Curling rinks at the Burns Lake Tom Forsyth Arena and curling rink are being prepared and should be ready for curling club members to test by the middle of October.
“We may have some practices to test the ice,” said Sandy Doré, Burns Lake curling club president. “We haven’t met as a club to say when we’re going to start the regular season.”
Doré expects the season to start in the beginning of November as it usually does.
“There will be a curling season, and we’re still looking for [new] members,” Doré said. “Anybody with questions or who wants to join should contact someone in the club. Most everybody knows somebody who curls.”
The curling club has seen consistent growth over the last four seasons. The 2009/10 season started with 57 members, and by last season it had grown to 84 members.
“Most of the growth was in the ladies league and the mixed league,” Doré said. “The mixed league is becoming very popular.”
The growth in membership does not include seniors who come out for drop-in league play.
Seniors league this year will not be managed by the curling club as part of changes to the way the facility will be run by the Village of Burns Lake (VBL).
Management of the arena will now fall to the VBL recreation department. The seniors league and any other groups – like the organizers of the Fireman’s Bonspiel – who want to use the curling rink facilities will now organize rink rental directly with the Village of Burns Lake.
The curling club will rent the upstairs curling lounge and ice time from the village. According to Doré, costs associated with rink and lounge rental remain the same this year as last year.
The annual Fireman’s Bonspiel may not be on this year because of rink restrictions and a reduction in the legal capacity of the rink during renovations.
One of the three rinks normally available for curling will be used as a temporary entrance while what will be the new main entrance for the curling rink is under construction. This means that the lane will be sheathed with plywood for day time construction workers.
“We’re currently only allowed 25 people in the ice area because of construction,” said Logan Wilson, VBL recreation director. “We’re hoping that will get changed shortly. [Venture Pacific Construction] is working on getting an entrance established. Then we would have to get building inspectors and architects to sign off on it.”
When the third sheet could be opened for play is something Wilson can’t give a definite date on.
“There are too many variables,” he said. “The building inspectors, the architects, they all have to sign off on the entrance before it can be opened.”
It likely wouldn’t make a difference for the Fireman’s Bonspiel at this point.
“As far as we’re concerned, there won’t be a bonspiel this year,” said Jim McBride VBL director or protective services.
For a successful bonspiel, McBride explained, the lounge would have to be in working order, and that won’t happen in time for organizers to commit to it this year.