UPDATE: In a news release issued Thursday (June 11) morning, the city announced that the Taylor outdoor lacrosse box is to reopen on June 13. Other facility openings included in the announcement were the sports fields at Centennial Park and Peace Arch Elementary (June 13); Mann Park and White Rock lawn bowling clubs (June 15); and, the spray park at Memorial Park (June 22).
(Original story below)
The City of White Rock’s ongoing plan to re-open its outdoor sports facilities and playgrounds has left some in the local lacrosse community wondering when they’ll be able to return to action at Centennial Park’s outdoor box.
Earlier this week, Pat La Roue – whose two sons both played with Semiahmoo Rock Lacrosse before graduating to the junior ‘A’ ranks – reached out to Peace Arch News, asking why the Taylor Lacrosse Box at Centennial Park was still closed but the tennis/pickleball courts were open and seeing high usage – especially from local seniors, for whom pickleball is popular.
“I’ve watched the pickleball players as they overcrowd the court, they are intermingling without regard,” he said.
“Seems odd considering the medical evidence regarding the age demographics and danger for COVID transmission… I find it incredibly hypocritical and quite frankly, insulting (that) this facility has opened without the others.”
White Rock is “working on a phased-in approach to opening our facilities,” city communications manager Donna Kell told PAN earlier this week.
On Wednesday afternoon, Kell said that a schedule outlining some upcoming facility openings would be released Thursday morning.
In order for individual organizations to be allowed to return to play, their provincial sports organization must submit, and have approved by provincial sports and health authorities, a detailed return-to-play plan. Once approved, it moves down the chain until individual associations can return to some type of modified athletic activity.
For example, Coastal FC – the South Surrey-based youth soccer association – is set to return June 15 with its Safe Soccer program, which mostly consists of organized, but individual, skill development, with players properly spaced on the pitch.
— Coastal FC (@Coastal_FC) June 9, 2020
La Roue told PAN that he has heard June 15 would be when the lacrosse box may open – though Rock president Colin Snyder said June 30 is the date. La Roue also said it’s likely that the provincial pickleball association had its return-to-play plan ready to go and submitted to the province ahead of some other sports, which would explain its early return.
The outdoor lacrosse box at Centennial Park is used by Semiahmoo Rock for all its lacrosse practices, Snyder said, adding that the association’s contract with the city has been cancelled “to at least June 30 due to COVID-19.”
Snyder, who lives near Centennial Park, said he has seen “large groups of people” playing both pickleball and tennis, and has also been contacted by a handful of parents inquiring about the availability of the lacrosse box.
Snyder said a member of the Rock organization was told by a city staff member that White Rock was still waiting for return-to-play safety plans from the provincial sport organizations responsible for soccer, baseball, lacrosse and lawn bowling.