Sports teams from across B.C. wishing to make Peachland their home club to practice and play in will have to look somewhere else, especially during the pandemic.
Peachland’s district council voted on Feb. 23 to only allow West Kelowna youth sports teams to come to the district for dry land exercises and to use the facilities, given the fact that Peachland children already go to West Kelowna schools and are already put in cohorts with other West Kelowna children.
The decision comes as part of Peachland’s COVID-19 response policy, designed to keep the town’s residents safe.
District staff brought up the issue to the council, saying that current public health orders are letting teams designate a B.C. municipality as their home club, even if it isn’t in their immediate community.
This means teams are able to travel to another community for practices and games if they declare another city as their home club.
“We have been approached by some regional teams, including affiliate clubs from Penticton and Enderby,” Director of community services Cheryl Wiebe said.
“These teams attract youth from around the region and outside the School District 23. As spectators are prohibited from viewing the activity and being in the community centre at all, while in town, they may spend their time in Peachland.”
She added that having people from out-of-town can have some positive impact on the district’s tourism and economy, but staff and residents are worried that the influx of people could increase the risk of COVID-19 community transmission.
As such, staff recommended only allowing West Kelowna sports teams to designated Peachland as their home club.
After much deliberation, council decided to back the staff recommendation, meaning teams from outside of Peachland and West Kelowna wishing to rent facilities in the district for practices and events won’t be able to do so.
“This isn’t forever,” Mayor Cindy Fortin said.
“We have to protect the citizens of the community, the entire community. And right now, having all these extra teams that won’t really have much control over possibly come into our community is just, in my opinion, too risky for the citizens of Peachland.”