Municipalities around the Edmonton area are taking different approaches to the limited reopening of recreational facilities as the province begins to lift some restrictions next week.
Starting Monday, one-on-one training by certified instructors will be allowed in indoor recreational facilities in Alberta, but team sports aren’t permitted. School-related sports and recreation for children are an exception to the group sport rule.
Leduc Mayor Bob Young said most of the city’s recreational facilities will open Monday for services following provincial guidelines. He said it was a priority for council to make sure they could open quickly when it was possible to do so.
“We feel that people need access to our recreation facilities. We know that we’re losing money on this, but we’re going to be opening up,” he said.
“Leduc is definitely a hockey town, so we know there will be one-on-one training opportunities, and we know people will take advantage of that.”
Two ice surfaces, the pool, and gym will open at the Leduc Recreation Centre for one-on-one training. The Alexander Arena will be closed.
The city reassigned many of its full-time staff so they could be brought back quickly when it came time to reopen, he said.
Meantime, St. Albert’s council directed staff Thursday to start the process of opening up recreation facilities like arenas, depending on if it is financially feasible and on the demand from schools and other groups. Many details had yet to be worked out.
Coun. Jacquie Hansen said the motion was a good compromise.
“We could have just shut everything down and say let’s reopen when we know it is super safe, because this isn’t super feasible, there’s not a lot of sports that can do one-on-one, but at the same time I’m glad we’re going to give our school-aged kids, the kids who were in hockey academy, some normalcy,” she said.
St. Albert council also voted to remove ice from two arenas and drain the pool at the Landrex Water Play Centre.
Fort Saskatchewan opted not to reopen any recreation facilities next week, according to a press release.
City of Beaumont spokesman Mike Berezowsky said in an email one ice sheet will open at Beaumont Sport and Recreation Centre Monday for school programming only. Currently there aren’t plans to open facilities for one-on-one training.
The City of Red Deer decided not to open most facilities, Barb McKee, recreation superintendent, said in an email. But the city will allow some to be rented out by community groups and will work with schools about potential access.
St. Albert clarifies role and status of fire chiefs
Meantime, the city of St. Albert issued a press release Thursday saying Bernd Gretzinger is still the top fire chief.
Postmedia obtained a staff email Wednesday indicating Deputy Chief Scott Wilde had been made acting chief during a temporary transition in fire leadership and the city declined to comment on Gretzinger’s employment status.
Thursday’s release also clarified its structure, saying normally there are five chiefs. There is one fire chief, four active deputy chiefs, an assistant chief and an inactive deputy chief. One of the active deputy chiefs is a temporary position and will return to human resources in two weeks.
“It is worth noting that this type of structure is not unique to St. Albert and is common in other mid-sized cities in our province,” it reads.