Prince George City Council is taking a look at reopening the CN Centre to add indoor walking options for seniors this winter.

At last night’s (Monday) meeting, council heard an update on the reopening of all three Kin arenas as well as the Aquatic Centre. 

The report also suggested the CN Centre as the most cost-effective method for providing the service, as the arena can also allow ice usage at the same time.

Traditionally, Prince George has four venues that accommodate indoor walking programs, including the Pine Centre, Rolling Mix Concrete arena, Northern Sports Centre and the CN Centre.

Mayor Lyn Hall submitted a motion for city staff to research what reopening the CN Centre for indoor walking would entail.

“The pandemic has caused us to do a lot of different things. We are seeing more uptake on recreation and more uptake on physical exercise, but also mental wellness. I think once winter hits there is a concern, particularly for seniors, to get out and have an opportunity to walk indoors,” said Hall.

A cleaning protocol would have to be established, and the online registration tool would also need to be expanded according to the report.

“We have staff already at the Kin centres, we could use the staff as well over at the CN Centre. Because of the close proximity, that’s what made the most sense to me,” said Hall.

At present, both arenas remain closed due to COVID-19 and have been since mid-March.

In other years, the RMCA and CN Centre opened for public walking use by mid-October.

Council also previously voted to reopen the Aquatic Centre by September 8th, pointing out many seniors and people with mobility issues use the facilities as a way to keep active when the weather turns frightful.

“They (people) want an indoor, safe area to walk where they don’t have to worry about snow and ice on the sidewalks and those kinds of things,” said Hall.

The arena would still maintain a gathering limit of 50 people or less for both the ice level and the concourse.

The process for walking would be the same as registering for swimming, but it would be at no charge.

As for ice usage at the CN Centre, Hall expects residents could see it come back in mid-October, but it will depend entirely on user demand.

“If we can’t provide it at Kin one, two and three I think staff will probably take a look at other options.”

The motion is expected to come back to Council by October 5th.