LETTERS: Response to Marysville Arena closure

City Council has decided to keep the arena closed for now

A response to the City decision to keep Marysville Arena closed for now.

I am writing this in response to the City of Kimberley council’s decision to keep the Marysville Arena closed. I appreciate that City staff and management are doing their very best to make physical activity and associated wellness accessible through the safe operation of recreation facilities that were built and are maintained for our Kimberley folks to enjoy. I also acknowledge that our council and mayor are not making decisions vindictively, but are attempting to navigate a challenging set of circumstances. However, I feel qualified to share my thoughts on the reasons (numbered below) our Mayor cited for keeping the doors to the arena locked. There is simply too much misinformation in this press release to let it slide in my opinion. If the points below were the basis for this decision as he stated, then it was not a fully informed decision. Note that I am not representing any of the local teams that I coach, volunteer with, or associations that I am a board member for. I am a concerned citizen.

All user requests accommodated: Kimberley Minor Hockey teams have all managed to book practice times at the Civic including numerous 6:45 morning practices where families have been following the protocols including children dressing for their sport outside of the arena. However many of our Kimberley kids are on teams hosted by both Cranbrook and Kimberley and the Civic schedule does not come close to accommodating ice bookings from those teams. Via Sport is BC’s governing body for sport and has approved games, however the Civic schedule can not accommodate games.

Closing MV impacts adult recreational hockey and out-of-town tournaments only: Adult Rec teams are governed and insured by Hockey Canada and could submit return to play safety plans to the City as they have in other communities where dressing rooms are being used. I believe they have not done this due to their preference to not dress outside of the arena and the lack of available evening ice times. Alberta teams will not be coming into town to run tournaments out of the Marysville Arena this year and this sadly will also impact our tourism sector (restaurants/accomodations/shops). However local teams are permitted to host “super weekends” where three other teams from within their cohort would come to town for the day to play games, eat at our restaurants and peruse our shops – or at least they would if there was ice time available.

Go to Cranbrook for ice: Cranbrook has no space for ice users. Cranbrook Minor Hockey and BC Hockey teams are looking at booking in communities like Canal Flats to find ice for games and practices. Those teams would book ice in Marysville if it was available.

Marysville is not designed to allow for distancing: Currently there are chairs spaced out in the Civic and non-players and non-coaches are not allowed in the arena. The same arrangements could be made to work in the Marysville Arena. Current protocols have a 15 minute entrance and exit time on either side of the ice time during which arena staff are not to be in common areas. This and other protocols are in place to limit contact between staff and users and could be implemented in the Marysville Arena with physical barriers and clearly communicated expectations.

More staff needed to maintain cleaning and access control: I feel like more transparency would be welcome on this point from the Mayor’s press release – we are left to assume that the City can not afford to fund adequate staffing levels at the arenas. Are there more staff on duty at the Civic than in “normal” times? I am in the arena and on the ice frequently and, unless I am mistaken, there is one staff on duty as there always has been. If those workers are being stretched too thin, why are they not being supported by the staff who would typically be working at the Marysville Arena? I’m sure they would appreciate the hours they are not getting at the locked arena. Maybe there is Aquatic Centre staff who are looking for work?

Use the outdoor rinks for extra ice time: Many questions arise for me when thinking about this. Is the City going to exclusively book outdoor ice for user groups with the same degree of protocols for safety? If not, isn’t this presenting a solution and environment that is less controlled and less safe than an arena when you consider protocols such as contact tracing, daily health checks, and physical distancing? The only public skating times currently available are during school hours and I feel it would be a shame for families to not have access to the outdoor rinks because they are booked. Regardless all minor hockey associations are governed by BC Hockey and it does not routinely approve the use of outdoor rinks for hockey.

Finally, I can certainly appreciate the changing climate around recent spikes in COVID cases and how changes in directives and recommendations compounds the complexity of this and many other issues. My intentions are not to impose undue stress on the staff and management of our recreation facilities – they are doing their best with what they are being given and I appreciate them and their efforts greatly. I am offering my perspective on the council’s decision and trying to shed light and share facts related to the rationale that was shared in the Mayor’s press release.

I personally feel like some sort of engagement with users to collaborate and come up with creative solutions would be very appreciated and likely productive. Maybe in January, we open up the arena but only on weekends? Four days a week for afternoons and weekends? There are compromises out there and I’d love us to find a way to safely get more of our kids out on the ice.

Thank you,

Carson Loftsgard

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. Photo: Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News
Interior Health opens up vaccine eligibility in Columbia Valley to 18 years or older

Only local residents can register and book appointments as COVID-19 case counts spike in the region

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

The Rec 9 and driving range are open at Bootleg Gap in Kimberley. Full course opens April 30.
Two Kimberley golf courses open for season

Purcell and Bootleg Gap are partially open today, Trickle Creek May 7

Kimberley is developing a policy on short term rentals. Air BnB screenshot.
Kimberley is developing a policy on short term rentals

The City of Kimberley is continuing the process of adopting a strategy… Continue reading

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read