South Glengarry mulls shutting down Char-Lan Recreation Centre ice pad

Article content

WILLIAMSTOWN — The hockey and figure skating season at the Char-Lan Recreation Centre – fragmented, at best – is one stride closer to coming to a complete shutdown for the rest of the 2020-21 campaign.

A staff report brought to South Glengarry council at the twice-monthly meeting held earlier this week gave administration the operational authority to cease winter programming activities related to the arena, and have the ice removed for the remainder of the season. It doesn’t mean the ice removal is imminent, but “we wanted the discussion to be out there,” said Tim Mills, South Glengarry CAO.

Council was told the three largest user groups – the Char-Lan Minor Hockey Association, the Char-Lan Skating Club and the Char-Lan Rebels Jr. B hockey club – were contacted to inquire about their intentions for the remainder of the winter season when restrictions are raised. With COVID-19 restrictions having made their operations difficult this season and with all groups understanding that any future planning may have limits, it wasn’t a big leap to assume various operational restrictions would continue to affect all user groups after Feb. 11.

Advertisement

Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“We’re in constant communication with our main users,” Mills said on Thursday afternoon. “They are in flux too.”

Council was informed if the recreation department ceases winter operations of the refrigeration plant and the remainder of seasonal programming related to the ice surface in the arena, operational savings will approximately equal any lost revenues.

More On This Topic

  1. Some of the heavy equipment in play in the recent repair/replacement of a roof-top condenser at the arena in Alexandria.Handout/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network

Handout Not For Resale

    Longer-term arena shuffle in Alexandria, Maxville well underway

  2. There'll be more people allowed through these doors starting Saturday, now that spectators can take in the hockey action at the Benson Centre's three icepads.Photo on Thursday, October 8, 2020, in Cornwall, Ont. Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network

    Spectator return to ice pads in Cornwall gets a Saturday green light

  3. None

    Arena openings across SDG have it looking more like fall

Will more arena operators in the region soon be considering pulling the plug too?

In Cornwall, the ice pad wasn’t installed at the civic complex at any time in 2020-21, but, there are still three rinks available inside the Benson Centre.

“We haven’t made any decision yet to remove ice,” said Jamie Fawthrop, division manager, parks and recreation. “We’re in discussions with our local hockey associations to gauge interest in returning to play once the (shutdown/emergency declaration is) lifted.”

Fawthrop said there’s typically arena availability between hockey/skating season and the spring/summer ball hockey and lacrosse season, which could be a factor in salvaging some puck time.

“We think we could accommodate an extension to the hockey season, if there’s interest from the associations,” Fawthrop said.

For many indoor ice facilities in the SDG region, operators are mostly taking a wait-and-see approach. In South Stormont, director of parks and recreation Kevin Amelotte said the Long Sault Arena each year remains in operation for ice rentals until the first week of May.

Advertisement

Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“We still have a large demand from our minor hockey, figure skating, and adult rentals to return if possible from February to April, therefore we’re currently running the plant as efficiently as possible to simply maintain the ice with hopes of a re-opening following the current lockdown,” Amelotte said. “If an extension of the lockdown occurs or the current restrictions levels for the area do not allow for regular rentals, we’ll  need to make another recommendation on how we can proceed during our regular meeting of council (on Feb. 17).”

In North Glengarry, where there are normally two ice pads in operation, this season the one at the Maxville & District Sports Complex was instead temporarily converted into a multi-sports pad, which includes a walking/running track, basketball court, three pickleball courts and one tennis court. As for the Glengarry Sports Palace in Alexandria, Anne Leduc, the township’s community services director, verified the ice remains in place there.

While all facilities are currently closed, “we do look forward to having the public back in our facilities once public health regulations allow us to do so,” said Tara Kirkpatrick, the township’s economic development & communications officer.

Back in South Glengarry, where like everywhere else arenas are currently closed, there are outdoor skating options, including in one of the most eastern communities in the area.

In a Facebook post the township said warm temperatures last week may have derailed the outdoor rinks temporarily, but “thanks to the tireless efforts of our incredible volunteers they are back on track,” including at the Jack Danaher Park Rink in Bainsville.

The township post said despite the stay-at-home order, residents are encouraged to get outside and do some physical activity in order to help feed the mind and body.

When using the outdoor rinks, the regulations that must be followed include the following: 10 people maximum on the ice at a time, games/scrimmages are prohibited; physical distancing must be practised; if the rink is busy, come back when there are fewer people.

thambleton@postmedia.com

twitter.com/FreeholderTodd

News Near Trenton

This Week in Flyers