The Regional District of Nanaimo recreation department has cancelled all adult hockey programs due to the latest COVID-19 restriction. (PQB News file photo)

The Regional District of Nanaimo recreation department has cancelled all adult hockey programs due to the latest COVID-19 restriction. (PQB News file photo)

COVID-19: Some recreational facilities still operating in Parksville, Qualicum Beach

Appointments required as adjustments made to comply with pandemic protocols

The Regional District of Nanaimo recreation department has adjusted its programs and operations to comply with the current provincial COVID-19 protocols.

General manager of parks and recreation Tom Osborne updated the Oceanside Services Committee and stated Oceanside Place and the Ravensong Aquatic Centre are currently operating.

But patrons can’t just drop in. You are required to register or to call to make an appointment to use the facilities.

Osborne said they’ve also rolled back programs that affected mostly adult groups such as hockey, aquafit and indoor pickleball. He said they’ve been cancelled based on health authorities’ guidelines.

“The (provincial) orders are very challenging to read at times to ensure how they’re interpreted,” said Osborne, who added that they work closely with their environmental health officers, each assigned to Oceanside Place and Ravensong Aquatic Centre. “We follow up on them.”

Initially, the RDN cancelled all lane swimming but further clarification of the rules allowed the program to be reinstated but only for individual swimmers and not those in a group.

To make up for the loss of the adult programs such as men’s hockey, their time slots are being offered to minor hockey or youth groups that are allowed to use the facilities but under Phase 2 guidelines which is simply skills and drills. No competitions are allowed.

READ MORE: VIJHL Suspends season until Jan. 10

The aquafit program is scheduled to restart on Jan. 11 but it will only be a low-intensity class.

Parksville director Adam Fras said the community greatly appreciates the recreation department staff for doing their best keep the facilities open.

“I know it’s always easier to just close things down and be kind of safe and sorry,” said Fras. “But it’s definitely it’s a benefit.”

VIAHA hopes games will resume again Jan. 16-17

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association says if everything goes to plan, teams could potentially be playing games again as early as Jan. 16-17.

“If we are permitted to return to Phase 3 on Jan. 8 the earliest possible date that we could resume play would be the weekend of Jan. 16-17,” stated VIAHA president Jim Humphrey in a news release.

“It is possible a return to Phase 3 might include additional restrictions on travel or on the size and composition of cohorts. This is entirely dependent on viaSport in consultation with the Provincial Health Officer. Managing directors/commissioners and staff will be cognizant of this fact when designing cohorts and, in any case, travel will be a significant factor in determining a return to play.”

The most recent directive from the Provincial Health Officer has returned hockey to Phase 2 activities until at least Jan. 8, 2021.

“Whether we will move back to Phase 3 at that time is dependent on the number of new Covid 19 infections in the two weeks following Christmas,” confirmed Humphrey, who noted that all hockey related activities over Christmas break must follow Phase 2 restrictions and it is the responsibility of each minor hockey association to ensure that if players engage in activities outside Phase 2 they are isolated from their teams for 14 days; otherwise the team will be isolated for 14 days.

“The VIAHA executive committee will be meeting in early January to review the situation and the possible route forward,” added Humphrey.

— Black Press

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