Thursday , 17 June 2021
Image credit: Elk Point Curling Club.

Elk Point Curling Club looking to improve rink for the future

The County of St. Paul committed $29,925 to the Elk Point Curling Club on Jan. 12 as part of improvement plans.

The money accompanies a letter of support for the group’s CFEP (Community Facility Enhancement Program) grant application, which if successful would allow them to replace the aging building’s tin roof and install a concrete surface beneath the ice.

The roof is budgeted at $59,850 and the concrete work at $188,173. If successful in their application, the CFEP grant would cover 50 per cent of the project.

Currently there is a sand base beneath the ice surface, which according to Elk Point Curling Club treasurer Joanne Warawa significantly shortens their curling season and makes the facility unusable for any other purpose during the off-season.

“The biggest thing is just, it’s so much work with the sand base [to put the ice in],” said Warawa. “It’s three weeks to a month multiple times a day, one end of the ice has got six inches on it, and the other end we’re barely above the pipes.

“The water will just flow out the sides too if it’s not frozen. It’s just a lot of work. And then volunteers are usually burnt out we don’t really do a lot of a lot of scraping and maintenance throughout the year,” said Warawa.

She said if they could put concrete under the ice, they would be more competitive with the other rinks in the region, including Marwayne and Bonnyville.

“Before when it was six or seven teams, everybody kind of knew how it was run and accepted how it was. But now with more people there’s more comments about why the ice is the way it is,” said Warawa. She said the curling club is up to 16 registered teams this year.

She noted the rink is 100 per cent volunteer run and they only hire someone to do a job if it requires a skill they don’t have.

“The last CFEP grant that we got, we tallied up our volunteer hours and it was almost 400 hours that we put in on that grant. We did all the painting of the baseboards, we ripped out all the old flooring ourselves. We do as much as we can,” said Warawa.

She said they’ve already received two quotes for the concrete work and one of the contractors is open to working with the volunteers of the group in a supervisory role.

The curling club is able to contribute $94,086 to the project. That figure includes cash, labour, and donations.

Div. 3 Coun. Cliff Martin asked if the club’s contribution was including the $22,500 the County had already given them. According to Warawa, that money was put aside for operating expenses in 2021 and is not included in the $94,086 noted on the application.

Div. 1 Coun. Darrell Younghans asked how the club had done their fundraising.

Warawa said the money they’ve raised came from a combination of being “really tight with what we’ve spent our money on,” as well as user fees, working a casino and support from other community groups like the Lions who use the space to host their meetings. Wawanesa Insurance donated $10,000 and CNRL gave $5,000.

According to Warawa, they do try to keep the user fees as low as they can while still covering operating expenses because they want to remain affordable.

“It’s an organization that has come forward with a plan and not empty pockets. And has a plan and has done some work and are willing to do more work to make it happen,” said Younghans.

After a brief discussion of where exactly the County contribution would be coming from, Div 4. Coun. Maxine Fodness made a motion to provide a letter of support and $29,925 from the Community Grant Funding budget line to the Elk Point Curling Club for their CFEP grant application.

The motion carried with unanimous support.

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.