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Kuzuri Dojo founder Ed Hartley has been itching to get back on the mats and start practicing Judo again.

“I can’t wait. It’s been too long,” he said. “I got my black belt last March, haven’t even been on the mat with it yet. Parents have told me they are ready to go, looking forward to getting back to Judo too.”

All dressed up and no one to throw. Kuzuri Dojo founder Ed Hartley says he’s finalizing a proposal to restart classes and is looking to find ways to keep costs for students down as the club looks for a new space to train.

Hartley said the club was finalizing its proposal to send to the Chief Public Health officer, which he said would be a combination of Judo Canada’s guidelines and the NWT’s emerging wisely plan. To start, that would mean no contact, limited class sizes and spectators and mandatory masks for everyone involved.

“I’ll have to be creative in making lessons interactive as our workouts will resemble shadowing,” he said. “Lots of things we can do to keep in shape, learning basic movements, break falls, rolls and foot placement.

“We are just focused on getting started for now. We will apply for contact exception very soon.”

One issue Hartley was grappling with was where the classes would take place. As school settles in amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to maintain social distancing and control human traffic in schools has forced East Three and other NWT schools to limit who can use their facilities and when, leaving a number of clubs and youth groups looking for a new home.

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In response to this, the Town of Inuvik has set a new flat rate for rentals of the Midnight Sun Complex at $25 per hour plus GST and only for up to four hours.

Councillors voted 6-0, with Mayor Natasha Kulikowski recusing herself due to pecuniary interest and Coun. Kurt Wainman absent, in favor of a motion to adopt the new fee schedule, which also permits Kulikowski to operate Inuvik Boot Camp in the MSC at a charge of $6 a night.

Under the new fee schedule, all three of the MSC’s rooms can be rented by a Youth organization for up to four hours at the lower rate. Normally the town charges $25 per hour for the Sundog Room, $50 per hour for the Lounge overlooking the rinks and $75 per hour for the Community Hall. Other fees, such as if the event is licenced, can also apply.

Rentals also require a $150 security deposit and cancellation fee is $50.

However, Hartley noted because he was previously able to operate out of the school gymnasium for free, his only expense was the $35 per year insurance, which enabled him to keep charges for students at $30 a year, which breaks down to $25 membership in Judo Canada and $5 membership in the NWT Judo association, effectively as close to free as possible.

However, even with the flat $25 an hour fee he said he was looking at least $800 a month in expenses.

He said he has written a letter to council asking for an exemption from hall rental fees and was told council would look into it at its Sept. 28 meeting. Barring that, he said he would have to look into a funding source to keep costs down.

Regardless, Hartley said the club would have a website launched in the near future detailing its “Return to Judo” plans in the NWT.

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Eric Bowling

Covering all things related to the Beaufort Delta, Eric Bowling is your editor for the Inuvik Drum. He came north after cutting his teeth in Alberta. Eric enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee.

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