‘Cannot afford a $100,000 fine’: Edmonton outdoor rink may close due to COVID-19 concerns

EDMONTON — A south-side community league is warning residents it may have to close its outdoor rink because COVID-19 rules are “being ignored.”

“There are too many people on each sheet of ice. People are playing hockey even though the nets are locked up,” a post on the Facebook page for the Blackmud Creek Community League reads.

“The league cannot afford a $100,000 fine,” it concluded. 

The rink is located in Allard Park on Allard Boulevard SW. 

On Monday night, about 12 people were seen using each sheet of ice — with several signs warning users that the maximum is 10 per sheet. 

The nets were chained to a pole, but one net was on the ice with people playing hockey. Some people wore masks, some did not. Some skaters stayed in family groups, others appeared to be mixing. 

Will Wallawalla was skating with his family. He lives down the block and said he’s been to the rink a few times this winter where he believes “most” people are following the rules. 

“It would definitely suck if this got shut down. There’s not a lot of things for people to do other than stay home right now,” Wallawalla said. 

Wallawalla said he supports coronavirus rules and that he follows them. He suggested a staff member on site to better keep track of users and enforce rules. 

“Staying home is OK up to a certain point but we gotta get some fresh air and live our lives a little bit, with rules obviously in place,” he said. 

The debate over rink rules can be seen on several Edmonton community league Facebook pages, with Blackmud Creek not the only one reminding residents that the rules must be followed. 

Blackmud Creek’s Facebook post said officials would monitor compliance before making a decision on closure. 

The post was controversial amongst commenters, with some suggesting the rules don’t make sense. 

Emails to the Blackmud Creek Community League were not returned and a number posted on the rink shack was answered by a man who claimed he was not associated with the league at all. 

A complete list of government restrictions for outdoor activities can be be found online

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