Edgar Centre back on deck

Otago Nuggets player Sam Timmins (left) and Aaron Roydhouse get in some training at the Edgar...
Otago Nuggets player Sam Timmins (left) and Aaron Roydhouse get in some training at the Edgar Centre yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Edgar Centre general manager Blair Crawford is confident the facility can safely house more than the 100 people allowed under Covid-19 Alert Level 2.

The doors to the facility swung open yesterday for the first time in a couple of months.

The Thursday tennis ladies returned for a hit in their regular slot and some Otago Nuggets players fronted up for a training session.

It was not exactly a hive of activity but there was life floating about.

And it was a very welcome sight for Crawford.

The facility shut down just before the country went into lockdown due to the pandemic.

The Edgar Centre is run by the Dunedin Indoor Sports Venue Trust and Crawford described the financial fallout as "significant".

"Like many businesses, we were down to zero income for this whole period," he said.

"With the cancellation of all the events along with the sports content, it has been quite a significant loss."

With the country moving to Alert Level 2 yesterday, sport is able to make a graduated return.

But there are tight restrictions. Under Level 2 there can be no more than 100 people in the building and also, individual bookings or group sizes are limited to 10 people.

The Edgar Centre is large complex, though. It is possible to divide it into four separate areas, each with its own access and toilet facilities.

"We are currently awaiting official notice from the Ministry of Health through Sport New Zealand whether a sports facility can split their building up."

Until there was more clarity around that issue, it was hard to do any "forward planning", Crawford said.

"Hopefully, we can have 100 in the arena, 100 in the sports hall, have the high-performance cricket running and a function upstairs, and we can do that while meeting all the guidelines around safety.

"For me, it is the common-sense decision that we can split our building in that way."

The trust employs 27 staff. Some of them are part-time and casual but it added up to the equivalent of 15 full-time staff.

All the staff are on the government wage subsidy and no-one has been made redundant. However, Crawford said the trust would continue to monitor the situation.

If it got the go-ahead to divide the facility into four zones, it would create more work.

"It will be more labour intensive with the cleaning requirements and entry-point requirements. It is quite difficult because we are well down on revenue but our staffing levels would need to be similar just to get through.

"It is going to be a tough six months, unless things recover quickly. Sport has always been our bread and butter and I guess we’ve operated on a volume basis.

"It is a reasonably affordable entry fee but it is the volume of people coming through which is what makes the Edgar Centre tick."

In the meantime, Crawford has asked the public to book courts in advance to aid the Edgar Centre in controlling the 100-person limit, and to download the iDMe contact tracing app before entry.

 

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