Sandy Shores Skating Club is looking for new members. (PQB News file photo)

Sandy Shores Skating Club is looking for new members. (PQB News file photo)

COVID-19: Pandemic poses problems for Parksville skating club

Enrolment numbers sag at Sandy Shores

Sandy Shores Skating Club is struggling to keep its doors open.

COVID-19 has severely impacted enrolment this year. They want the public to know that they are still offering classes and programs.

“Our numbers are so low this year,” said the club’s communications officer, Pille Kapetanakis. “We are barely keeping the doors open.”

Kapetanakis said one of the club’s most popular and biggest income-earner is the CanSkate – Learn to Skate program. It normally draws a huge interest and is always full.

“In the past we were able to have 50 kids on the ice,” said Kapetanakis. “We were always maxed out. It was amazing.”

This year, the club is only allowed to have a maximum number of 20 skaters on the ice under the COVID-19 protocols set by the provincial and Island health authorities. Kapetanakis said it’s the primary reason why the club is having a hard time.

READ MORE: VIJHL suspends season until Jan. 10

“That combined with the parents not allowed to watch their kids doing their activities on the ice, it has brought the numbers drastically down,” said Kapetanakis.

“We had 20 kids signed up initially but once all this new COVID came into effect, the numbers dropped and we ended up with quite a few refunds. The ice is practically empty when we do the CanSkate.”

Another program that was adversely affected by the pandemic was the Star Skate program. Kapetanakis said they only have one senior enrolled.

“We’ve never seen that before,” said Kapetanakis.

With the ongoing COVID-19, Kapetanakis feels that the community is not fully aware that Sandy Shore is running.

“With so many places shut down, many are assuming we are not working either,” said Kapetanakis. “In fact we are. We’re here.”

To raise more interest, the club offered a new program that is geared towards adults wishing to learn how to figure skate.

“We are hoping to draw more people to come out and join,” said Kapetanakis. “We hold this sessions twice a week. This is something we’ve been trying to promote to the community for former figure skaters or someone who wants to hone their skating skills to come out and skate with us. There’s a lot more space for that as well.”

Kapetanakis understands the fear that people have with COVID-19 but she wants to ensure members, coaches and staff are safe and they have an approved COVID-19 plan for the club.

For those interested in joining one of the club’s programs you can call 250-586-5491 or send an email to ssscregistrar@gmail.com for more information.

For those wishing to register for the CanSkate program, visit the Regional District of Nanaimo Recreation webpage https://www.rdn.bc.ca/recreation

You can also visit the club’s Facebook page.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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