The ice rink at the Nelson and District Community Centre. Photo: Tyler Harper/Nelson Star

Ice rinks in Castlegar, Creston and Nelson to reopen in September

Rinks have been closed since March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Regional District of Central Kootenay announced Thursday that three ice rinks at RDCK facilities in Castlegar, Creston and Nelson will reopen on Sept. 14.

Rinks have been closed since March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will offer a limited variety of programming once they open up.

The district also announced it is targeting an early October start date for limited aquatic programming and rentals with community partners at its indoor pools.

READ MORE: Fitness centres in Castlegar, Creston and Nelson re-open at end of month

Craig Stanley, the chair of the RDCK arena-reopening committee, said in a statement that the 2020-21 ice season will not be business as usual.

“It is an ever-evolving situation and changes can happen quickly,” said Stanley, who’s also the manager of the Creston and District Community Complex.

“We will be in constant communication with our user groups to ensure everyone is updated with the most current information and health practices.”

The announcement characterizes the return to ice as “slow and deliberative for primary community partners,” which include the KIJHL’s Creston Valley Thunder Cats, Castlegar Rebels and Nelson Leafs as well as minor and adult recreational hockey, figure skating and speed skating groups.

The KIJHL has said it wants to begin its new season Oct. 2.

Organizations have also been asked to provide ice requests for the upcoming season and submit a COVID-19 safety plan. The statement adds the re-opening of Castlegar’s Pioneer Arena, Nelson’s Civic Centre and Creston’s curling rink is still being planned for.

“This plan will work in conjunction with return to sport guidelines set forth by each respective sport and the RDCK arena safety plans to determine how users will use the facilities,” said the statement.

“The RDCK will review all safety plans to ensure compliance with the RDCK COVID-19 safety plan before the ice can be booked. Meetings with regular ice user groups across the region have been on-going to ensure a clear understanding of the process.”

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