Cranbrook, BC (November 10, 2020) – The reopening of more indoor recreation opportunities at Western Financial Place last week has been a positive move forward for the community, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our patrons can now access limited aquatics programs like Aquafit and lane swimming, concourse walking time and increased hockey access.
“These initial activities while limited, give our staff time to ensure the protocols put in place to make sure items like cleaning between user groups, and adherence to social distancing can be successfully implemented in a safe way, with the staffing levels we have,” says Chris New, Director of Recreation and Culture. “We are looking forward to a gradual re-opening of more of the facility in the coming weeks, including some expanded programs and squash court access.”
The re-opening plan follows the public health orders around gatherings and events, along with the guidance of provincial sport and recreation agencies including the BC Parks and Recreation Association, viaSPORT, and the BC Recreation Facilities Association.
There have been many requests by parents to attend activities with their children. However, a COVID outbreak in a facility could result in an immediate closure, either directly, or through the quarantining of essential staff to keep the building operating.
“We understand the importance of parents wanting to provide support to their kids by being able to watch. Our priority though is to provide opportunities for our kids to play,” New says. “Limiting the number of contacts within the building is that key piece to ensuring we can keep operating safely. Allowing spectators in the building will come, but not right away.”
Meantime, the City continues to work closely with the Cranbrook Bucks, Cranbrook Minor Hockey, and its many valued user groups to ensure that we are operating in a safe and responsible manner. The recent Kimberley Dynamiter’s positive player COVID test result and subsequent players being required to self-isolate and the cancelling of scheduled Dynamiter’s games is a reminder that we are not invulnerable to COVID in the region. We must continue to ensure we are doing the right thing to stop the spread of COVID in our communities.
We appreciate the understanding and patience of our residents, patrons, and user groups during these difficult times.
“Our staff is working hard to keep our facilities operating safely for our residents and our user groups, closely following all the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer, Interior Health and the many provincial recreation agencies,” says Mayor Lee Pratt. “These aren’t decisions the City is making arbitrarily. I am asking everyone to please be patient and respectful with all of our staff during this time.”