate various options and requirements for the rink replacement. Once that report has been received, the Community Association can proceed to pursue Provincial and then Municipal funding. Due to funding requirements and the lifecycle of structures, we will likely pursue the replacement of the hockey rink sheds first and then the rink itself. Once there is a clear timeline, the Community Association will provide updates to Community Members.

Meanwhile, we are pursuing Municipal funding to replace the shed at the Pleasure Rink as it is nearing the end of it’s lifecycle.

Despite the realities and restrictions due to Covid-19, the Sandstone Macewan Community Association remains firmly committed to supporting community based recreation. We are kicking off our skate loan exchange program and are actively seeking both those who need skates for their children as well as the donation of skates no longer being used. We have also completed minor repairs to the hockey rink and flooding is slated to begin in the coming weeks. We hope that our past years’ volunteers are ready and able to come back, and we seek new volunteers who would like to learn the ropes and get involved. Covid-19 protocols will be observed at all times.

MAY 2020 – Sandstone Macewan Community Hockey Rink Update

While development of Sandstone and Macewan communities began in 1982, the hockey rink was built in 1991, the same year as Simons Valley School was built. The rink has been a part of the community ever since, used all seasons for hockey and skating in the winter, basketball and skateboarding in the summer.

In 2018, the Board Members began examining the need to replace parts of the rink as the lifecycle of the various components was coming to an end. This need was further emphasized prior to the 2019/2020 winter season when it became apparent that the rink was in urgent need of repair to get it through the winter.

SMCA Board members have been working with the City of Calgary Neighbourhood Partnership Coordinator and other city staff to understand the City and Provincial Grant options and the proper processes for rink replacement.

Part of the process is to understand the wants and needs of the community in regards to the facility. To that end, SMCA initiated a survey process over the winter of 2019, ending in February 2020. The survey was communicated through monthly news letters, on social media like Facebook and on our website.

In total, 81 people filled out the survey. Of those:

  • 72 had used the rink surface (or a family member had) for ice hockey, skating, skateboarding, basketball, and other sports
  • Some respondents had stopped using the rink for a variety of reasons, including the condition of the facility
  • Of the 80 who answered the question, 100% supported SMCA pursuing funding to replace the facility
  • When asked about other suggestions, 34 respondents provided feedback, including new boards, new facilities (pickle ball, permanent skateboard park, community hall, skate shack) and events such as skating parties. The overwhelming comment was to please keep the rink and add to the facilities, as it is an important feature in our community.
  • We also had 35 people answer the question about becoming involved, with some offering to participate and others indicating interest but no time. We welcome any and all community members to come to our meetings or connect with us in other ways.

Stay tuned here for progress updates on the facility rebuild!

JANUARY 2020 – Community Input Requested

The Sandstone Macewan Community Association is seeking community input. Our hockey rink/outdoor sports surface (355 Sandarac Drive NW) is in need of replacement.

Currently, it is used by community members of all ages, local sports teams, local schools, and members of neighbouring communities. We have a dedicated crew of rink volunteers in the winter months. We host various winter and summer events and have the potential to host more throughout the year.

We have been working with the City of Calgary to determine next steps but would like to know your thoughts? Do you use the rink/surface? Do you have any thoughts on the replacement?

Please see the online questionnaire at www.sandstonemacewan.com/rink-survey and add your comments. ONLINE SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED

If you want to know more about the proposed Facility Upgrade, the results of the survey, or anything else related to our Community Association, please consider attending our Monthly meetings held the 2nd Thursday of the month or contact SMCA at info@sandstonemacewan.com

Thank you!