A drive is underway to coordinate the programs offered by the arenas in South River, Sundridge and Burk’s Falls in an effort to make them stronger and better.
Burk’s Falls council discussed the idea at its meeting last Tuesday night.
Recreation coordinator Lacey Stevens told council she’ll be reaching out to arena staff in Sundridge and South River to see what the next five years looks like for each of them.
“We’ve all been struggling through COVID and I think it’s more important than ever that we work together,” Stevens told council.
Stevens says the aim is to get more people into all three arenas instead of each arena in all three communities working alone to attract the public to various programs.
“So if one arena wants to run a ball (ice) hockey program, that’s great, let’s flood the ball hockey program to that space,” Stevens said.
Stevens told council if all three arenas can work together as they get through COVID-19 it makes it a little easier for each facility to get “back on their feet.”
Graham Smith, manager of the Armour, Ryerson and Burk’s Falls Memorial Arena, backed Stevens up with the cooperative programs proposal.
“We want to make sure that all the facilities are used to the best of their abilities,” Smith said.
“That could mean that only two of the three (arenas) carry ice for the winter and two of the three carry ice for the summer.”
Smith made it clear that he was simply using an example of how services and programs could be divided up.
He said the plan is for arena and municipal staff from all three communities to discuss the merits of the concept “to see if we can all work together and be on the same page.”
“We want to make the facilities available to all the communities,” said Smith.
Smith added the goal is to make the programs better as they grow but also said this will take time.
Burk’s Falls Mayor Cathy Still said the proposal made “a lot of sense.
“Let’s help each other out,” Still said.
“I think it will fly. As we get through COVID, people are anxious to get out and start doing stuff. It’s the perfect time and it’s a great idea. You’re on the right path.”
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.