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North Battleford extends proof of vaccination requirement to more facilities

Extends to NationsWEST Field House, Northland Power Curling Centre, Dekker Centre, Don Ross Centre, Co-op Aquatic Centre and Access Communications Centre. 
City council Nov. 8
Council votes 4-3 to extend proof of vaccination requirements to more city facilities.

NORTH BATTLEFORD — North Battleford council has voted to extend the requirement for proof of vaccination to more city facilities.

At their meeting Monday held on the Zoom platform, council voted in favour of a resolution implementing the requirement for proof of double vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test result within the previous 72 hours, in specified city-owned facilities for all those eligible to be vaccinated to take effect Nov. 30. The negative test must be according to provincial requirements. All the requirements would come back to council for review on a monthly basis.

Council also voted in favour of several resolutions that specified those facilities where the double-vaccination/negative test requirements will take effect: NationsWEST Field House, Northland Power Curling Centre, the Dekker Centre, Don Ross Centre, Battlefords Co-op Aquatic Centre and Access Communications Centre. 

Previously, only the city-owned NationsWEST Field House and the Allen Sapp Gallery – the Gonor Collection had been covered by a proof of vaccination requirement. The Dekker Centre and the Northland Power Curling Centre have put in their own requirements, while Access Communication Centre had proof of vax requirements in place for North Stars games. 

The resolutions passed Monday will extend the proof of vaccination requirements to all six of these facilities, but it was not a unanimous vote. The resolutions carried by a 4-3 vote down the line, with councillors Thomas “Bill” Ironstand, Len Taylor, Kent Lindgren and Ross MacAngus all in favour.

In voicing his support, Taylor said municipalities have the authority to impose proof of vaccination requirements in their facilities. He said, “our facilities are going to be there to ensure it’s a safe place for the residents of this city, just like an airline should be a safe place for travellers, a cruise ship should be safe for cruise-ship people and a curling rink a safe place for people who want to curl. And we’ve had that and haven’t had any issue at all since we opened.”

There were three “no” votes — Mayor David Gillan and councillors Kelli Hawtin and Greg Lightfoot. They expressed a desire to continue to allow the province’s guidelines to take precedence.

Hawtin expressed concern about what the new city requirements would mean for youth activities at those facilities.

“If parents can’t bring their kids into hockey, that means kids don’t play hockey. If parents can’t come and tie the skate of a child that’s at CanSkate, that means a child can’t play CanSkate. If parents can’t get kids to a volleyball … the list goes on and on,” said Hawtin. “I’m really struggling with the burden being on children.”

She said she was concerned about adding a level municipally “when we are seeing cases decrease dramatically with the provincial guidelines in place … I’m struggling with what is the significant health and safety risk that we are trying to mitigate that we haven’t already mitigated with measures that are in place.”

In addition to passing the proof of vaccination resolution, council also voted to receive an attestation for the record that Gillan and all members of council were double-vaccinated.