LAKE LOUISE – The rink at Lake Louise’s rec grounds will temporarily be closing earlier to the public each day after it was being used as a “personal party area” recently.
Effective immediately, the multi-purpose arena that houses the rink at the Lake Louise Sport and Recreation Centre is shutting down at 4 p.m. daily in response to the outdoor get-togethers in the tourism hot spot.
“Do better locals – we want to be here to offer a safe and welcoming place to enjoy recreation and nothing hurts us more than having to babysit people who cannot follow local and provincial legislation,” said a statement on the Lake Louise Sport and Recreation Centre Facebook page.
The rec grounds are operated by the 1369058 Alberta Society also known as Lake Louise Sport and Recreation Society (LLSRS), and part of the statement said Mounties removed people at the rink for several nights.
The LLSRS was approached by security from a local business and the RCMP, who expressed the crowds at the rec grounds had become a “much bigger issue.”
“We know this also impacts the people who are using the grounds safely, and we apologize that this has to negatively impact you,” the statement added.
“I am sure nobody needs to be reminded of the active case rate in our area, and we are committed to keeping the community healthy and well.”
Lake Louise RCMP Sgt. Gerald Walker said no fines were issued and the rink's daily early closure is a short-term decision for “preemptive measures.”
He added it’s a “non-issue”.
“It was getting close to being a problem, so rather than being a problem, and like the last thing we want to do is end up having to deal with COVID fines for people and stuff like that, so it was more of seeing a pattern and let’s stop it before it becomes a problem,” Walker said.
According to Walker, the covered outdoor arena allows 20 people inside – 10 in each half.
An approximate number of how many people were present at the rink was not given.
Moving forward, fines would be issued accordingly if the situation results in behaviours that go against COVID public health restrictions.
“We talk to everyone out here all the time,” said Walker. “I appreciate the efforts we saw last night to be in line with the restrictions that are out and I hope that continues, but everything is going pretty smooth.”
As of Tuesday (May 4), Banff and Lake Louise had 104 active cases of COVID-19 according to Alberta Health, and the region is among top active spots per capita in Alberta with 773 cases per 100,000 people.
CORRECTION: An earlier version stated the local municipality Improvement District 9 operates the Lake Louise recreation grounds. However, it is the 1369058 Alberta Society that does.