A taxpayer subsidy of a private arena could still ultimately end.
The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has agreed to provide $9,000 to the Greater Vernon Minor Hockey Association for rent at Okanagan Training Rink for the remainder of the 2014/15 season (March). However, GVAC is still reviewing whether ice time at the private arena is needed long-term.
“We’re really looking to optimize what we offer taxpayers in our own facilities,” said chairperson Juliette Cunningham of Kal Tire Place and Priest Valley Arena.
About 280 to 300 hours per year are rented for minor hockey at OTR. GVAC began renting ice time at OTR in the mid-1990s when Civic and Priest Valley arenas were at capacity.
When Kal Tire Place first opened in 2001, ice time at OTR was reduced, but some usage by young children has continued at OTR so older children and adults can have earlier ice times at the public arenas.
But options are now being considered to increase use at the public facilities, including possibly using temporary boards so there is smaller play surfaces for young hockey players.
“We believe time can be made available if we shift some user groups,” said Doug Ross, recreation manager for the City of Vernon, which oversees programming.