School board to close ice rinks in district

The ice rinks at Big White School and Perley Elementary School will likely have to be shut down due to liability issues.

School District 51 decided that the rinks are a hazard, in that the district is liable for anyone who is injured on the rink.

Secretary treasurer Jeanette Hanlon said that if the schools have ice rinks, only students are covered by the school and must wear helmets and be supervised,

The ice rink has to be behind a gate, have signage and be school use only.

Hanlon recommended that the school close the rinks because it can’t satisfy the liability issues.

Trustee Vicky Gee asked if there were any schools that were making it work, and brought up whether tennis courts on school grounds are in the same category.

“Is there an issue with community use of tennis courts at BCSS?” Gee asked.

Hanlon explained that tennis courts were not as big a danger.

“It’s not as high risk as it is with ice,” Hanlon said.

The courts are deemed much less of an issue and can be used by the community as well.

Gee asked whether it would be possible to satisfy the liability in some way.

Hanlon said that the problem lies in the supervision as well, because they can’t afford to have somebody there all the time.

Hanlon says that even if all the other issues were solved it still wouldn’t take away the risks associated with having the rinks in the first place.

“Even if we met all the obligations for the children, there would still be people sneaking in after hours and we’re liable for it,” Hanlon said. “They’re going to use it anyway, as they have been, and that’s the trouble.”

The board members were reluctant make a decision on closing the rinks, but decided that the risk was too great.

At Big White, there is a public ice rink that can be used by the students that will be covered for liability.