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Opening arenas and pools could cost city $6.4 million in 2021: Report

As further means of addressing the ongoing financial and operational challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city must keep its ice arenas, including Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, closed until further notice. City of Prince George photo

Opening city facilities in 2021, prior to the province entering stage four of its pandemic recovery plan, will have a negative impact on the city budget, according to a report from, Adam Davey, the city director of community services.

“On the one hand, reopening a limited number of facilities, such as the consolidation of ice user groups at the Kin Arenas, and reopening the Aquatic Centre, may provide limited recreation for a select number of residents,” he said in a report that will go before council on Monday. “On the other hand, with physical distancing requirements, the level of enjoyment at both arenas and pools will likely be substantially reduced – game play is not allowed during the Provincial Restart Plan – Phase 3.”

The city closed facilities including arenas, pools, and the Civic Centre in March as the province instituted COVID-19 precautions. The city had indicated last month that it may re-open arenas in August, however, last week said city arenas will remain closed indefinitely. That has drawn the ire of user groups, such as minor hockey and figure skating.

The says it is losing approximately $1 million a month due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Reopening indoor facilities will widen the current 2020 budget shortfall,” wrote Davey. “On an individual facility basis, the shortfall may not be large, considering the wider context. However, reopening facilities will result in an increase to the estimated current 2021 budget gap of $6.4 million as the current 2021 budget guideline figure assumes that indoor facilities remain closed. These numbers also assume that the province remains under Phase 3 of the Restart Plan for the foreseeable future.”

Council will debate his report on Monday.

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