EDITORIAL: Ice time requires in-depth study

Officials currently suggest that fewer people, particularly in minor hockey, are lacing up their skates

Demands used to abound about the need for expanded ice time for hockey, ringette and figure skating in Greater Vernon.

However, it appears the situation is changing.

Officials currently suggest that fewer people, particularly in minor hockey, are lacing up their skates, which means pressure for ice time has been eased.

As a result, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee and the City of Vernon are reviewing ice facilities to see if hours can be rationalized so everyone can be accommodated in public arenas. That could ultimately mean an end to renting hours at the privately owned Okanagan Training Rink, which has been used for very young children.

Off the top, this process makes sense.

After all, tax dollars are in limited supply and if there is a way of reducing the financial burden on residents while maximizing the investment in public structures, then all options should be considered.

However, the politicians shouldn’t act rashly.

Before any decisions are made, GVAC and the city should have a true sense of the ice time currently being used, current hockey registrations and the projected number of players in the future. What will the ramifications be if only public facilities are used in terms of available hours?

But the only way for the politicians to become informed is to sit down with minor hockey representatives, ringette, figure skating, speed skating and the owners of Okanagan Training Rink.

With hockey being such a vital role in residents’ lives, it’s incumbent that the required due diligence be done.