Students will be allowed to skate

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Students attending High Prairie schools may still be able to use the Sports Palace for skating.

In an abrupt turn of events after terminating the Joint-Use Agreement with local school divisions, High Prairie town council decided to open the arena until the end of March when the ice is removed.

The vote nearly failed with Mayor Brian Panasiuk and councillors Donna Deynaka and Michael Long in favour and councillors Brian Gilroy and Judy Stenhouse opposed.

During debate, Stenhouse referred to the Joint-Use Agreement’s termination and council’s motion which indicated the schools would pay no fees.

“Now we’re changing our minds?” she asked.

“I’m not in favour of this motion. We just sent a letter saying they’ll have to pay.”

Panasiuk disagreed.

“This isn’t to override the Joint-Use Agreement. It’s no longer in use.”

He added he looked upon it as a gesture from the Town to give students an exercise option. He also noted it was only for one month.

“I know what you’re saying,” he told Stenhouse. There’s a cost. . .ice flooding. . .sterilization. It’s not a major cost.”

CAO Rod Risling questioned if the termination of the agreement was valid, noting either party had to give one year’s notice. Yet, the letter was mailed from the Town office to local school divisions.

Risling also added the recreation committee approved to open the arena citing it “would be beneficial to both physical and mental health with limited additional costs incurred by the recreation budget.”

Gilroy noted the idea may be a moot point at one school: High Prairie Elementary. He said he spoke to principal Kim Corless earlier in the day who told him HPE would not be using the arenas due to the 10-person limit.

Long suggested it “might be a good idea creating some outdoor rinks.”

The request came from High Prairie School Division to open the Sports Palace at no cost. It was made to the joint recreation committee of the Town and Big Lakes County and passed Feb. 19.

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