Day on the ice twice as nice when you can beat the heat
Cooling off at the Phillip skate rink during Canberra's hottest days are Woden swimming pool Lifeguard Rupert Denham, Alex Santiago, 19 of Jerrabomberra and Becky Bollen, 20 of Torrens. (skater is Axel Raut, 10 of Garran) Photo: Karleen Minney
As Canberrans prepare for an expected top of 38 degrees on Saturday, staff at the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre are bracing for an expected rush of eager ice skaters.
Manager John Raut said the coming weeks were likely to attract peak numbers for summer with hundreds of people each day expected to take to the ice, which costs anywhere between $8000 to $17,000 a month to keep cool.
"We keep it under 15 degrees inside and we try to maintain the ice at around minus 7 degrees," he said.
Cooling off at the Phillip skate rink during Canberra's hottest days are Woden swimming pool Lifeguard Rupert Denham, Alex Santiago, 19 of Jerrabomberra and Becky Bollen, 20 of Torrens. Photo: Karleen Minney
"There are always people who want to try the ice rink over the summer because it's a good way of escaping the heat."
Mr Raut is also expecting an influx of swimmers for the two onsite pools over the weekend, with anywhere up to 600 people a day expected.
"Once upon a time we used to pack in 1500 a day here," he said. "You'd go out in the grounds and there wouldn't be a spare spot, it'd be blanketed in people."
The hot weather has boosted numbers at the Dickson Aquatic Centre, whose manager Shay Kennedy is expecting thousands of people over the coming days.
"We're getting between 1500 and 2000 people a day at the moment," he said.
"The next couple of days are looking to be really hot, so we're hoping for a big Saturday."
Despite a quiet day on Thursday, business at Manuka Pool is also expected to pick up over the weekend with predictions of up to 300 swimmers through the turnstile on Saturday.
Canberrans can also cool down at Uriarra Crossing, Casuarina Sands, Pine Island, Tharwa Sandwash, Cotter Bend and Kambah Pool, but Brett McNamara from the Namadgi National Park Visitor Centre said people should to be wary of dangers from submerged objects and possible fires.
"Regardless of whether you're swimming or walking, people need to exercise caution," he said.
Canberrans are also urged to keep an eye out for their elderly neighbours, who could be particularly affected by the predicted high temperatures.