With the Provincial lockdown in force starting Boxing day, at a special meeting today Council voted to implement new rules for the Outdoor Rink. Staff presented three options: 1) continue with no change, 2) add new rules or 3) close the Rink. The new rules will mean registering in advance for one of 8 daily one hour time slots which will allow only 10 at a time. The area will be fenced and skaters will be screened and expected to wear a mask and keep 2 meters away from each other. Any spectators (e.g. parents of small children) will be counted as part of the 10 even if not skating. Fencing and registering is needed because with the previous system, many skaters ignored the rules – e.g. there were as many as 100 skaters when the limit was 25 – and social distancing was often ignored.
But Council felt that with the CCC closed, it was important to provide open air recreation opportunities. However, staff will be stretched to implement Council’s direction – they pointed to a lack of a registering system and limited resources especially given the long operating hours (expected to be from 10 am to 9 pm). Two staff would be required for each of 2 shifts plus security would be required.
Although fines can be issued by Police or By-Law officers for $850, there is a strong desire to focus on education and not on issuing fines.
Despite the existence of the Emergency Control Group, they were not empowered to decide this issue since Cobourg is not currently in a declared State of Emergency. Therefore Council had to make the decision and with less than a day’s notice, an emergency meeting was called for 11:00 am today.
Councillor Nicole Beatty also wanted an update on the possible provision of a second open air rink despite Councillor Darling pointing to the logistical difficulties of this. Staff were asked to report back on this by the January 4th Committee of the Whole Council meeting.
The resolution to proceed with option #2 (including Nicole’s amendment) passed 5 to 2 – Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin objected because of the unbudgeted cost (approx $22,000) and Councillor Burchat wanted the status quo.
As additional details of this are made available by the Town, they will be added here [see below] and also on the special Covid 19 page.
Update 27 Dec Outdoor Rink in Rotary Park
The Rotary Park outdoor skating rink – commonly known as the frink (Fountain/Rink) – is open but with stringent rules.
It is fenced to allow enforcement by the full-time Special Constable.
To use the Rink, you must first register/book online in advance – see link at end of this section.
Monday to Friday: 12 pm – 8 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 8 pm
- 10 maximum occupancy
- Bookings consist of a 45-minute time slot
- Register early to secure your spot, you will receive a confirmation email
- Abide by all safety protocols including a strong recommendation to physically distance and wear a face covering
- No organized team sports (hockey) or games of tag are allowed
- The Albert Street Transit Shelter remains closed
- If you are not feeling well, stay home
Please check in with the Special Constable once you arrive.
Remember that the rink is subject to the weather and may be closed temporarily if the conditions become unsafe.
When I checked out the rink at around 2:00 pm on Sunday 27 December, there were two Auxiliary Police there (not Special Constables) and they had a Special Constable Cruiser. One had a clip board to check-in new arrivals. At that time, there were few skaters although the weather was mild. See photos.