The East Elgin Community Complex board delayed the decision on whether to remove ice at the Complex for the summer, while they wait for more guidance from the province on pandemic-related recreational facility restrictions and allowances for the summer.
There is currently ice installed, but no public access to the facility as per the provincial stay-at-home order. Aylmer and Malahide councillors, sitting as EECC board members, discussed the matter at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, June 2.
Aylmer Chief Administrative Officer Andy Grozelle said after review of the “Roadmap to Reopening” released by the province May 20, it appeared ice skating will not be permitted until July 26 at the earliest.
“That being said, there have been a lot of shifts in provincial directions during the pandemic so we don’t know if the province might change their mind in two weeks, and we could have people on the ice,” he said.
Malahide Mayor Dave Mennill said if the province allowed facilities to be open by the end of June, it would make sense to keep the summer ice. However, if reopening were to be phased in over two months, ice removal would be the way to go.
“Can we leave this up in the air?” he asked. “We’re depending on the province for guidance in how they’re opening this up.”
Mr. Grozelle said they will likely have more information on the matter by June 14, and a decision could be made around then.
Aylmer councillor Peter Barbour asked if there was demand for summer ice at the moment. Aylmer Parks and Recreation Manager Thom Polland said the demand is out there.
“I think it’s like any of the social activities or the sports activities; as soon as things open up there’s going to be a deluge of people wanting to play ball or soccer or get their skates on,” said Mayor Mennill. “Hopefully if they allow this in June, and we’ll be able to fill the ice.”
Malahide Cr. Chester Glinski asked how long it takes to put ice back into the facility. Mr. Polland said the EECC could be “play ready” within two weeks.
Mayor Mennill asked for confirmation as to whether ice was still in the facility, which Mr. Polland confirmed.
“So, leaving it in for another nine days is not going to be a huge expense,” said Mayor Mennill. “If the province opens on the 14th, then we’re ready to go.”
Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express