Town facilities won’t be re-opening June 1

But playgrounds, skateboard park are open – at your own risk

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Town of Slave Lake offices, etc. will not be re-opening on June 1, as suggested earlier. The decision was made last week to keep them closed “until further notice,” the town’s communications officer Christopher Brown told The Leader on May 20.

These include the MRC, the pool and the town office – although it will continue to be open on Fridays for a few hours. As for the Legacy Centre, it will likely follow suit, but that decision must be made by its own board of directors.

The decision was made after a report on the situation at council’s May 19 meeting. Public expectations are one thing, council heard. The ability to ‘re-launch’ quickly is another. Staff members on temporary layoff have to be given adequate notice. Where the swimming pool is concerned, all sorts of things have to be done to open and won’t be undertaken until the town gets the word from Alberta Health Services and the government that it can re-open.

“We’re really hoping the province gives us a head’s up,” said Garry Roth, making the report to council.

Other challenges arise when it comes to re-opening the rec centre. The authorities are concerned about the large number of ‘touch points,’ Roth said. How to keep them sanitized? This comes up in plans for the Summer Splash program. It is usually based in the MRC, but that’s off limits per provincial order, Roth told council. Alternatives are being contemplated.

Playgrounds won’t be closed. The best the town can do there, council heard, is to urge people who use them to be careful and to wash their hands after use. Frequent sanitizing of playground equipment is problematic, and not just because of the time it would take.

“Playground manufacturers are saying, ‘Please don’t use those chemicals,’” Roth said.

So playgrounds are open, but the spray park at Schurter Park won’t be. Too risky, is the consensus.

The skateboard park is open and will continue to be. It’s up to the users to take precautions. Roth noted that some municipalities have fenced off their skateboard facilities. It wouldn’t stop kids from using their boards, Roth noted. They’d just find other places.

Wrapping up the discussion, mayor Warman said he is getting a lot of calls with questions about use of playgrounds and such.

“We’re not closing them,” he said, “because we don’t want to spend our days chasing you around. The responsibility is on you (to behave safely), not us.”

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