Village of Clive installing outdoor rink, will trust residents to follow rules

Village of Clive council decided Dec. 14 they will open the outdoor rink. Back row, from the left, is Coun. Tracey Hallman and Mayor Luci Henry. Front row: Coun. Norma Penney, Coun. Jeremy Whelan and Coun. Susan Russell. (Submitted photo)

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/East Central Alberta Review

CLIVE – The Village of Clive is installing an outdoor skating rink saying it will follow provincial government COVID-19 guidelines.

Councillors heard Director of Emergency Management (DEM) Tom DeForge’s report at their regular Dec. 14 council meeting on various COVID-19 teleconferences he had participated in, particularly with Alberta Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

Councillors were curious how current COVID-19 restrictions would affect the village potentially opening an outdoor skating rink.

DeForge said Dr. Hinshaw encourages outdoor activity, including an outdoor skating rink, and added there are consistent rules for such a facility. 

DeForge said the outdoor rink must have boards around it and accommodate no more than 10 people from the same household on the ice at one time.

DeForge said more than 10 people on the ice surface at a time or people from mixed households would be considered a social gathering and that’s not permitted at this time.

He added there was bad news for sports fans: Dr. Hinshaw was adamant that no hockey is allowed.

DeForge said the question of healthy physical activity versus the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is a difficult one. 

“It’s not an easy question to address, certainly.”

DeForge added that it appears the COVID-19 virus is suspended longer and travels farther in cold weather.

Coun. Jeremy Whelan asked how the City of Lacombe is handling outdoor rinks, as he’d heard the city’s outdoor rinks were being used.

Mayor Luci Henry said she had heard people are leaving their communities to go to other communities where certain amenities are open. She wondered if Clive keeps its rink closed, will local residents simply leave town and use rinks elsewhere?

Coun. Tracey Hallman said she was in favour of opening the outdoor rink as local residents want some activity to keep them busy.

Coun. Norma Penney said she understood the pandemic rules allow skaters showing up separately to participate if they follow social distancing, but showing up in a group is considered a social gathering.

Penney added she was in favour of opening the outdoor rink and if the village gets complaints that pandemic rules aren’t being follow, then possibly close it.

Coun. Susan Russell stated that she thought monitoring the rink would be virtually impossible and the village would have to trust people to follow the rules.

Councillors unanimously agreed to install a public outdoor skating rink.