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Jon-Paul Picek, a speed skating coach, left, and Carolyn Hunter, president of the Inuvik Minor Hockey Association, raised several concerns with ice facilities at the Midnight Sun Complex at a town council meeting Monday night. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC ) Delays for ice being put in at Inuvik’s Midnight Sun Complex are leading to issues for the town’s minor hockey association and could impact neighbouring communities, according to the association’s president.

Ice on the complex’s arena is usually ready to welcome skaters by the first week of October. This year, the opening date has been pushed back to Oct. 15.

The Inuvik Minor Hockey Association raised the late start date among other concerns at a town council meeting Monday night. Representatives from the Inuvik Speed Skating Club also attended in support.

Both organizations said the delay impacts their programs.

"We wanted to bring those concerns forward to council to ensure that they understood when making decisions like a delay in ice surface, that it was having an impact in youth organizations," said Carolyn Hunter, president of the hockey association.

Hunter said the association’s annual hockey school is going to be delayed to mid November, which might mean that participants from Tsiigehtchic and Fort McPherson won’t be able to make it since the ferry will likely be closed by then.

"So there are farther reaching impacts than just the youth in Inuvik," she said. Hockey players and speed skaters in Inuvik will have to wait to hit the ice in Inuvik for the first time this season. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC ) Both organizations said it’s an even greater hindrance to athletes that are in the running to qualify for the Canada Games.

"It’s important for the kids to get on and get as much ice-time as they can… and this delay is detrimental to them because some clubs have been on since the end of August, and we are quite a bit behind that," said speed skating coach Jon-Paul Picek. ‘Communication is important’

The town said it sent letters both by email and mail to the groups in July, and Hunter acknowledged they didn’t respond in a "timely manner and we can take some responsibility for that."

"What I was hoping … is that we could open more of a dialogue. Better communication. So the really important things that impact the youth aren’t missed," she said.

Mayor Jim McDonald said the delay is due to a number of factors.

Several events have been using the space this month including a Brett Kissel concert and Chevrolet Silverado launch . Repairs have also been made to the ice plant, which makes the ice for the rink. Carolyn Hunter, president of the Inuvik Minor Hockey Association, says better communication is needed to make sure kids get as much ice time as they can. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC ) "They were only completed Monday, so we couldn’t start putting the ice in until the upgrades on the ice were done," McDonald explained.

Going forward, he said the town will look into scheduling the user group meetings earlier in the year or before the end of the season so they can be worked out over the summer.

"Communication is important," he said. Increasing fees

At the town council meeting, Hunter also spoke about concerns with increasing ice user fees.

She said while the youth rate was $50 a hour, that has increased by $5 each year over the past two years.While McDonald noted that the fees hadn’t been raised in about 10 years, Hunter said increases may become unfeasible."Unfortunately we are going to get to a tipping point where if we keep raising the rate, children won’t be able to access our programming." […]

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