In an effort to replace its facility on Headquarters Road, the Comox Valley Curling Club has asked the regional district board to consider raising $6.5 million either through a referendum or alternate approval process.
The local curling rink — one of 1,100 in Canada, most of which were built by volunteers in the 1950s — was built in 1959 with additions constructed around 1972 and 1988. The club entered a mortgage when it encountered financial issues in the early-’70s. It is now under a lease agreement with the CVRD.
The building is plagued by a leaky roof, a failing ice plant and concrete slab in need of replacement. The club spends thousands of dollars each year on building repairs and maintenance.
The non-profit Comox Valley Curling Club consists of about 500 members ranging from six years to 80-plus. About half the membership is on the far side of 55, but the club has expanded its junior programs.
Its annual operating budget is $220,000.
Over six days next February, the club will host the B.C. senior championships for curlers 50 and older. A total of 16 men’s and women’s teams are expected.
It is the club’s position that the time has come for the CVRD to change the model and operate it like other public facilities such as the swimming pools and hockey arena.
Without public funds, club management says local curling will eventually disappear.
To repay $6.5 million over a 20-year period, an average homeowner would pay $2.19 per year per $1 million borrowed.
According to a feasibility report received by district directors in January, curling rink renovation options range from roughly $400,000 for maintenance and repairs to $3.8 million for a new facility.