With the new North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex set to open this fall, a plan has been drafted to make use of the one additional sheet of ice in the city.
A report before city council on Monday (May 13) details the transition from the two-rink North Surrey Recreation Centre to the new three-rink facility being built at 12780 110th Ave., just south of Scott Road SkyTrain station.
The city’s Ice Allocation Policy, established in the 1990s “to guide the operation of the city’s arena facilities with a focus on prioritizing the ice time for Surrey’s youth,” will be used to allocate additional ice time with the new $52-million facility in the mix.
A “balanced approach” will be used to allocate all sheets of ice, according to the report, authored by Laurie Cavan, general manager of Parks, Recreation & Culture.
“The additional sheet of ice will provide new opportunities and capacity for future growth,” the report concludes.
As previously reported in the Now-Leader, the existing North Surrey rec centre will no longer be used for ice sports once the new complex is opened in September.
The net gain of one sheet of regulation-sized ice in Surrey will mean a 12.5-per-cent increase in capacity, or 75.25 hours per week, according to the report before council, and will bring the number of city-operated ice sheets to nine. They are located in Cloverdale (one sheet), Newton (one), North Surrey (three, in the new complex), South Surrey (one, of Olympic size) and Fleetwood (three, at Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex).
In Cloverdale, the issue of available ice was a hot one in December when city council scrapped plans to build a two-sheet arena in that community, on 64th Avenue at 177B Street.
The addition of a ninth sheet of ice in the city, at North Surrey, “will provide an opportunity to realign the arena bookings and improve efficiency with regards to ice allocation,” according to the city report.
Per week, the additional 75.25 hours of ice will be split four ways – 21.75 hours for city community programs, 28.5 hours for minor sport, 2.5 hours for adult sport and 22.5 hours available for purchase by minor sport or adult sport groups.
In a “realignment of home arenas” in Surrey, the Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex in Fleetwood “will be re-established as a community arena where the city can host additional community programming and special events.”
Minor sport accounts for approximately 64 per cent of the total ice allocation of the city’s arenas, according to Cavan’s report. Minor hockey represents the largest user group among minor sport, followed by ringette, figure skating, synchronized skating and speed skating.
As for arena usage trends, the report notes: “The minor hockey associations are fully allocated based on the (ice time allocation policy) and utilize approximately 7,950 hours of ice in Surrey arenas. The associations choose to purchase additional ice time at facilities outside of Surrey that have surplus ice, (and) collectively they buy over 3,700 hours of ice outside the City of Surrey arenas.
“It should be noted that because there are four hockey associations operating within Surrey, allocating beyond the minimum Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Associations requirements would reduce the amount of ice for all other stakeholders and as such is not recommended at this time.”
With the additional sheet of ice in Surrey for the 2019-20 winter sport season, “there is an opportunity to re-align the groups within their catchment areas, increase the icetimes of the under-allocated groups and provide the capacity for minor sport to grow in Surrey,” the report says.
“The re-alignment will mean less travel for the participants and families as well as opening allocation time at both the Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex and the Newton Arena,” Cavan adds. “Many of the minor sports have already achieved or surpassed 100 per cent of their allocation based on registered players; there remains an additional 22.5 hours per week available for purchase by minor or adult sport groups on top of their allocated hours. Therefore, the groups may choose to purchase less additional ice outside of the Surrey arenas.”