With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing so many events to a crashing halt, Abbotsford’s Tradex has transitioned into a local sporting hub.
Open Court has taken over Hall B of the facility, with 10 courts for basketball or volleyball available for teams to practise on. The eventual hope is that Open Court could also host games and tournaments when those events return.
The Junior Cascades volleyball program is the first anchor tenant for the facility, with other high school and club basketball and volleyball teams expected to make use of the building.
The opening day for Open Court occurred earlier this month.
Brad Styba, the director of business development for Tradex, said it’s a logical move for the building as the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has led to annual events that regularly came to Tradex having to be postponed or cancelled.
“It’s been a challenging year that’s for sure,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people come out to Tradex and try to do things within the existing provincial health orders but it’s been a real challenge.”
Styba pointed out that Open Court is only using basically one half of the facility, which allows Tradex some flexibility to offer other events if or when they are able to return. Open Court is also following all the proper COVID-19 protocols and has separate entrances and exits, washrooms and change rooms.
“It’s kind of like having two buildings for us now,” he said. “And it’s working out pretty well.”
Styba also said practices and possible games or tournaments will not have any spectators or parents; only coaches and kids for now. That could change if those types of guidelines are adjusted.
Styba said if Open Court continues to be successful, they may look into doing outdoor volleyball tournaments this summer on the grass at Tradex. The possibility of trade shows or other events coming will likely not occur for awhile.
“We don’t anticipate, as a venue, going back to trade shows or consumer shows until at the earliest September but probably not likely till October,” he said. “In the interim, we’re trying to do whatever we can to generate a little revenue.”
Some of those revenue-generating ideas include a studio at the facility where companies can host virtual hybrid events on Zoom. They’ve also hosted food truck festivals, a Halloween event and a classic car show in the summer.
Styba said Tradex is also in the planning stage with the City of Abbotsford for a drive-thru Canada Day event this year.
For more information on Open Court, visit their Instagram page.