Open Norfolk County Arenas | including the Simcoe Rec Centre

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To the Mayor and Members of Council,

On August 24th Norfolk County released a letter to user groups saying that,

"We regret to inform you that we will not be opening up ice slots for adult recreational hockey leagues or any other private users/businesses for the upcoming Fall 2020 Winter 2021 season. Due to Covid-19, pickup hockey will not be allowed and only provincially recognized sport organizations will be allowed to rent ice for minor hockey and figure skating." The letter goes on to say, "Increased staffing will be required to do cleaning and ensure that arenas are safe for our youth. As such, we will not have enough ice times or staff to operate once minor sports have been accommodated.

What the letter does not say is that Norfolk County intends to keep the Langton Arena and Talbot Gardens in Simcoe closed. All this comes on the heels of the Simcoe Recreation Centre being re-purposed as the new home of the Simcoe Seniors Centre. Leaving only 3 of the 6 arenas in the County in operation and would leave Simcoe without an arena at the beginning of Norfolk County’s reopening plan.

In signing this petition, we ask the Mayor and Members of Council to reconsider the decisions made by staff and allow adult recreational hockey to return to the ice. We also ask that council and staff initiate some meaningful discussions with the community before finalizing plans to re-purpose the Rec Centre ice pad. All options may not have been discussed and this Council claimed to want to be more transparent and willing to work with the community. Let’s not begin to tear apart our community without seeking out and considering all options.