Regional district staff has recommended an alternate approval process about a request to borrow $1.8 million to renovate the Comox Valley Curling Club’s facility on Headquarters Road.
However, the committee of the whole chose to meet in camera before further considering the matter, which has twice come before the board in recent months.
An engineering report shows that parts of the facility and its equipment are failing. 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 repairs and maintenance.
The rink was built in the late-1950s with additions constructed around 1972 and 1988. The club had entered a mortgage but is now under a lease agreement with the Comox Valley Regional District.
The report suggests minimum repairs would cost about $683,000, while constructing a new building would exceed $10 million. While the former is a ‘Band-Aid’ solution, building a new facility “may be hard to justify for 500 athletes using a facility for six months of the year,” acting CAO Ian Smith states in a report.
“Somewhere in between lays a solution. It is inevitable that without the renovation to the rink, curling will cease to exist in the Comox Valley.”
Along with an AAP, Smith recommends the club contributes $100,000 — which is to be maintained in a reserve fund.
Club president Jack Holden and manager George Goodwin had first approached the board about borrowing $6.5 million.
“We have to be a bit realistic and realize money’s pretty tight,” Holden said. “It’s not as much as we wanted, but basically it will keep curling going in the Valley if we get the ice bed in and a new ice plant.”
Besides curlers, Holden notes other groups use the building, which the CVRD owns. He also notes a misconception about the ‘club,’ which is in fact a public organization.
“We’re another recreational group that uses public facilities,” Holden said. “We’re one of the only ones — probably the only one — that pays 100 per cent of our own operating costs.”
Membership ages range from six to 99 years.
“We have a good junior program. It’s growing all the time,” said Holden, noting a number of new adult members have also joined. “I’m optimistic we’re heading in the right direction.”
The club hosts the B.C. senior championships in February.