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Monday, February 20, 2017

Pincher Creek Curling Club discussions continue


  • Town Council discusses Golf Club location for new curling rink
  • MD Council approves provisional $140,000 contribution to portable ice plant

Town Council discusses Golf Club location for new curling rink

At their February 13 meeting Town council discussed a Community Services Department request for decision regarding the proposed location for a new curling rink at the golf course/bowling alley/weightlifting/restaurant facility location "in order to proceed with more detailed planning, design and budgeting for this project."

The Facilities Planning Steering Committee recommended that the "Pincher Creek Golf Course be selected as the site for a new curling rink and that the Facilities Committee be directed to proceed with more detailed design and budget information for a new facility at this location." The committee includes two Town councillors, two MD councillors, and one member from the Recreation Advisory Committee.

Citizens Ianthe and Max Goodfellow appeared as an unscheduled delegation to discuss their concerns with the proposal to build a new curling rink at the golf course location.  In an email to the Town on the subject Ianthe said  "I want you to know that neighbours directly affected and indeed the Public whose taxes will fund this project have not been accepted into the stakeholder group that made this motion.  I requested to be a part of any development process that may occur as I live directly across from the site.You are aware of this so I am surprised that decisions for a site are not including the public, not including me. I am totally against this motion and it looks as though you do not have consensus within your chosen stakeholders either. Why the rush?  Good planning takes time, and it takes a community too."

She essentially reiterated those points to council in person, asking council to abstain from making a decision until more public consultation has occurred.  She suggested alternate site possibilities and asked if the public was allowed to attend Facilities Committee meetings and if so when those meetings were.  "I would be happier if you heard from your public," she told council.  "Good planning takes time and I want to be part of it".   She was told the public can attend the committee meetings as observers.  Councillor Doug Thornton asked how those meetings were advertised and was told by CAO Laurie Wilgosh that in general meetings were posted on the Town's website, but due to the large number of meetings held and the number of variables involved due to ever changing schedules she couldn't guarantee that every meeting would be listed on the website.

Later during the same meeting, council discussed a request for decision about the proposed Golf Club location for a new curling rink.  "To move this forward it's time we selected a site," said Mayor Don Anderberg, adding the current situation means the club and the Town is hampered in applying for grant money.  Anderberg reiterated he thought it was "time to move ahead", saying everyone has their opinions but "somewhere someone has to make the decision to move forward."  Lorne Jackson was the first councillor to balk at the plan as proposed. "I'm not prepared to support this." he said, adding he was not against the proposed new facility being located at the golf course, but he wants to see a more concrete plan, including more specifics about costs.  Mayor Anderberg replied that having a specific site to plan around would make it more possible to find out what the specific costs would be.  Councillor Wayne Elliott said the optics would be better if council had more complete information.  Director of Community Services Diane Stuckey said a report on the matter wouldn't be ready until the next council meeting, and suggested holding off on a decision until March.  "I think it would be important to have that information available for council," she said.    Councillor Doug Thornton suggested a decision be suspended until the March 13 meeting of council, and a motion to that effect passed with Mayor Anderberg dissenting.   "We've been kicking the can around here for five years, it's time to make a decision," he said.

According to the Community Services request for decision, the cost of a new curling rink will be determined by the following issues:
- The final cost of the curling rink facility will be contingent on the square footage of new construction, type of construction materials, site servicing requirements etc.
- Whether the curling club is 4 sheets or 6 sheets of ice will affect the cost.
- The building footprint may impact the golf course (encroach) and additional funding may be required to move a t-bex, putting green etc.
- The projected cost for a new curling rink in the capital budget was $3.0 million with the Town's share as $1.25 million.
- The M.D. advised the Town in February 2016, that: they were not able to consider funding for new recreation facilities at this time due to required funding for infrastructure projects within the M.,D.
- The cost of the Gibbs Gage study was $40,000* plus GST. Further or more detailed drawings will be an additional cost to the Town.

MD Council approves provisional $140,000 contribution to portable ice plant

At their February 14 meeting council for the MD of Pincher Creek narrowly approved up to $140,000 in funding towards the Curling Club's planned purchase of a portable ice plant, provided the club is successful in their application for a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant for the project, and also provided that the Town of Pincher Creek assumes ownership of the club's facility.

According to a November 2016 letter to council from Curling Club representative Debbie Reed, the club has applied for a $I25,000 CFEP grant to replace their 60 year old plant. "The total cost of the project will be $400,000. We have estimates from two sources to build a new plant. This plant would be on skids and transferrable to a new building once that is built but will allow us to have it for our current facility oo. This will greatly reduce utility costs and water usage. The Town of Pincher Creek has passed a motion to match the funds and help with extra costs involved as provided in the estimates. We, as a club, are asking this council to pay for half of the total amount of $280,000 needed to be $I40,000 for the Town's share and $I40,000 for the MD's share."

Background

Discussions regarding the replacement of the aging Pincher Creek Curling Rink have been ongoing since 2007.

Discussion regarding the replacement of the Pincher Creek Curling Rink has been ongoing since 2007. Engineering studies by AECOM in 2008/09 and Krystal Engineering in 2014 both looked at the option of constructing a new rink at the multi-purpose facility location on Main Street, adjacent to the current rink. Sites that have been considered include the rink's current location, east of the library, behind the pool, at the old pool's location (behind the current rink), the former Sobey's site, the Ag grounds, the golf course site, and even Pincher Station briefly.

In July of 2015, the Facilities Planning Steering Committee invited representatives from the Golf Club and Curling Club to discuss a combined facility.  According to documents included in the Community Services request to council, "In September 2015, the Committee recommended and Town Council approved that a consultant be secured to prepare a conceptual site plan and building costs for a combined curling rink and golf clubhouse. Gibbs Gage Architect was selected and they had their first meeting with the Facility Committee and stakeholder groups in February 2016 to discuss the "needs and desires" of each group. Over the summer and fall, the expanded group has been meeting to review the draft site plan, space requirements and conceptual design plans which would integrate curling and golf into one clubhouse with a common entrance to connect with the bowling, squash and the weight room activities."

"Since the initial discussions to combine the curling and golf clubhouse, there has been a change in the representation from the Golf Club. Currently they are not as favorable to the concept as were the initial representatives, and-discussion at the past two meetings has gone back to consideration of alternate sites i.e. old swimming pool, current curling rink site etc. Another thought was to locate the new building to the north of the bowling alley, rather than to the south as per the Gibbs Gage concept. The square footage required for the new facility could vary based on the location, servicing, integration with other facilities or a standalone facility."

"Council is being requested to provide direction regarding the site for a proposed new curling rink. Once this. has been determined, the Committee can then move forward with more detailed plans for a combined or a standalone facility."

"The final plan from Gibbs Gage will be received within the next 3 weeks. It will include the conceptual design and cost estimates for a facility located at the Golf Course site."

Pincher Creek Curling Club representatives Debbie Reed and Diane Reed appeared as a delegation before the MD of Pincher Creek council at their November 8, 2016 meeting to appeal for funding support from the MD for a new curling facility. At their January 23 meeting Town council decided to receive a Curling Club liability insurance coverage report as information after hearing from club representatives Jessie Nelson and Brenda Heisler. Heisler and Nelson asked for council's help to secure insurance for the club's facility on Main Street. The delegation told council that the club has been unable to secure liability or contents insurance past February 24 of this year, due to the unfavourable engineering report of 2011 which found that the structure needed extensive repair, or preferably replacement. The same report led to the club being unable to acquire fire or structural insurance for the last several years. If the club is unable to find another insurer,  their facility may have to be closed for next season.

Curling Club representative Debbie Reed attended the Town's February 1 Committee of the Whole meeting to seek support and matching funds for the club's Community  Facility grant application for the purchase of a new moveable ice plant. At that meeting council also received information from the Alberta Municipal Services Corporation indicating the corporation might be willing to provide an insurance quote directly to the club. Council approved the letter of support and matching funds of $125,000 and up to an additional $150,000 to cover the total project cost for the club's Community Facilities Enhancement Project.

According to Debbie Reed the Curling Club has recently acquired insurance. allowing them to complete their current season.

* Correction: the cost of the Gibbs Gage study was $40,000 plus GST not $401,000 as reported here previously. Our apologies for the error.

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