The Chilliwack Curling Club is making strides to keep up with the times with new services and changes-one of which may entail a new building in the future.
The Parks, Recreation and Culture Department's strategic master plan, which is currently in the public input phase and awaiting approval from council, recommends that the club's current location be replaced with a new facility in the next 10 years.
Although details on the proposed building are scarce to non-existent, Chilliwack Curling Club manager Bruce Renwick said there is one thing on the wish list so far-more curling sheets.
"We would like to see eight sheets," Renwick said, adding the current building houses only six.
The aging building is also becoming less economical to operate due to factors like heating, electricity and technology. For example, the current building has an uninsulated concrete wall that runs alongside the curling rink.
"Just the change in technology over the years, it's become harder to run at a profit, and we could use a bigger building," Renwick said.
With 650 active members making over 1,200 visits a week Monday through Friday,
the Chilliwack Curling Club operates one of the most utilized buildings in the city. In between league hours and ice maintenance, the building runs from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. almost every day of the week.
The building was constructed in 1952 on municipal land, and was given to the city immediately afterwards.
"We're kind of unique. We built this building, we gave it to the city, they pay us a dollar a year to run it," Renwick said. "We provide a recreational service for 650 taxpayers in Chilliwack, for no cost to the city."
Over the last 60 years, the club has continually renewed five-year leases with the city.
If the strategic plan is adopted, Renwick said it would be a bittersweet move.
"We just hope that we can-and I'm sure the city will allow us-to continue to run the new facility [the way] it has been," Renwick said. "It'll still be home to all the curlers."
And with members stretching back to the club's inception and kitchen and bar run by volunteers, Renwick said they're still an "old time curling club."
According to the strategic master plan, capital costs for the project are expected to be shared between the club and the city.
Despite the misconception that curling is "an old person's game," Renwick said once people try it, they love it.
"It is a lot tougher than they make it look on TV," he said. "It's like a chess game on ice at a higher level."
. To join the Chilliwack Curling Club contact Renwick at 604-792-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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