Smiths Falls takes safety first approach to arena use
Despite loss of income and ongoing demand to reserve arena time, Smiths Falls staff remains steadfast in their position of refusal in the name of safety.
The Town of Smiths Falls is on track to lose over $200,000 in rental fees from the arena this year, but Director of Community Services, Art Manhire, warns that the risk of losing much more outweighs the current recreational demands of the community.
Smiths Falls is currently still in Phase 3 of provincial COVID-19 protocol, but with the recent case in Chimo Elementary, nine active cases in Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville, and rollbacks to Phase 2 for Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa, that could all change.
Smiths Falls’ Fire Chief Rick Chesebrough emphasized in recent council discussions that denial of arena time is more proactive than reactionary, and that the decision to keep the arena closed is “not a fear factor or scare tactic, but certainly a reality check.” Chesebrough also noted that staff departments have developed contingency plans for a Phase 2 rollback, should it become necessary.