While they struggle to find practice space in Tofino, the West Coast’s roller girl team continues to be welcomed in Ucluelet.
During Tofino’s last municipal council meeting, Black Pearls spokesperson Christine Lowther urged council to allow the team to practice in the Tofino community hall.
She said most of the team’s members live in Tofino but district fears over potential floor damage has kept them out of Tofino’s facilities.
The Pearls have been practicing at Ucluelet’s Seaplane Base Rec Hall for the past two years but Lowther said round-trip drives to Ukee are burning out team members and scaring potential new members away.
Ucluelet’s director of Parks and Recreation Abby Fortune said the district’s relationship with the team has been solid and there was no hesitation on Ucluelet’s part to allow roller skates on the Rec Hall’s floor.
“My philosophy is we have these facilities to be used,” Fortune said. “We didn’t
build these facilities to be pristine, we built these facilities for the public to participate in activities.”
She noted the Black Pearls are not the Rec Hall’s only roller skating user group as the facility also hosts a youth roller derby program and a roller skating dance program. Fortune acknowledged the district would not allow roller skating events in the newer Ucluelet Community Centre but that this is the beauty of having multiple facilities in town.
Tofino’s staff is working with the team on the feasibility of a practice space.