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Barrhead Agrena walking track reopening slated for the near future

Parks and recreation department working with Alberta Health Services to ensure all guidelines are met
Barrhead Agrena Sept. 10-crop
The Barrhead Agrena's walking track and dressing rooms will soon be available to users in the near future. Barry Kerton/BL

[Editor's note: since this story was posted the Town of Barrhead has decided on the Agrena walking track hours. Starting Sept. 15, the walking track will be open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.]

Just in time for the fall, the Barrhead Agrena's walking track will soon be open to the public.

Many of the building's facilities, most notably the ice rink and the aforementioned walking path, have been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus, even though arenas, gyms and other fitness and recreation facilities were allowed to reopen with restrictions, on June 12, as part of the province's Stage 2 relaunch plan.

Councillors came to the decision at the Sept. 9 council meeting during an in-camera session.

Chief administrative officer Edward LeBlanc said councillors instructed the administration to make the bleachers, changerooms and walking track available to users.

He said the discussion was the result of requests from user groups.

The opening of the bleachers means that family and friends will be allowed to watch their loved ones participate in hockey, ringette, and figure skating as long as the numbers do not go over Alberta Health Services (AHS) guidelines. Currently, the number of spectators for indoor events is set at 100 people with physical distancing in effect.

Originally, the parks and recreation department had planned to not allow spectators at events in the facility.

"Our biggest challenge will be ensuring the facility is properly cleaned so that it is safe for the general public," LeBlanc said.

A timeline for when the opening will happen and the walking track hours are yet to be determined.

"We are still working through the details," he said, noting in some communities, access to facilities such as the walking track are by appointment."

LeBlanc added the recreation department is working closely with AHS to ensure all guidelines are met "for the safety of patrons and our community."

It should be noted that the Agrena is also home to a private physiotherapy clinic as well as a fitness facility. The only exceptions to the closure have been a summer hockey school and the Barrhead Minor Hockey Association tryout sessions. In both instances, the dressing rooms were closed to the users and parents and spectators were prohibited from entering the building with the exception of one person to help tie younger skater's skates.