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Salmon Arm rugby club must leave facility as roof deemed unsafe

Arena closure kills rugby

A Salmon Arm rugby club has had the rug pulled out from under it with the winter closure of the SASCU Memorial Indoor Sports Complex.

Their winter season was already underway, but the Yeti Rugby club is left scrambling after the City of Salmon Arm announced the indoor arena would be closed with the first snowfall of the season.

An engineer's report stated the roof may not be capable of supporting a heavy snowfall.

The club has 51 members plus 49 kids signed up for its non-contact mini-rugby program.

Yeti spokesperson Michelle Hoekstra said: “We have our own insurance for that facility. And specifically rugby related. It's really hard to get insurance, like for rugby, tackling that kind of thing.”

Hoekstra says the club found out about the closure in an email last week, after they’d already taken registrations for the season and paid for insurance.

Winter training and touch rugby scrimmages started in the arena Nov. 6.

Once they refund players for the cancelled season, they’re left having paid a large sum for insurance and other upfront costs.

“Simply put, our club will be financially crushed if these closures take place,” Hoekstra said.

The club had a phone call with Mayor Alan Harrison on Tuesday during which Hoekstra asked for clarity on the city’s plans, including if the facility would open back up when the snow melts.

Harrison didn’t have any definite answers, she said.

On Wednesday, several sports organizations that use the facility had a meeting to discuss their concerns.

They tallied up their number of users, and between all the clubs they tallied more than 3,000 community members who use the facility.

At the moment, it’s not clear how much snowpack will be considered enough to close the facility, and there is snow forecast for the weekend.

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