The Fernie Ghostriders and Kimberley Dynamiters played at the Fernie Memorial Arena on Friday.

No Spring ice: Fernie Memorial Arena to close at end of regular season

High costs and low utilization informed the city’s decision to close the arena without an extension into Spring

The City of Fernie has opted to close the Fernie Memorial Arena at the end of the regular season on Apr. 3, ruling out any extension of the season into Spring given the indefinite extension of provincial health orders.

In a report to the council, parks and recreation manager Brett Logan said that “a lot of municipalities around us are looking to close their rinks earlier than normal, with the exception of Sparwood and Elkford.”

Logan explained that with strict public health orders (PHO’s), municipalities nearby were hemorrhaging money keeping rinks open with limited capacity.

“They’re finding (that) closing down their rinks early is a way to save some costs.”

Nearby municipalities with rinks closed or set to close soon are Castlegar (Jan. 18), Nelson (Jan. 29), with other rinks in towns under the Regional District of Central Kootenay set to close on Mar. 14.

With the KIJHL having cancelled its season, the Fernie Curling Club accepting that the extended orders put an end to hopes for a Spring season, and other users and bookings for the arena either cancelled or rescheduled, Logan said there would be minimal impact to users.

Extending the season into Spring would drive monthly costs to $57,000 to maintain the arena, according to Logan, who said that closing the arena at the regular time allowed city staff to focus on preparing for other outdoor spaces for a busy Spring and Summer season.

Councillors voted unanimously to support closing the arena at the end of the regular season.

READ MORE: RDEK gives $10,000 to Fernie Museum



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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