After getting the go-ahead from Town Council, the recreation department is going to take on a more administrative role with some of the programming at the Golden and District Arena this upcoming season.
“This is something that we’ve been chipping away at for a while, but we could use some more direction,” said Manager of Recreation Services Jordan Petrovics at the last council meeting in July. “By facilitating more drop-in programming, we could balance out some of the organizations that have collapsed.”
Certain user groups in the arena, including a few recreational hockey programs, have had difficulty keeping their leagues going, and often the financial burden of the ice time gets dropped in the lap of the organizer.
With the municipality taking the reins of a drop-in style system, it could take the pressure off of organizers, and hopefully encourage higher participation from people who are hesitant to commit to a full season. That model is already in use for their weekly “shinny” hockey program.
“A lot of groups have had trouble paying their fees,” said Petrovics. “So this will allow us to take more control.”
Coun. Bruce Fairley was reluctant for the Town to take on the burden, saying that it is not their job to, “save failing recreational groups.”
However the town does facilitate more programming at other facilities, such as the pool and Rec Plex. Coun. Leslie Adams argued that the fact that the arena hasn’t traditionally been run that way, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t.
“Why demand that these groups operate as clubs just because they traditionally have? We (operate this way) with shinny, so I don’t see why we can’t do it for other programs,” she said.
Council unanimously agreed to take on the drop-in system for certain arena programs, but with the caveat that they could change back if necessary.
Council also directed the recreation department to change the booking timelines for the arena, which will allow them to maximize its usage.
“We want our local user groups to be getting the ice time that they need, but typically minor hockey doesn’t make their schedule until later, and we’re already getting requests from out-of-town groups for the space,” said Petrovics.
Not all changes can be implemented for this season, but the recreation department will begin informing user groups that changes will be coming.