Rec committee to decide if ice is in or out at arena

When it comes to arena space in Nanaimo, some teams are going to win and some are going to lose.

The City of Nanaimo’s Recreation Committee will make a decision today (March 13) on how to allocate ice surfaces and dry floors at its four rinks this spring and summer. In past years, the city went with three dry floors and one ice sheet, but this year staff decided it could better fill the facilities with two ice rinks and two dry floors.

The new model exacerbates a lack of dry-floor availability in the city, say some user groups. Brian Boas, president of the Nanaimo District Lacrosse Association, said other associations took to the floor last week.

“They’re all going to have their teams evaluated and selected and they’re going to start practising,” he said. “They’re starting their seasons. We’re still arguing over whether I get an arena in March or April.”

The Parks and Recreation Commission was going to make the decision on arena allocation, but with minor lacrosse antsy, parks and rec’s Recreation Committee will have the final say. Giving additional floor time to lacrosse clubs would mean taking ice time away from hockey groups.

“We have to do something to get ourselves through this year that works…” said Richard Harding, the city’s director of parks, recreation and environment. “We’ll have some issues this year because there’s going to be expectations from one side or the other that won’t be met.”

Harding said his department needs upgraded allocation procedures and policies “so we have clearer options and directions moving forward.”

Today’s rec committee meeting is at 3:30 p.m. at the Bowen Park Activity Centre.

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