The City is pumping the brakes on a new set of rules put in place at the Affinity Place walking track after receiving multiple complaints from upset residents.

City council had approved a new set of rules two weeks ago. Some of the new guidelines included:

  • No equipment allowed (hockey sticks, balls, pucks, pylons, mats, weights, or skipping ropes) except walking poles
  • Walking and jogging is allowed on track. No sprinting or racing.
  • No wheels on walking track. Strollers and walkers are allowed. (The city also clarified Monday that wheelchairs were allowed)
  • Proper Footwear is required. No socks or bare feet.
  • Be mindful on the track of its multiple uses. Patrons and/or Spectators are not always paying attention during games and practices.

Many residents were opposed to the restrictions put on hockey teams wanting to use the track for warming up.

"At the end of the day, it is a hockey rink. Let it be a hockey rink and let the players in Estevan have the opportunity to utilize it the way hockey rinks have been used forever," said Hunter Piche in a letter to the City.

Councillor Shelly Veroba outlined a concern that she received recently at the Southern Plains Co-op in Estevan.

"One of my retired guys that was there having coffee came up to me and said 'There was drones being flown all around the arena.' I said 'What?' And he said 'Yeah, right by the sprinters.' And he laughed. He said 'That's how ridiculous these rule changes are,'" Veroba said at Monday night's council meeting.

Councillor Rebecca Foord advocated for a formal survey process wherein the City can gather feedback from track users so that there's no disconnect.

"Until an issue happens that directly affects the citizens of our community, it never comes up...nobody has feedback," Foord said. "We submit millions of dollars in budget considerations...nobody ever gives any feedback, until something comes up that affects them and then we get the phone calls, and by then we'd already passed it. Which then serves as a lesson to us as, 'How do we engage with our community better?'"

"So I think going forward, if we were to do policies like this or have requests for policies, maybe we should have a public consultation, send out a survey or something online."

The track discussion lasted for about 20 minutes with all councillors chiming in. They all agreed that the new set of regulations would be suspended until more feedback could be gathered. The City will revisit the issue later this year, with the rules likely to be updated in the fall.

In the meantime, the original set of rules will go back into effect, which include general running track rules that are listed on signs at Affinity Place.