Last week’s article (“Skaters make appeal for extended ice time”) regarding the Sunshine Coast Skating Club’s presentation to the SCRD corporate and administrative services committee on Nov. 22 mirrored the skaters’ appeal, but stopped short of actual journalism. There apparently was no attempt to fact-check the presentation, discover if there are opposing points of view or ask why the SCRD has turned down the “summer ice” proposal every year for the last 10 years.
As a member of the board of the Sunshine Coast Pickleball Association, I attended that meeting to hear the presentation. The skate club once again requested “summer ice,” which the “dry floor” users of the arenas strongly object to. Those users are pickleball, lacrosse, roller derby, ball hockey, roller skating, inline skating and special events.
Since 2009, the arenas have been available to these users from early April until early September, which is fair and equitable. The sign above the door says Multi-Sport Facility, not Ice Rink or Hockey Arena. At a recent meeting of all arena users, convened by SCRD staff, most ice user groups expressed satisfaction with the seven-month allotment currently available.
A July 10, 2014 SCRD staff report, using data from 2009, estimated the cost of summer ice at $11,385 per week. In that report, the skate club was told “user groups must cover all variable costs” of arena ice operations. In 2019 dollars that will be over $14,000 per week. There is no way for a small club to raise that kind of money. Unless taxpayers are willing to spend a large amount of public money so a small number of skaters can have ice in August, this annual request puts an unnecessary strain on the time and resources of our valued SCRD committee members and staff.
Ian Overend, Sechelt