BV plans to keep the rink open later to accommodate those who are not vaccinated

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Eganville – The Eganville arena may remain open a little longer this year to accommodate those who were unable to use the facility due to the provincial vaccination passport requirement.

“Maybe the vaccination rules can change and we can have a few more weeks,” Mayor Jennifer Murphy said at a Bonnechere Valley council committee meeting last Tuesday.

In his report to council, director of recreation Kevin McGrath said the rink reopened Jan. 31 with figure skating, minor hockey and the Junior B team, as well as adult users.

“Minor hockey ends the rest of the season with games and practices, no playoffs,” he said.

The figure skating club offers a second Can Skate (learn to skate) program. Public skating also works, he said. His plan was to have the last day of ice on April 2.

Councilor Tim Schison asked if they could extend the rink closure to allow people more time to use the rink since it had not been open to the public for much of the season. The council had previously discussed the vaccine passport at the arena, noting that there were people in the community angry that they could not use the facility or that their children were using the facility because they were not vaccinated. . The province had required that anyone attending a sports facility – which includes an arena – had to provide proof of vaccination.

Mr McGrath said that before the council extends the opening of the arena, he would like to see what kind of feedback there would be from users. The arena usually always closes at the end of March, when the hockey and figure skating season is over.

“I want to make sure we have enough rent to justify it,” he said.

Councilor Jack Roesner said the weather would also be a factor. If it’s too hot outside, it becomes more difficult to keep the ice in the arena.

Locally, larger municipalities are storing their ice later, but smaller ones are removing the ice on time, McGrath said. Petawawa keeps the ice until the end of April and Renfrew keeps the ice until April 23. In the Whitewater area, the ice will be removed on March 27 and the same is true for Deep River.

Com. Schison asked if the proof of vaccination requirement is still in place.

“Right now,” Mayor Murphy said. “Things change so quickly.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the day before that the vaccine passport would no longer be required after March 1 if the current situation did not change. It also changed capacity limits at various facilities, advancing the reopening schedule in many areas.

“Would we consider an extension (on the closing date of the ice rink) for those who could not attend? asked the adviser. Schisson.

The board discussed bringing the issue back for discussion in March when Mr. McGrath is on the committee and then seeing if it would be practical to extend the arena’s closing date.

“For planning purposes, is the second week of March sufficient?” asked Councilman Brent Patrick.

Alternatively, the council could go ahead and agree on a mid-April closing date, he suggested.

Mr McGrath said Easter also had to be factored in as Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday would make the rink closed anyway.

Easter is April 15.

Council agreed to resume discussion in March in consultation with Mr. McGrath.

“You have to determine the want or the need,” Mayor Murphy said.

Com. Schison said it could be considered a “soft closing day” to discuss in more detail.

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