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Editorial: Knowing trends could help with sport facility decisions

Changes in population will impact what sports are popular
kinsmen arena
Will ice needs remain the same in 10-years? (File Photo)

YORKTON - At some point in the coming months Yorkton Council is going to have to decide exactly what to do about the aging Kinsmen Arena. 

If you have followed Yorkton Council over the last decade-plus you will be aware the existing Kinsmen Arena has been something of a problem child in terms of the City’s recreational facilities.  

Simply put the facility is old, and that has created certain limitations. For example, there have been calls over the years for summer ice at the Kinsmen Arena, but it has a tendency to have issues with mist in hot weather, and dripping from the ceiling creating bumps on the ice. 

And older facilities are all apt to have issues in terms of washrooms and dressing rooms in a world were co-ed teams are much more common. 

It’s fairly obvious, again if you follow Council, that several of the current seven would like to patch up the current Kinsmen, and get another decade or so out of the structure rather than opting for a new facility, primarily to save dollars now for other purposes. It doesn’t hurt that the bigger decision of replacing the building will belong to what is likely to be an entirely different Council in a decade. 

But, before Council makes the final decision now, it might be time to spend some time, and yes probably some dollars too, investigating what trends there are in terms of sport and recreation. 

For example, Council has heard from one individual who would like to see a dedicated, city-owned basketball facility. 

We know, basketball is gaining popularity, led by the rising profile of the NBA Toronto Raptors and reflected in the Canadian Elite Basketball League which has grown to 10 teams set to play this year, including the Saskatchewan Rattlers. 

So, should a municipality anticipate growing demand for court space in the years ahead? 

What about the numbers for hockey? Are there trends up, or down the City should be aware of. 

What about immigration trends? 

We certainly see a different mix of people in Yorkton today that was here 20 years ago, or even a decade ago. Will the latest influx of immigrants’ care about their children lacing on skates? 

Or, will they seek other options ranging from cricket to kabbadi? 

If those on Council aren’t aware of what kabbadi is as a sport, perhaps they should if immigration trends suggest more people from countries where it is popular moving to Canada and Yorkton. 

Maybe a patch job is the best plan because hockey arenas may become required less into the future – certainly curling in local rinks is not as popular as it once was – trends do change. 

But, studying the numbers is perhaps needed before final choices are made.