Despite a plea from Kimberley Minor Hockey, Kimberley City Council voted unanimously this week to keep Marysville Arena closed, at least for now.
Kimberley City Council voted unanimously on Monday night to keep the Marysville arena closed for the start of the ice season.
Experience with the now open Civic center and a staff assessment of safety protocols as they apply to the Maryville arena led to the Council decision, says Mayor Don McCormick.
- all ice user requests have been accommodated in the Civic Center, and some available ice times remain;
- the user impacts at Marysville arena are primarily adult recreational hockey which has no governing body to provide safety plans or accountability, and tournaments that included out-of-town teams (for example Calgary) which are not happening during COVID;
- With two operating arenas in Cranbrook, Minor Hockey needs to look to Cranbrook for additional ice time to accommodate innovations to their season;
- Marysville arena started life an as outdoor arena, and was covered many years ago; its design makes physical distancing (a key to controlling the spread of COVID-19) difficult, bringing safety concerns into play;
- keeping the Civic Center within protocol standards is proving difficult; more staff are needed for cleaning and access control, neither of which is required in normal times; opening Marysville would stretch staff beyond capacity and in doing so present issues with maintaining safety in both facilities;
- Outdoor rinks have been upgraded – most notably Townsite – which serve as a safe alternative for extra ice time;
“I appreciate that not everyone will agree with this decision,” McCormick said. “Believe me when I say that no one wants to see closed facilities, especially staff. Their job is to maintain facilities for the enjoyment of the community. The majority of our residents understand these difficult decisions, that we are in a pandemic and that things are anything but normal. As the months are passing, the ranks of the deniers or those that don’t care grow. It is putting undue and frankly unfair stress on staff and their families.
“The City is constantly monitoring all closure situations. It does not help that directives from the Public Health Office and governing bodies are changing frequently. The recent spikes will not help.
Staff are constantly evaluation directives and safety plans as we strive to open facilities. We will continue to do so. Until that happens I am asking for resident and community organizations’ support as we strive for balance in a very unbalanced world.”