Curling club members told council that the stair way that leads to the upstairs lounge is too steep and unsafe for curlers.

Curling club members told council that the stair way that leads to the upstairs lounge is too steep and unsafe for curlers.

Council discusses club’s proposal

Curling club members had asked council to operate the upstairs lounge rent free for a period of five years.

During a regular council meeting of the village of Burns Lake on Jan. 13, 2015, members of the Burns Lake Curling Club (BLCC) approached council and asked to operate the upstairs lounge area of the curling club rent free for five years, with an annual review.

See Lakes District News’ Jan. 21 issue for the story “Burns Lake Curling Club members say they lost momentum.”

Village staff prepared a report with their side of the issue. The report was discussed by the council during the village’s second budget meeting on Jan. 22, 2015.

The report explained that “during construction of the Lakeside Multiplex, some deficiencies were noted by structural engineers in the 1984 cinder block addition area (lounge, entrance way and now where the Reload Cafe is), and had to be repaired before the new Lakeside Multiplex could be opened. The cost for this was an additional $21,319 and caused further delays in completing the opening of the complex.”

Some of the issues raised by curling club members included that the upstairs lounge was not cleaned up properly after construction, leaving holes on the walls and areas that needed to be repainted. In addition, they pointed out that the stair way was too steep, as well as a lack of a suitable washroom facility for curlers downstairs.

In relation to these concerns, the staff report read, “We have had to do extensive repairs to the Quonset roof in 2014 totalling $112,000. We have, if council approves, planned to replace the lounge roof in 2015 at a cost of $22,000. We installed a lift to improve safety and access to  the upstairs lounge. We recently made surface improvements to the stair way, replaced the handrails and ensured that stairs were sound. We understand the bathrooms are in need of repair and the BLCC has concerns regarding the stairs but we do not have that in the budget at this time.”

The curling arena operated for the years 1968 to 2002 under the BLCC, who operated and maintained the building. In 2002, the BLCC approached the village and stated they could no longer afford to maintain the building. For that year, a grant-in-aid of $6200 was given, and in 2003, the village took over all maintenance costs directly.

The last lease agreement was signed March 1, 2011. The rent was $100 for the term of 10 years. The BLCC was again responsible for all maintenance and repairs except for the tar roof. This lease agreement was terminated by the village during construction of the Lakeside Multiplex in 2013 due to a safety code violation. The village is currently subsidizing the curling rink operation by 55 per cent based on a council decision in 2013.

“At the time of budget preparation [in 2015], the BLCC had requested paying $250 per month for the upstairs lounge. We have this amount in our current budget, even though we feel is not at all adequate. If the village were to grant the BLCC’s ask of a rent free facility for five years, we would be losing $15,000 (when considering a rate of $250 per month over five years), and $30,000 (when considering a rate of $500 per month over five years),” read the report.

“Council should consider the implications of direct funding to the BLCC. Other non-profit and equally well respected groups may feel the village is placing unfair priority on the curling club over them,” recommended the report.

Now that council has heard both sides – curling club members and village staff – they expect to make a decision regarding the club’s proposal before this year’s budget is approved.

In the meantime, council decided to take a tour of the curling club’s facility along with the director of public works and curling club members on Feb. 2 to better assess the situation.