Sporting arenas in the Grande Prairie area are cracking down on user behaviour in and around the facilities. The Grande Prairie Regional Recreation Committee has introduced its new arena user behaviour guidelines which take effect on October 1st. The new guidelines are being put into place to try to create consistent standards for user groups and individuals regardless of what arena they are attending.

According to Regional Recreation Committee Coordinator Krista Schuett, facility operators from the seven partner municipalities which make up the committee met to discuss guidelines, as well as implementing the Grande Prairie Regional Recreation Master Plan. She says many facility operators have been experiencing similar problems within their arenas.

“We learned quite quickly that arena operators are having challenges in regards to behaviour,” she says. “We took a look at what specifically were the problems we were having and just decided as a group to provide these guidelines truly to support arena operators in the region, and so that it’s consistent.”

Guidelines involving cannabis and alcohol will prohibit the consumption or presence of controlled substances of any kind by participants or spectators in the facilities. Alcohol will not be permitted unless specifically approved in writing and subject to compliance with government regulations.

Schuett adds spectators in attendance have been particularly problematic for not following Alberta’s health guidelines. She says one item that has frequently arisen is the concept of spitting.

“Spitting on the ice, spitting on benches, spitting in dressing rooms, halls, garbage cans, that kind of behaviour, which seems simple but is a real problem that facility operators are experiencing. There’s not going to be tolerance for that kind of behaviour.”

Profanity, aggressive, and disrespectful behaviour from players, coaches, or spectators is now also prohibited. Signs, posters, clothing, or messages with explicit language, profanity or derogatory characterization directed toward any person or groups are also on the no go list. When it comes to COVID-19, all guidelines provided by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health must be adhered to at all times.

The GPRRC is a partnership between the City and County of Grande Prairie, the MD of Greenview, the towns of Wembley, Beaverlodge, and Sexsmith, and the Village of Hythe.