Falher rink on thin ice during COVID

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The Falher Curling Club has put its season on ice because of restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While indoor arenas have been closed since early December by provincial health orders, the club sent a letter of request to the Town of Falher.

At its regular meeting Jan. 11, council passed a motion to accept the curling club’s request to excuse the club from its lease contract for the curling rink and the upstairs bar in the Falher Regional Recreation Complex effective Jan. 11.

“If we have a request from the curling club, why would we not accept that request,” Mayor Donna Buchinski says.

“It’s because of the pandemic.”

Even if the curling rink were able to open, members aren’t ready or willing to comply with other provincial restrictions.

“They don’t want to curl with masks,” Buchinski says.

“We don’t know if they’ll have a curling season in 2021-22.”

Councillor Robert Lauze questions the restrictions for curling even under a province-wide mandate for everyone to wear face masks.

“Why do they have to wear face masks, hockey players don’t?” Lauze asks.

The provincial government announced Dec. 8 that all indoor recreation arenas would be closed for one month as the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths increased and remained high. It was extended to Jan 21 as figures continued to be high.

“We could close the arena,” Buchinski says.

However, other council members suggest the skating and hockey arena be ready to open if the government gives the green light by Jan. 21 to open arenas.

“If restrictions are extended, all arenas will be shut down,” Buchinski predicts.

CAO James Bell says the cost for natural gas in the recreation complex in December was $1,500, including $1,100 for the skating arena.

The mayor says council will further decide the arena portion after the restrictions on arenas are announced by the provincial government around Jan. 21.

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