At an in camera session of Kimberley City Council on Monday, January 24, 2022, the decision was made to close the Marysville Arena for the season effective February 1.
In a memo to user groups of the arena, Manager of Parks and Facilities Nicole Halasz said the decision was difficult.
At the time of the decision, provincial health orders said that youth sports tournaments would be suspended until at least February 16.
“The latest surge of COVID-19 cases have left many users groups making last minute cancellations, has reduced the number of skaters on the ice and has caused staffing issues at both facilities,” the memo said. “With the Provinces recent announcement on January 18th to extend the cancellation of tournaments until at least February 16th, this is ultimately leaving the arena significantly underutilized. Marysville Arena operations rely heavily on the usage of tournament bookings, this directive was a driving factor in the decision to close the facility.
“The health and safety of our staff and patrons is our first priority. At a time where we all want to remain physically active and are feeling COVID fatigued, we understand that this decision may result in some of you losing ice time and feeling frustrated. We are more than happy to work with you to find available ice time at the Civic Centre.”
The next day, January 25, 2022, the province changed the health order on youth sports tournaments and said they would be allowed to go ahead as of February 1, 2022.
However, City CAO Scott Sommerville said that it was unlikely the decision to close the Marysville Arena would be reversed.
“It is less of a provincial health order issue and more to do with staffing availability due to COVID – and the likely possibility of cancellations that would result.
“It would be a shame to go to all the trouble of organizing a tournament, have teams travel to Kimberley, and then have to close the arena due to staffing shortages.
“We’re going to remain consistent with Council’s direction, which was based on staff’s recommendation.
“If staff decide to provide a different recommendation over the next week, or council asks for the decision to be reconsidered, that would happen on February 14th.”