Hockey mom Melissa Locke live streams the U11A (atom) practice Tuesday at Kal Tire Place north for other parents to watch since spectators are not allowed at the rinks. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Swim, skate and Vernon rec event revenues halved

Recreation services records 56% loss in first quarter

It’s been more than a year now since COVID-19 first locked down facilities and businesses.

While restrictions have eased and shifted, nothing is back to normal and the effects are having a sting on operations.

Vernon Recreation Services is one such group that has seen revenues cut in half, as well as services.

The first quarter of 2021 saw a 56 per cent decrease in revenues over the same quarter in 2019 ($374,000 to $860,000).

“Starting in late January (2020) we were already starting to see people drop out,” director of recreation services Doug Ross said.

But as programs were put back in place, with limits and safety protocols, people have come back to swim, skate and play at local facilities.

“We are gaining back public trust as people are coming in to use the facilities,” Ross said.

The limited number of programs being offered are at or near capacity, and facilities are being utilized as much as they possibly can be.

“Public skating was a real highlight, that number was almost double what it was the year before.”

Kal Tire Place has also acted as a BCHL hub for Vernon Vipers and their rivals.

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And the auditorium is booked while being used for vaccinations.

“That was a real shot in the arm, pun intended,” Ross said.

Fingers are crossed that restrictions will be loosened for the summer and that fall will produce some big numbers, in terms of events, attendance and revenue.

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