Rankin Inlet recreation co-ordinator David Clark and his crew have readied the new arena to be used as a relief hospital should Covid-19 appear and spread throughout the community.
Normally he and his staff would be hard at work preparing for the community’s biggest bash of the year, Pakallak Tyme, which was scheduled to run during the first week of May.
However, these days, Clark has more time to catch up on his year-end paperwork, now that the entire community is crippled by the threat of Covid-19 and community gatherings are strictly taboo. So instead of preparing ways to make people smile and laugh, the recreation staff have prepared the new arena for those suffering from infection, and hoping it’s never needed.
Clark said his crew have been working their butts off cleaning the building during the past three weeks so it’s ready to go if needed.
“The head nurse and a doctor from our local health centre, as well as our fire chief and a representative from the Department of Health, came to take a look at the facility,” said Clark.
“We did a walk-through of the arena and I assured them the building would be spic and span if needed.
“We finished the job this past Friday, so, basically, our arena is locked again now until we’re given the OK to start having activities again or it’s called into use as a makeshift hospital.
“So that’s where we’re at with our new arena.”
Clark said he’s attending a meeting with hamlet administration this week to discuss Pakallak Tyme and the snowmobile races.
He said there’s not much anyone can do about the situation if the lockdown remains in place.
“To me, yes, you have to follow the direction given by your government but, at the same time, you have to try and normalize some kind of living for everyone in our community.
“I was pretty disappointed when I was told we had to shut the arena down and put snow across our outdoor rinks on Williamson Lake.
“It hurts our community in more ways than one. People don’t realize the benefits these facilities and programs bestow on people in general.
“I think the mental health of some folks and their sense of wellbeing is being compromised at this time, for sure.”