Arena Usage Falling Fast In Chatham-Kent
Right when talks of a new arena seem to be climbing, usage of Chatham-Kent’s arenas are falling.
In a report completed by Jeff Bray, Chatham-Kent’s Manager, Parks and Open Spaces/Recreation Facilities, which will be given to council Monday, it was noted that, “Over the past several years, the Chatham-Kent arenas have experienced a steady decline in usage. This trend is expected to continue.”
The report attributes this to ‘demographics,’ ‘mergers of organizations,’ ‘financial restraints of residents,’ ‘less interest in participating in sports, time commitment, safety concerns,’ ‘leisure preferences and increasing resident diversity,’ and other factors.
Almost all of Chatham-Kent’s minor ice organizations have seen drastic declines in registration since 2014, with the exception of those in Dresden and Wallaceburg, who have both seen significant increases.
Bothwell Arena continued to be the least used arena in Chatham-Kent, with 73% of available ice going unused, followed by Wheatley at 55% and Ridgetown at 52%.
Chatham’s Thames Campus, and Blenheim’s arena were the two most used in the Municipality according to the report, although overall 41% of all ice time available went unused.
Chatham-Kent also posted the highest ice time costs, with the lone exception being those in Sarnia. Chatham’s hourly rates were $226.76 for prime, and $181.24 for non-prime, which was anywhere from $20 to $60 more per hour than other regional arenas.