Funding proposal to repair Comox Valley curling building to next phase

Comox Valley Curling Club president Jack Holden poses with the club
Comox Valley Curling Club president Jack Holden poses with the club's failing ice-making plant, one of the reasons taxpayers are being asked for permission to borrow up to $1.9 million.
— image credit: Scott Stanfield

The regional district board has given the green light to an alternate approval process (AAP) to determine if it is to borrow $1.9 million to renovate the aging curling facility at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds.

Pending consent of the electorate, the Comox Valley Curling Club will contribute $100,000 to the project. An engineering study recommends replacing the slab and ice plant, upgrading electrical wiring, and insulating the walls. Seismic upgrades are also needed.

"The main goal is to keep curling going in the Valley, and continue providing a service," club president Jack Holden said. "We've put a lot of money into it (over the years)."

The rink was built in the late-1950s with additions constructed around 1972 and 1988. The club is committed to raising funds by way of bottle drives, auctions and garage sales "to put more into the pot," Holden said.

He notes a public misconception that assumes curlers own the building at Headquarters Road. The club is, in fact, under a lease agreement with the Comox Valley Regional District.

"It's the taxpayers' facility," Holden said. "We just rent it, and provide a service to the region to operate it. The curlers pay rent, plus we pay 100 per cent of the operating costs, and quite a bit of capital repairs."

Other costs include building insurance and employee wages.

In the off-season, the club rents the facility to MusicFest, the Newcomers Club and other user groups. It also provides ice for Special Olympics.

"It's used by a wide variety of people in the community," Holden said.

Last month, the CVCC hosted the B.C. senior curling championships, which garnered a number of compliments from participants and from Curl B.C. officials.

In addition to adult league play and a growing junior program, the club is in its second year of hosting a popular Friday night novice league.

An inaugural event dubbed JamCan will introduce youngsters to the sport April 5 and 6.

An open house is being held April 3 from 3 to 8 p.m. Attendees will be able to throw a few rocks if they so choose.

The AAP enables the public to oppose the project and associated borrowing. The process concludes June 13.

With elector approval, the project can be completed before the 2015/16 curling season. The tax levy impact would be $4.14 per household for a property assessed at $300,000.

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