Some sports pose big challenges

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There’s no quick fix for restoring service at some of Brockville’s recreational facilities when the pandemic eases.

A COVID-19 recovery plan received by city council on Tuesday includes a framework for community amenities and how they might function in the “new normal” caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Submitted by city manager Janette Loveys, the plan offers safe modified service levels as well as staff recommendations on next steps.

A provincial emergency declaration order that includes the closure of outdoor recreational amenities such as ball diamonds, soccer fields and play structures has been extended to June 2. Brockville’s moratorium on events at city facilities is scheduled to end June 30.

The Brockville framework for parks and the Brock Trail notes the “positive community health and well-being impacts” of a list of items that includes basketball, tennis and pickleball courts as well as skateboard and BMX parks, the dog park and scuba diving.


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Although standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be needed, the opening of those facilities could be linked to the Ontario government’s lifting of its provincewide directive. Sourcing COVID-19 supplies for park maintenance is recommended.

The outlook for athletic fields such as ball diamonds and soccer fields appears to be less promising.

“Impossible/challenging to ensure public health COVID-19 directions are followed,” the framework states.

The city will continue to monitor developments. However, there would be “no league playing unless the province allows.”

Brockville Soccer is planning to make a decision on its 2020 season this week. Brockville Little League, which would normally have its house league up and running by now, has yet to make a decision but has indicated it would like to have some sort of season this summer.

As for the prospect of hockey returning to the Memorial Centre and Youth Arena, the city framework states there are “significant challenges” for the “contact sport” to follow public health guidelines.

The report suggests there might be SOPs for figure skating and public skating. A decision on the ice-related activities would be needed by early August, staff are recommending.

The Memorial Centre is currently being used as the local COVID-19 assessment centre.

Much of what might end up happening at recreational facilities and other community amenities in the weeks and months to come will be determined by the province, city officials noted at the council meeting on Tuesday.


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Brockville Mayor Jason Baker said that the city is planning for those next steps, but implementation is a different thing. Just because the province says something can now open doesn’t mean the municipality will be ready for it, which is why Baker is asking for patience from city residents.

The devil is going to be in the details, the mayor said.

The status of a major late-summer athletic event based at Brockville’s downtown waterfront also remains uncertain. The annual Thousand Islands Triathlon and Duathlon is slated for August 16.

In noting the triathlon/duathlon is three months away, Somersault Events partner Christine McKinty said she is not in a position to comment or speculate on what might happen to the 2020 edition.

Organizers are awaiting word on municipal, provincial and federal government guidelines, she added.

There were more than 340 participants in the 2019 triathlon/duathlon.