Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice
|Mayor Ernie Olsen|
C. Davis photo
Olsen said he requested the special meeting "so that I could speak to what I hoped would be the majority of the curling club." He expressed disappointment at the turnout, which numbered approximately 40 people.
Olsen, an avid curler himself, brought an unpopular message to the club, telling them that Town Council was unwilling to fund a new rink in the immediate future. "The Town obviously doesn't have 2.3 million dollars to dish out for a new curling club."
The club's current facility was the subject of an engineers report that found significant flaws, and the club has been lobbying Town Council for funding assistance towards a new facility.
"I asked (Curling Club President) Randy (Elliott) if he could pick and chose the most important parts out of the engineers report, and fix them."
"We have a ten year plan for the arena, and we would like to tie the curling club into that ten year plan," Olsen continued. He recommended the club consider repairing their present facility in the interim.
"I think that the majority of what needs to be done in this building can be done, for a reasonable cost."
"We can curl for the next ten years," he said. "I'm a curler. I want to curl. I'll do whatever I have to do to try to keep this place going."
"Every year since 2004 the Town has basically has basically forgiven around $1,300 a year in water, the curling club doesn't pay for water. The curling club doesn't pay any taxes on the property, and the Town owns the property," Olsen said, in response to criticisms that Town Council doesn't support the club. "Has the Town given us anythng over the years? Yes, they have."
He said that such criticisms coupled with rumours that the present rink was "condemned" were harming rather than helping the club's situation.
"Pick out the most needed things that are in the report the engineers gave you. Get a price on those. If it runs over a certain amount, I can't give it to you. I am hoping that whatever you're going to spend, your going to spend this year."
Olsen said the Council would be holding budget discussions in August.
During the Town Council meeting of July 24, council decided to review the curling club budget.
"How much money are we going to spend on this old building for the next ten years, to keep it going?" asked one club member. "I am hoping that whatever you're going to spend, your going to spend this year," Olsen replied.
Olsen explained that the arena is into the second year of the ten-year plan. The Curling Club is presently a private operation. He indicated it would become a Town facility when the new sports complex is built.