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City reviews how it lends out CGC sports equipment

Visitors won’t be turned away for lack of collateral, officials say
The Canada Games Centre on Hamilton Boulevard. The City of Whitehorse says visitors to the recreation complex will not be prevented from borrowing basketballs and soccer balls if they don’t have valuable collateral like a phone or wallet after a child was reportedly turned away on Jan. 11 from borrowing a basketball due to a lack of collateral. (Yukon News file)

Canada Games Centre patrons will not be prevented from borrowing sports equipment due to a lack of valuable collateral.

A review of the practises for lending out things like balls was done following a Jan. 11 tweet where a CGC visitor reported seeing a child turned away from borrowing a basketball when staff wouldn’t accept the child’s boots as collateral.

While visitors are charged a small fee to rent things like skates, other equipment like basketballs or soccer balls are available to borrow, provided a personal items is left with customer service that will be returned when the ball is given back to staff.

The tweet reported the child was asked to leave an iPhone or Fitbit instead of the boots they had offered up.

The situation raised questions about class discrimination and what it means for those who might not have such items of value to provide.

The City of Whitehorse, which operates the CGC, replied to the tweet on Jan. 12, reporting the incident had been taken to management and efforts were underway to look at the borrowing process for those using the centre’s facilities.

In a Jan. 16 emailed statement, city spokesperson Oshea Jephson said the city asks for collateral in the form of a personal item when lending out equipment to help ensure the equipment is returned. In this case, the city did not exhaust all options for collateral, he said.

“As a result, the CGC team has already met to review their process when lending sports equipment to ensure that all people visiting our facility are able to participate in recreational activities,” he said.

The review was done with staff involved and looked at alternatives that have since been shared with other CGC staff. It will also be covered during the next staff training session.

“As far as collateral, typically any personal item can be considered collateral, but we recognize that not everyone has a phone or wallet to leave at the counter,” Jephson said, adding in the past, everything from jackets to smart phones have been accepted.

“But ultimately, and as part of this recent review, a lack of collateral should never be a barrier for those people wishing to recreate,” he said, noting visitors are encouraged to reach out to staff or a supervisor with any concerns when they are at the CGC.

“CGC staff make every effort possible to create a safe and positive environment for all and we are using this opportunity to continue to create welcoming experiences for all,” Jephson said.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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