Community centres, halls close doors due to COVID

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Community centres across the South Peace have partially closed due to three-week COVID restrictions that came into effect for enhanced-status areas last Friday.

The Beaverlodge Community Centre and multi-purpose room are both closed, said Tina Letendre, Beaverlodge acting chief administrative officer.

The Christmas Festival hasn’t been booked at the centre this year and that means lost revenue of approximately $1,800, she said.

“We’re unable to do the Christmas Festival this year with the COVID restric- tions,” said Alysha Martin, Beaverlodge Daycare Society executive director.

She said last year the festival was held at St. Mary School, which is also closed for private rentals.

Letendre said most other lost rental revenue at the community centre will be “very minimal,” or about $143 in November.

Planned private rentals were cancelled and postponed, with Letendre saying birthday parties, fitness classes and meetings were the most common rentals.

Both the Sexsmith Community Centre and civic centre have been affected by the restrictions.

Dennis Stredulinsky, an Elks member who manages bookings for the civic centre, said the centre is largely shut down.

Shannon Municipal Library remains open at reduced capacity, but the Sexsmith Tumbling Club has postponed group classes in favour of Zoom classes and one-to-one appointments, he said.

The civic centre had booked one church service in December, but that has been postponed until next year, he said.

The Elks won’t be meeting at the civic centre again until possibly January, and that might be by phone, Stredu- linsky said.

Council had also been meeting at the civic centre in recent months but moved to the community centre two weeks ago.

The Sexsmith Community Centre is also mostly closed, said Beth Endresen.

Council meetings will still take place there but two private parties and a yoga session had to be cancelled, she said.

There won’t be much lost revenue for December, as typically the space is donated to the Sexsmith Christmas hamper campaign, Endresen said.

The centre is commonly used for yoga and fitness classes, playschool and family rentals, as well as annual general meetings, she said.

Endresen said the “primary user” is the Lighthouse Seventh Day Adventist Church, which holds services Saturdays.

Under COVID restrictions the services will continue with one-third attendance, she said.

The Hythe Community Centre is “basically closed to public access,” but Montana’s Hair Salon, the food bank and South Peace Rural Community Learning are open by appointment, said facilities manager Candy Robertson.

Appointments aren’t necessary for the thrift store but the north access should be used, Robertson said.

The Demmitt Community Centre is also closed, said Teresa von Tiesenhausen, a Demmitt Cultural Society volunteer board member.

Von Tiesenhausen said the society had to cancel yoga classes, which have been running with a cap of 15, as well as the annual community Christmas party.

Typically at this time of year the hall would see activity like dances, documentary nights, workshops and the Borderline Culture Series concerts, she said.

The Saskatoon Lake Community Hall is closed as well, said Teri Ondrick, hall manager.

Girl Guides, 4-H and other community group meetings and Christmas parties had to be cancelled, along with many rentals over the upcoming weeks, she said.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News