City opening Kenn Borek Pool, Memorial arena

September brings recreation facilities open to the public. Somewhat. Pre-registration to be required and no drop-ins.

The City of Dawson Creek is opening up the Kenn Borek Pool and Memorial arena to the public.

While city recreation facilities are back, they will be to limited people at a time with various amenities not open to encourage health and safety COVID-19 protocols.

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City councillors voted Monday to open the Memorial arena on Sept 8, and the Kenn Borek pool Sept.12.

Councillor Charlie Parslow raised a concern about contagion coverage – and if the city had any, to avoid potential litigation.

He also asked if there was no bookings, or usage from the community, he questioned the city why would continue to run the facility empty.

“Do we move forward to a next phase, or shut it down,” he noted, saying the decision should be based on data.

“I believe we need to get the Memorial and pool open,” said mayor Dale Bumstead.

Councillors debated reducing the admission fee at the pool from $8 to $4. Councillor Shaely Wilbur said keeping the fee at $8 was out of the question when proposed.

“I will be voting against this ridiculous amendment,” she noted.

Councillor Paul Gevatkoff said it was a prudent decision to keep to the price at $8.

“We are running a city, not a social program,” he said.

It was noted by recreation staff the pool is often used as a drop off point for parents with kids.

“We need to get it open, get it operational,” repeated Bumstead about the pool.

The City of Dawson Creek recreation facilities were closed in March 2020 based on the directives from the Federal and Provincial governments, along with local health authorities.

Since then, Community Services Department staff say they have participated in bi-weekly provincial calls with the following agencies to determine how to safely re-start recreation operations in a pandemic environment based on the Provincial Health Officers (PHO) mandates and guidelines.

City staff say BCRPA has received approval from the Provincial Government for a 4-level approach to re-start recreation operations that match up with the provincial re-start plan phases.

"The Province is currently at Level 3,” reads a city report released Monday.

“This level identifies a progressive expansion from some to all outdoor facilities open for modified casual use, a progressive expansion from some to all indoor spaces open with measures to ensure physical distancing and programming expanding from outdoor to indoor, a limited return to sport.”

When Memorial Arena opens, public skating will begin on Sundays in October, at this time, limited to 18 people and pre-registered with no drop ins allowed. Drills and training (practise) must meet provincial guidelines for physical distancing. Currently no game play is allowed. Rental priority will be given to regular youth user groups; adult user groups will be able to rent any remaining ice.

A September 12 opening at the pool will introduce staff and patrons to the “new" operating parameters. Drop in swim will not be available; all swims will be by registration only (to control maximum occupancy limits and facilitate contact tracing in case of an outbreak at the facility).

The schedule will be 5 days (Saturday to Wednesday), with ninety-minute swims, followed by a “touch point clean” between each swim. At the end of the day or the next day prior to the first swim, a full clean will be completed. The leisure pool, main pool, and hot tub will be open. The steam room, slide, sauna, tots pool and diving boards will remain closed.

The opening plan still requires a final review from Northern Health.

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