A curler competes at the annual Doug Bothamley Cash Spiel last month. The Nelson Curling Club says it can no longer afford to pay the city for its facility. Photo: Tyler Harper

Future of Nelson Curling Club in jeopardy

Financial statement indicates uncertain times for struggling sport

The Nelson Curling Club is between a rock and a hard place.

President Gordon Weiss revealed the club suffered a loss of $33,160 last year at the club’s annual general meeting Sunday, and said it can no longer pay the bills necessary to stay open under its current contract with the city.

“If we had 100 more members we wouldn’t have financial problems,” said Weiss. “But that’s where we are.”

Where they are is in trouble.

The club built its current home in 1973, but sold it to the city in 1994. A 20-year lease agreement meant the club operated the building and took on all its costs, but Weiss says that agreement expired three years ago and is no longer feasible.

Currently the club only pays about $2,000 per year in rent, but utilities cost it just over $40,000 for the year ending April 30. That figure is up $3,000 from the previous two years listed in the club’s financial statement.

The club only generates about $8,000 in advertising revenue, while receiving about $6,500 from the government in the form of grants. In fact, just 63 per cent of its revenue comes from curling — while more than a 25 per cent comes from liquor sales.

Weiss said he has notified the city that it can no longer afford to pay for the space, and is currently waiting to find out when both sides can meet.

“The lease is arduous for us. It killed us financially,” he said.

City councillor Valerie Warmington, who is also chair of the regional recreation commission, said club’s struggles are on the city’s radar.

“We’re absolutely open to working with them to see what works for them, but it also has to work for the taxpayers of the city as well,” she said.

The club had hoped to find funding for the construction of a concrete floor, which would allow it to host events during the five months of the year it is closed for the off-season. Weiss previously estimated the project would cost $250,000.

But he said those plans are now on hold following the release of a report by the Nelson and District Recreation Facilities Task Force in October, which made 26 recommendations to the city and Regional District of Central Kootenay regarding the future of the downtown sports complex campus that includes the curling rink.

“Because the task force is looking at redevelopment for the whole campus, that could be part of the redevelopment,” said Weiss. “So it doesn’t really serve us to think about it until we know what the task force and the city are going to do and what their plans are.”

Related: Curling club gets green light to search for funding

Related: Nelson curling sweeps away the past

Related: Nelson recreation task force releases report

Curling has a long history in Nelson. The sport’s first club opened in 1898 and the Midsummer Bonspiel, which ran from 1945 to 2008, was once a major tourist attraction. The club hosted the provincial men’s tournament in February 2016, although even that didn’t keep the club from finishing the same financial year with a $23,000 deficit.

Weiss said the onus is on the city to move forward with the recommendations that were made, and to make the facility work for the curling club in order to ensure its future. One solution, he said, exists in Creston where the local curling club rents ice in a building owned by the RDCK.

A similar rental agreement, he said, would make the club’s financial situation far more tenable.

“It really hinges on the city — the city needs to make a decision. These buildings are owned by the city,” said Weiss.

“Manage us. Make this facility work financially for us. Don’t tax us, don’t give us big lease agreements. All of these organizations bring people to our city. Spend some money. Put some big buildings in here. Turn it into a modern facility as opposed to a rotten old one.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Inquiry begins into West Kootenay RCMP shooting death

Const. Jason Tait faces charges in the 2015 shooting death of Waylon Jesse Edey in Castlegar

RCMP busy with a variety of complaints

Creston RCMP responded to 59 calls for assistance

LETTER: Yellow Vests

While it is fine to see citizens speaking their minds, it is crucial to get the facts right.

Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce preparing for business awards gala

Be sure to check the Jan. 24 Creston Valley Advance for the first week of available ballots.

First meeting for Fire Hall Technical Building Advisory Committee

The full-day orientation will provide an overview of the previous process and seek input on opportunities to move forward.

Canada’s archive buys rare book that hints at Nazi plans for North America

The 1944 book may have served as a blueprint for a Nazi purge

Teravainen’s 3 points lift Hurricanes to 5-2 win over Canucks

Vancouver heads into all-star break on losing note

47 men arrested by Vancouver police for allegedly seeking sex with teenage girls

Seven of those arrested have been charged as part of a two-month operation

B.C. hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of Victoria General Hospital says case of retired veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Speaker Darryl Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

Plecas spoke to media at the opening of a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Abbotsford Wednesday

Advocate hopes B.C. legislature scandal leads to more transparency

‘Depressing’ that it takes a scandal to inspire freedom of information reform, says Sara Neuert

‘Dr. Lipjob’ avoids jail, gets 30-day suspended sentence

She will have to serve the 30 days in prison if she commits a breach during her two-year’s probation

Kootenay boy, 10, brave in the face of cancer

Fernie Ghostriders vs. Kimberley Dynamiters game to raise funds for young fan fighting cancer

B.C.-Alberta healthcare access issues continue across Kootenays

MLA investigates rumours patient transportation services stop at the border

Most Read