The Ashcroft Curling Club will be turned into a tree nursery this summer while it’s not in use.
At its May 11 meeting, Ashcroft Council approved a $5,000 one-time grant to the Curling Club to assist with their operating costs and also forgave the Club’s $1,250 contribution to the reserve fund for the rink. The money will be taken from the Curling Rink’s Capital Asset Reserve Fund, which both the Club and the Village contribute to.
Curling memberships have been decreasing recently, and the Club is looking for other means to obtain revenue. The rink sits empty for much of the year, so the Club has a signed contract with a tree seedling company who will pay them to store the seedlings in the curling rink. The contract covers the cost of the hydro as well as other sundry costs. The club is hoping to end up with $4,000 when the project is over, but won’t be paid until 30 days after the seedlings are removed. Because of that, the Club asked for the $5,000 grant.
Coun. Doreen Lambert voted against the grant.
“I’m really torn by this,” she said. “If you look at it as a business… If it was a business, it should be closed down. If you can’t pay your bills…”
“It’s risky for everyone concerned,” said Coun. Al Mertens, who noted that the finances were pretty tight.
“The Curling Club is fighting to stay alive,” said Mayor Jack Jeyes. “They’re going out on their own to get this contract. I think we need to show our support for their efforts.”
Coun. Alf Trill commented that the Club still had over $47,000 in the Capital Asset Reserve Fund. He supported the group in its fundraising efforts.
“It would be a shame not to give them this opportunity when they’ve made such effort,” agreed Coun. Roden. “It’s one of the few facilities in town that seniors can make use of.”
Mayor Jeyes said the Seniors Night, probably the largest group, still attracted at least 30 curlers.
“I would look at this as a helping hand to get them on their feet,” he said.
Administrator Michelle Allen said the Club will be using the money from the contract as well as the grant from the Village to cover their start up costs this Fall.