The City of Cranbrook said the official re-opening of Western Financial Place last week has been a positive step forward for the community, as the public has limited access to aquatic programming, concourse walking, and hockey.

“These initial activities while limited, give our staff time to ensure the protocols put in place to make sure items like cleaning between user groups, and adherence to social distancing can be successfully implemented in a safe way, with the staffing levels we have,” said Chris New, Director of Recreation and Culture. “We are looking forward to a gradual re-opening of more of the facility in the coming weeks, including some expanded programs and squash court access.”

Cranbrook’s re-opening plan is following in alignment with public health orders around gathering and events for the Interior Health region, with further guidance and instruction from viaSport, the BC Recreation Facilities Association, and the BC Parks and Recreation Association.

The City of Cranbrook said many requests have been made by parents to be able to attend their children’s activities. At this time, Cranbrook said they can’t allow full attendance in order to ensure they align with COVID-19 protocols from higher authorities. The City said an outbreak at a facility would result in an immediate closure, either directly or by quarantining measures, and would be a step backwards for the community.

“We understand the importance of parents wanting to provide support to their kids by being able to watch. Our priority though is to provide opportunities for our kids to play,” said New. “Limiting the number of contacts within the building is that key piece to ensuring we can keep operating safely. Allowing spectators in the building will come, but not right away.”

“Our staff is working hard to keep our facilities operating safely for our residents and our user groups, closely following all the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer, Interior Health and the many provincial recreation agencies,” added Mayor Lee Pratt. “These aren’t decisions the City is making arbitrarily. I am asking everyone to please be patient and respectful with all of our staff during this time.”

As a further note, the City of Cranbrook said they are working in tandem with the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks and Cranbrook Minor Hockey to ensure they are operating in “safe and responsible manner” that will allow sport to continue.

Cranbrook said the recent positive COVID-19 case amongst the Kimberley Dynamiters is a reminder that the region isn’t untouchable when it comes to the virus. The positive test forced several team members to self-isolate and led to the cancellation of Kimberley’s three remaining exhibition games in the KIJHL.

“We must continue to ensure we are doing the right thing to stop the spread of COVID in our communities,” said the City.

Members of the public looking to register for programming at Western Financial Place can click here or click here for more information on Cranbrook’s Restart Plan.