Reversal Of Decision To Repurpose Erickson And Bothwell Arenas Angers Non-Ice Sports Clubs

It’s was a simple decision…take the ice out, save money, allow a variety of sports organizations to utilize the space, and still have enough ice to accommodate all ice sports.

That’s why council voted last week to remove the ice from Chatham’s Erickson Arena, and Bothwell Arena to be used for volleyball, indoor soccer, pickleball, tennis, ball hockey, and basketball.

Apparently however, the decision wasn’t so easy, as council reversed their decision Monday night, two weeks after passing the original plan. The reversal came after community outcry in Bothwell, and concerns from hockey users in Chatham.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Monday’s decision by council isn’t sitting well with members from the soccer, basketball, volleyball, pickleball, or tennis communities who have been desperate for space.

With COVID-19 closing down all school uses, and outdoor facilities entering the winter months, groups from other sports organizations were excited to get to use the facilities for practice and play.

The concern was heard across social media, as members of local basketball, tennis, soccer, and volleyball organizations criticized council for last night’s reversal.

Local non-ice clubs were desperate for floor space, in particular as non-ice sports are traditionally more financially accessible than ice sports.

It appears councils flip-flop will not please everyone, but for now, council made the decision to leave Chatham-Kent’s non-ice sports organizations out in the cold.

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