Normally, by this time of year, hockey teams are lacing up and taking to the ice at the Sunshine Coast Arena in Sechelt.
This year, the rink is dry, the result of Stage 4 water restrictions in an area that didn’t see much rain over the summer.
That’s put the prospect of any hockey games being played there — figuratively — on ice.
Coverage of water restrictions on Globalnews.ca/bc:
The Sunshine Coast is under a stage 4 water restriction because the water supply is at a severely low level.
Stage 4 means that water sprinkling isn’t permitted on flowers, lawns, trees or vegetables. Soccer fields can’t be watered either.
You can’t wash your car, your sidewalk, your windows, or fill a swimming pool without facing a $400 fine.
The restrictions are in place so that the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) can preserve its diminished water supply.
“Building the ice sheet itself takes about 40,000 litres,” Ian Hall, the regional district’s general manager of planning and community development, told Global News.
“And then to run the plant, which is water-cooled, takes about as much again.”
Necessary though they may be, the water restrictions have also left sports associations with no fixed schedules.
And that makes it difficult for young people to go out and play sports.
“It means they’re not getting out as often and participating in sport, which probably isn’t good for any kid,” said Grant Marshall of the Sunshine Coast Fields Committee.
The Sunshine Coast has had stage 4 water restrictions in three out of the last six years.
And as Chapman Creek, one of its main water sources, flows out of a provincial park, it needs the provincial government’s help.
“The province has been very receptive to hearing from us about our need for additional water,” said Michael Day, general manager of infrastructure services at the SCRD.
“BC Parks is actively working on moving the matter forward.”
The Sunshine Coast doesn’t have any sizable rainfall in the forecast. And that means it could be some time before hockey players hit the ice again.