BENDIGO’S synthetic ice rink has injected life back into Hargreaves Mall, according to CBD traders.
The temporary rink was opened to the public on July 2 for a two-week stint in the mall for the school holidays.
The 10-metre by 20-metre rink made of plastic polymer was shipped from America to Bendigo by Central Victorian Ice Sports and Entertainment (CVISE).
CVISE committee member Damien Carrod said more than 1800 people had flocked to the rink since it opened, with more than 200 skaters yesterday alone.
Mr Carrod said not even wet weather could deter skaters and staff often arrived in the mornings to find people queued to get on the ice.
An inflatable jumping castle, manned by Bendigo Blaze Inline Hockey Club, also attracted more than 100 people yesterday.
Hargreaves Mall News and Lotto owner Justin Hyslop said he had noticed an increase in business over the past two weeks and the mall had been busier than ever.
“The activities are giving people a reason to come down,” he said.
Toasties Cafe owner Steve Gray said the ice rink had brought people back to the mall. He said recent months had been tough on mall traders and they must try new things to keep business alive, but the rink had provided a “breath of fresh air”.
Bendigo Downtown Traders’ Association president and Bags on Williamson owner Ross White said the rink’s success echoed calls for the construction of a permanent play area in the mall.
The association recently handed in a submission to the council and a petition with 1600 names in favour of the work.
“We just hope that the council sees sense,” Mr White said. The council will vote on the submission on July 25.