by Colin Smith
Town Council has approved a policy to provide what it says is a fair allocation of ice time at the Morinville Leisure Centre.
Adopted at Council’s April 13 regular meeting, the policy provides for the allocation of ice time rental bookings at the centre on a priority basis.
The number one priority is special events, those that have a regional, provincial or national connection, then Town of Morinville programs, and public skating.
Priority #4 is Minor Hockey, followed by Junior Hockey, adult ice users, non-prime time school programs and finally others.
The policy is part of the formalization of the process of ice allocation, which had previously been done informally based on historical use.
“The new policy has been developed to ensure that ice allocation is fair and equitable for all user groups,” stated Community Services Manager Sharleen Edwards.
The intention is that community and ice user groups and visitors will be able to participate in arena programs that reflect population, registration and utilization and participation patterns.
Along with providing for fair and equitable access to ice time, the policy aims to ensure the facility’s financial sustainability and efficient use, and make provision for a diverse range of activities, including public skating and organized ice sports.
It also recognizes the importance of youth sports development, while stressing the need for mutual cooperation among all users and balance of time distribution, considering the regular season and special event needs.
In response to a question from Councillor Scott Richardson, Edwards said the Administration had sought feedback on the policy from ice user groups, as well as discussing it with the Community Services Advisory Committee.
Answering a further question from Richardson, she said it is not expected that the present owners of the old arena will seek to book ice time at the centre for events such as tournaments or showcases they may hold.
Approval of the policy, which had been previously discussed by Council at a Committee of the Whole Meeting, was moved by Councillor Rebecca Balanko.
“I’m excited to see this come forward,” Balanko said. “I hope everybody will support it.”
Richardson expressed his support.
“Everybody I talked to was in support of it as well,” he said. “I want to just say that in conversation with user groups that are using the facility I’ve heard a lot of praise about the interaction with this policy.”
Councillors voted unanimously to adopt the policy.