The Columbia Outdoor School, operated by the same group which runs Blue Lake Camp, is trying to find a way to provide day camps in communities in the region. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, overnight camps will not be allowed this year.
Kimberley City Council, although sympathetic to the difficulty some parents will be having with child care this summer, have turned down a request by the school to use the Civic Centre and its washrooms during rainy weather this summer.
However, Council also committed to working with Columbia Outdoor School to find a solution so they can provide camps in Kimberley. The City won’t be offering its summer camp program as the Aquatic Centre is closed. Other camps, such as the theatre camps run by Centre 64 are also cancelled.
Manager of Parks and Recreation Brett Clark called into the regular meeting of council on Monday evening to recommend that the Civic Centre not be used as it is currently closed to the public and that with the ice out there is no staff in the building to ensure appropriate and safe use.
Count. Kyle Dalum asked if there were any other city facilities that the camp could potentially use. Coun. McBain suggested that perhaps they could have exclusive use of Centennial Hall.
Clark said that the school asked about Rotary Park and the washrooms there. Those are public washrooms and could be used, he said.
They could also look into some sort of festival tent for inclement weather as long as proper social distancing was observed, he said.
“I am a little concerned about child care opportunities over the summer,” said Coun. Nigel Kitto.
Coun. Darryl Oakley agreed, saying that parents were going to be scrambling for options this summer as most camps will not be operating.
Clark said he was trying to work with Columbia Outdoor School to come up with other options.
“If I’m hearing correctly, we are voting only on the request for use of the Civic Centre,” said Mayor Don McCormick. “We will continue to work with them to find something that will work.”