Brock Township council votes to reopen all three arenas this season

Editor’s note: The livestream of the meeting was beset by technical issues, impeding the broadcast.

It’s going to take some additional tweaking from township staff but all three arenas will be opening in Brock this season.

Members of council supported a motion from Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble to reopen all three facilities next month – with reduced operating hours – to rentals and public programs during a special meeting of council Friday (Sept. 11).

In bringing forward the motion, Doble noted that the arenas provide a valuable recreational outlet for residents across the municipality.

“People are going a little bit stir-crazy staying at home,” Doble said.

Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell agreed, saying that reopening all three facilities would be “good for morale.”

Most members of council were quick to lend their support.

“I fully support all three arenas (reopening) this year,” said Ward 1 Councillor Mike Jubb.

“I absolutely believe that we need all three open,” added Ward 4 Councillor Cria Pettingill.

While he ultimately voted in favour the motion, Regional Councillor Ted Smith questioned the feasibility and cost of opening all three facilities with a slate of public programs.

“I don’t think we need to rush on this,” he told his colleagues.

Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden was the lone member of council to vote in opposition, citing financial concerns.

She referred to the three facilities as “money pits” and said she couldn’t support the motion without knowing the full financial implications it would have for the municipality.

“I’m not prepared to vote on reopening three arenas if we don’t have all of the information in front of us,” Mayor Bath-Hadden said, encouraging councillors to defer the decision until later in the month.

The recommendation from staff would have seen the Sunderland Memorial Arena open to ice rentals only – no public programs – on Oct. 5, with those at the Rick MacLeish Memorial Community in Cannington opening on Oct. 13.

The Foster Hewitt Memorial Community Centre in Beaverton would have remained closed to the public.

“The Township of Brock Arenas could resume operation and permit ice for use beginning October 2020 (historically when the Township opened arenas for use), while ensuring COVlD-19 operational requirements are met. However, under the Province’s modifications for reopening, new operating processes would require current staffing resources to be reallocated from three facilities into two to meet safe operating protocols and lessen the impact effect on the overall operating budget,” the report reads.

“This re-organization of resource requirements is a result from implementation of staffing, cleaning and sanitization protocols, as well as the screening of patrons entering the facility.”

The screening process will require an additional staff person to serve as a “greeter” at the main doors of a facility.

“The third arena attendant will be responsible for the main entrance door, and general control counts to the entrance and exit of patrons through the arena. This position will need to coordinate the groups’ access with each coach or group convenor, ensuring all pre-screening has been completed by any participant/coach entering the arena. The greeter will also have to have all parents/guardians and spectators complete the visitor sign in,” the report reads.

“This is a contact tracing requirement through (the) Durham Region Health Department.”

The report suggested that the Sunderland Memorial Arena and Rick MacLeish Memorial Community Centre be reopened for a handful of factors, including better “flow patterns” for entrance and exit to the facilities, physical distancing concerns for the bench areas in Beaverton, potential daycare rentals in Cannington and to minimize the economic impact to the Township with current staffing levels to meet COVlD-19 requirements.

It also outlines occupancy limits and the new process for public access of the facilities.

“The maximum number of patrons will be limited to 50 people at one time in each area, including ice pad, dressing rooms, players benches and lobby area. The plan is to limit the number of players on ice to 22 on the ice surface. Coaches, training staff, referees and spectators can attend provided the total limit of 50 people per pad is not exceeded. For adult leagues, the limit would be a total of 50 players and coachingl training/ executive at any one time. These numbers and protocols will be reviewed over time and may be adjusted as needed and or permitted,” it reads.

“A significant change for the users in operations of the arenas during the COVlD-19 outbreak will be access to the facility. Participants will be required to use directional one-way entrances and exits to the facility. The entrance doors will remain locked until it is the next group’s time to enter (15 minutes prior to rental). Township staff will unlock the door and allow one person (parent/child) in at a time according to physical distancing markers, staff will ask each patron screening questions upon entry and a tracking sheet will be completed or be provided by the group’s leader at time of entry for contact tracing purposes. Players will be expected to arrive at facility doors and leave the building with most of their equipment on, and dressing room showers and washrooms will be closed for use.”

A report on the cost of reopening all three facilities is expected to be presented to council later this month.

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