Thursday, March 19, 2015

Curling Club asks MD to match Town's $1.25 million commitment to building project

Chris Davis - Debbie Reed appeared as a delegation representing the Pincher Creek Curling Club at the March 10 meeting of council for the MD of Pincher Creek No. 9. Reed is a past president of the club and is currently their Fundraising Coordinator. She spoke to a letter she sent to council on March 4 that outlined the club's plans to build a new rink and to ask council to consider matching the Town of Pincher Creek's $1.25 million commitment to the project, which is projected to cost approximately $3 million total.

The Town of Pincher Creek set aside the $1.25 million in their 2015 budget, as reported here (link) in December of last year. "The budget said that there is 1.3 million dollars set aside for a curling rink, but that will happen after the curling rink raises their money, and it is raised from everywhere else," explained Town councillor Doug Thornton at the time. "The good news is that because we are taking that money out of reserves, it is money we already have in our bank account. We are using it to build a curling rink, but we are going to replenish that money over 20 years. We are going to borrow it from ourselves, from our cash reserves, we are going to spend it on our share of the curling rink once the Curling Club comes up with the rest of the money, and we are going to pay ourselves back over 20 years. If we had to borrow the money from the bank we would have to pay it back over a certain number of years. We are paying it back over 20 years, without interest."

Reed's letter to MD council on behalf of the curling club reads as follows:

Healthy lifestyles of the families and individuals in our community are due to a variety of factors including essentials like food and shelter while also taking into account things like exercise. Curling is a sport that allows families to play together, have social time together and get exercise all at the same time.

Curling is a sport that persons aged 7 to 87 can play together and even play on the same team in a league. This allows families to play together no matter what age or skill level. We believe that curling is a traditional Alberta sport and thus we are trying to preserve and enhance our lifestyle through curling here in Pincher Creek. To address and achieve this, it is our goal to construct a new facility. Cost efficiency and wheelchair accessibility are a couple of advantages the new building will provide.

After our reopening four years ago the club has consistently increased members and usage of the curling rink along with having a profit increase each year. In the last three years, we have seen a yearly increase in the junior program of 30%, 80%, 75% respectively. We currently have an average of 750 users per month with 60% being from the MD of Pincher Creek No.9. Clubs from as far as Calgary are consistently attending bonspiels.

As a club, we have raised $30,000 towards a new building. In 2012 we proposed a plan for a new facility to MD of Pincher Creek council and Pincher Creek Town Council at an estimated cost of $3,000,000. Our club applied for grants that were denied because we did not have a land location nor did we have financial backing. The Town of Pincher Creek has recently budgeted for $1.25 million for a new curling rink. We are again in the process of applying for grants such as CFEP, CIP, along with grants from private foundations. Our goal as a club is to raise $500,000 for the new building with hopes that the MD of Pincher Creek No 9. will match the Town of Pincher Creek's amount of 1.25 million.

With your generous support we will be able to help many of these families and individuals not only to meet essential daily needs, but to get healthy in the process while bonding as families and as a community.

Debbie Reed, Pincher Creek Curling Club

Reed presented the current MD council with a copy of the 2012 proposal that was presented to the previous MD council.  "At that time we did not have a land location or financial backing from the Town or the MD so we couldn't get grants, or matching grants, that type of thing," she explained.

"Basically, what we raise at the curling rink is what we use for operational costs.  So the Town has said that they will give us the financial backing now, so our best possible scenario is that this council will match the Town's contribution."  Reed said that hoped for contribution from the MD wouldn't have to be immediate, but could occur over the course of three or four years.

"It's going to take time to get everything in place and for us to raise our portion of the money, and then we would start building."

Reed said there has been an increase in the Junior program at the rink.  "When we closed about for years ago because there was structural renovations we had to make to the building, and it was in an engineer's report that we had to do these renovations, so we actually closed...  When we reopened we originally had a lot of outside teams that did not come back for bonspiels, so that kind of hurt us financially a little bit., but we have been advertising, I would say extensively."

"This year we have had teams from outside."

Reed said the improvement in the bottom line has been slow and steady, and that the club has improved their system for tracking usage.

"We are excited about a new building.  One of the reasons is that it would have wheelchair access, so we could do wheelchair curling hopefully, that's one of our goals, or people with disabilities could come in and curl and just have an opportunity to get some exercise that way in the wintertime."

Reed told council that the club is currently in the process of applying for several grants toward the project.

According to Reed, the club hopes to raise $500,000 toward the projected $3 million total cost for the project.  "And if we raised more, that would be awesome, we wouldn't have to ask for as much, I guess."

In response to a query from councillor Garry Marchuk, Reed said revenues cover operational costs, and an upcoming anticipated $30,000 CIP  (Alberta Community Initiatives Program) grant could therefore be put toward the building fund if it is approved.  The club can apply for that grant every three years.

Reed said the club is open November through March, and has approximately 750 users a month, 60% of which are from the MD of Pincher Creek.  That number counts repeat users, not unique users.

Reed also said a new rink would be cheaper to setup and operate, and could be open  earlier due to improvements in freezing technology.

According to Reed the current club building and rink are only good for another 5 or 6 years, and the goal is to have shovels in the ground for a new club in 3 years.

Reed said a location for the new club has not been decided yet, but did talk about various benefits to building it at the site of the Pincher Creek Golf Club facilities, allowing for shared facilities.

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