A few days after a White Rock resident reached out to Peace Arch News to question why the Taylor outdoor lacrosse box at Centennial Park was still closed, the city re-opened the popular facility, and announced that more fields and facilities are set to open later this week.
Early last week, City of White Rock communications manager Donna Kell said the city was “working on a phased-in approach to opening our facilities,” which explained why the tennis and pickleball courts at Centennial Park opened in mid-May, while the lacrosse box remained closed.
On Thursday (June 11), the city issued a news release with further details of the phased-in approach, announcing that “with the direction of sport associations and with physical distancing and community safety guidelines” in place, the lacrosse box, as well as sports fields at Centennial Park and Peace Arch Elementary would open Saturday and both of the city’s lawn bowling clubs – Mann Park and White Rock – would re-open today (Monday). The spray park at Memorial Park will re-open June 22.
“We are pleased to be reopening our outdoor facilities and resume some summer activities with input from the experts,” said White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker.
“We want people to stay active and healthy while they enjoy all that White Rock has to offer.”
Last week, Pat La Roue – whose two sons both played with Semiahmoo Rock Lacrosse before graduating to the junior ‘A’ ranks – questioned why the lacrosse box and the new all-abilities Generations Playground, which opened in 2018, were the only outdoor facilities still closed in the Centennial Park area.
“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.”
The outdoor lacrosse box at Centennial Park is used by Semiahmoo Rock for all its lacrosse practices, Rock president Colin Snyder said, adding that the association’s contract with the city was originally 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 of late, and prior to the lacrosse box’s June 13 re-opening, said he been contacted by a handful of parents inquiring about the availability of the box.
The city’s June 11 news release also notes that while regular community recreation programs have been cancelled for the summer, some adapted outdoor fitness programs will be available later in the summer. As well, a selection of youth summer camps will be offered through White Rock’s recreation and culture department, with increased safety protocols – such as daily health screenings and lower instructor-to-child ratios – in place.
Many sports associations across the Semiahmoo Peninsula are still waiting for the green light to return to action, as return-to-play plans are formally approved by government health authorities and individual provincial sports organizations.
Last week, Coastal FC soccer announced it would return to local fields today (Monday), and others are expected to return this month.