Mayor, council unhappy as Killarney resort plans family day for out-of-town visitors
SUDBURY -- With stay-at-home orders still in effect in northern Ontario, a popular resort in Killarney is still planning to go ahead with a family day event this weekend.
The Killarney Mountain Lodge has been planning the event for a couple of months, and expected the stay-at-home order to have been lifted by now.
With the order still in place, the owners said Tuesday they are going ahead with the event, and residents in the area and the local council are not happy about it.
Holden Rhodes, owner of the lodge, told CTV News he is expecting guests to come from out of town this weekend for a bit of winter fun. He said everyone planning to attend has been advised they must follow all safety protocols and maintain proper distances apart.
“Each year we look to try different events to see what works and what doesn’t," Rhodes said. "We’ve tried a number of different events from music festivals to canoe races and so this is something we just thought would be great for families to enjoy some great outdoors.”
Will enforce COVID restrictions
He said they were able to enforce COVID restrictions rigorously for people who came to the lodge last summer.
“About 90 per cent of guests from this summer were from the GTA," Rhodes said. "We not only abide by all public health regulations, but we exceed those and so we’re very protective of the safety of our staff, of our guests and of our community. We’re just complying with the law just like every other organization that is open for business, including Walmarts and Costcos and every other business.”
But Nancy Wirtz, mayor of the Municipality of Killarney, said the community usually welcomes visitors, but now is not the time.
“At any other time, we think this would be wonderful, a great way to build the winter tourism sector, support the businesses, and have a lot of fun," Wirtz said. "It’s just the timing right now. It doesn’t seem like the right time to start this kind of event … It’s the idea of people travelling for non-essential reasons and coming into a community like ours that is so vulnerable.”
But the organizers said they want people to know that all events will be held outdoors, and each person will have their temperature checked before getting on any rink. And there will be no hockey being played.
Brandon Zdenek, the general manager of the lodge, said he wanted to make it clear no hockey is going to be played.
"Families can rent rinks for an hour at a time, and they just remain within their family bubbles and no hockey at any time will be played this weekend,” Zdenek said.
Families coming to the event are set to arrive Friday.