Gateway Gazette

Town of Okotoks Extends Closure of Public Recreation and Culture Facilities

The Town of Okotoks is extending the closure of all indoor and outdoor recreation and cultural facilities, as well as cancelling all events in their traditional format until July 2, 2020. 

This decision was made to continue to support the federal and provincial directives to help limit the spread of COVID-19. 

“The health and safety of our residents is the number one priority,” said Kelly Stienwand, director of Protective Services. “We know how much people miss using these facilities that are very much the heart of the community; however, we strongly believe this is a necessary step in minimizing the impact of COVID-19 in our community.

Closed facilities include the Okotoks Recreation Centre, Pason Centennial Arenas, Okotoks Art Gallery, Okotoks Museum, Rotary Performing Arts Centre, Foothills Centennial Centre, Outdoor Skate Park, BMX Park, Water Spray Park, tennis/pickle ball courts, ball diamonds and playing fields, as well as playgrounds. 

During this time Town events won’t occur in their traditional format, including the Okotoks Parade and Children’s Festival, Seniors Week Celebrations, Buskersfest, Canada Day, and Kite Festival. Some events, such as the Sheep River Valley Clean Up, have been cancelled. The Town is committed to providing alternatives to some of these events. Please watch for details on alternative formats, which will be announced on the Town’s communication channels. 

“While we know how disappointing it is to have some of our favourite events cancelled and our recreation facilities closed, staff are finding creative alternatives to deliver some of these events and programs in a different way so residents can remain active and socially connected,” said Susan Laurin, director of Community Services. “Our pathways and open park spaces remain accessible. We encourage all users to enjoy them, provided they follow all AHS recommendations including physical distancing and limiting gatherings of people to only your immediate household members.”

A growing list of virtual resources has been created through all the Town’s social media channels that include weekly challenges, fitness classes, and virtual exhibit tours. An online toolkit will soon be launched on the Town’s website to provide a central location for all these resources.

Residents who have registered in spring programs with the Town will automatically have accounts credited or may request a full refund at okrec@okotoks.ca  or 403-938-8954. Staff are also contacting user groups and sports teams impacted by the facility and field closures. Facility booking requests, special event permits and block party applications are not being accepted or rescheduled for 2020 until further notice.

Due to the uncertainty of when normal operations can resume, the Town is prepared to make additional changes as required in order to keep residents safe and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. 

Continued updates will be published on the Town’s website

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