Edmonton-area family concerned over lack of communication during rec centre lockdown

A frightening evening for a Leduc woman and her two children at a south Edmonton recreation centre Wednesday. She says they were placed into lockdown for nearly an hour not knowing where to go or why. Chris Chacon reports.

Rayne-Anne Oosterveld and her two children were enjoying their Wednesday evening at the Meadows Rec Center, until the night took an unexpected turn.

“We started leaving and then we started hearing a woman stopping people in the hallway saying we are on lockdown,” Oosterveld said.

Unsure what to do or where to go, she talked to multiple staff members.

“This lady is saying we can leave, this lady is saying we need to go to the gym, saying we need to be in the foyer. I was like, I need to know where we can go to be safe,” Oosterveld said.

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Still not knowing what the lockdown was for, Oosterveld said everyone was eventually directed to go to the gym.

On the way, she found a place to hide where she played games with her kids, trying to keep them calm. Oosterveld said staff said they couldn’t tell her what was happening and Oosterveld said that made her family even more scared.

Oosterveld said a voice eventually came on the intercom saying the building is closed, please leave. That didn’t help much, she said.

“It was unsettling too because we didn’t quite feel safe leaving the building. I didn’t know what was happening, I didn’t know if it was safe for me to go to my car,” Oosterveld said.

Police said the lockdown was in response to threat made over email. A 33-year-old man was arrested and is facing charges of uttering threats.

The city said it is debriefing the situation with its staff.

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“ tough to communicate with every individual. So far, we are pleased with the situation and how our staff handled it and everyone is safe,” branch manager of Community Recreation and Culture at the City of Edmonton Roger Jevne said.

Oosterveld said while she is glad she and her kids are safe, she hopes there is better communication in any future emergency situation.

“Employees within six feet of each other had different information and so, to me, it seemed pretty clear that they were not sure what do to in a scenario like this,” Oosterveld said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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