Entrance of the old Stardust roller rink in Whalley. (file photo)

Fire regs spike plan to allow more skaters at final ‘Stardust’ event in Surrey

Four popular sessions will take place July 8 at Central City Arena

* This story was edited at 2:55 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20

SURREY — It turns out that additional tickets will not be made available for the popular final skating sessions at the old Stardust roller rink site in Surrey.

WestStone Group, the developer that now owns the property at 102nd Avenue and City Parkway in Whalley, wants to “pay tribute” to Stardust by hosting the series of skates before the building is demolished to make way for a 50-storey education centre.

Four skate times will take place on Saturday, July 8 at Central City Arena, as the rink has been known in recent years, from noon to 10 p.m. The first three skates are free to attend that day, but admission is a $5 donation to Surrey Food Bank for the final one, starting at 7:30 p.m.

All tickets for the sessions were quickly snapped up after Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association (BIA) announced the event in May, and additional tickets were to be released on Wednesday (June 21) starting at 1 p.m. via the eventbrite.ca website.

But now, that plan has been spiked.

“We were informed (by WestStone) this morning that we are now not able to release any more tickets for the final Stardust skate,” Bonnie Burnside, a former manager/owner of Stardust who now manages the BIA, told the Now-Leader on Tuesday afternoon.

Fire regulations won’t allow for additional capacity in the rink on July 8, according to an email sent to BIA reps by Kate Pelzer, WestStone Group’s development co-ordinator.

“We cannot open up some of the boards on the rink,” Pelzer noted. “The fire department inspector… originally told us if we could open up some of the boards and leave the exit doors open, then we could increase the capacity above 100 and closer to 200. However, now that we cannot open up the boards, Dan (the inspector) said that we can still keep the current capacity (approx. 120?) by just leaving the doors open and cutting down the shrubs/bushes in the back.

“Unfortunately this means we cannot release more tickets.”

On July 8, two-hour skate sessions will start at noon, 2:30 and 5 p.m., with a slightly longer session starting at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s been very popular,” Burnside said of the event. “We’re hearing all sorts of interesting stories from people who used to skate at Stardust, because so many people did, including a teacher who wants to bring some current students there. Those stories are great to hear.”

SEE ALSO: One final skate at Surrey’s old Stardust site this summer, before a 50-story tower is built there, from May 18

Meanwhile, photos and stories of the old rink are sought for the BIA’s Memories of Stardust Contest.

“We want to you to share your memories with us – funny, sad, goofy, poignant or just a memory that reflects how Stardust played a role in your life,” the BIA stated Monday.

“Prizes will include a gift certificate for Central City (previously known as Surrey Place), a gift certificate for Fresgos, and a gift certificate for White Spot. Email all submissions to cheryl@downtownsurreybia.com with the subject line ‘Memories of Stardust Contest.’ Make sure to include your name, email and which rink you are either talking about (your memory) or what the picture is about to be entered.”

Once collected, the Stardust memories will be posted to MemoriesofStardust.com.

tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com