DAWSON CREEK, B.C – The City of Dawson Creek is closing the Kin Arena on Friday due to low usage.

Council approved the closure on Monday after provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, extended the existing health order with no end date.

General Manager of Community Services, Ross deBoer,  says “this really handcuffs us in terms of what we can accomplish”.

“That order states that there are no spectators in the building, there is no travel for sport, adults can still no longer play, no games, and no tournaments,” says deBoer.

Last week, the Dawson Creek Minor Hockey Association penned a letter to council requesting to keep the arena open until the end of February, when health regulations would be reviewed.

“By keeping Kin open, it will ensure the consistency in programmed exercise for youth enrolled in minor hockey. If DMCHA is required to use the Memorial Arena exclusively for practices it will result in a large loss of ice for our teams with little other activities available for registrants,” says the letter to council.

The league adds they haven’t offered value to their membership and worries about losing more members, resulting in an impossible recovery.

Several councillors spoke on it being unlikely that restrictions would be lifted at the end of the month.

At council’s January 25th meeting, deBoer spoke on the reduction of operations at the arena. During the discussion period, councillors agreed that the February 5th updates to the provincial health orders would determine the Kin Arena’s future.

The total weekly iced bookings in both the Kin Arena and Memorial Arena was just under 83 hours, due to the health orders.

The average annual cost to operate the Kin Arena is approximately $450,000, and revenue is about $150,000. In the 4 months since the Kin Arena has been open, estimated costs of operation were $147,501 with revenues of $12,762.