Curling left in the cold again!

John Stewart wants the city to go slow (Advocate editorial, Feb. 29) —“don’t make a hasty decision”!

John Stewart wants the city to go slow (Advocate editorial, Feb. 29) —“don’t make a hasty decision”!

The City of Red Deer commissioned a report by professional consultants in August 1985 to establish the protocol for curling. The report recommended one sheet of ice for every 3300 residents, so based on today’s population of 95,000, there should be 29 sheets of ice just for city residents. If the city drags their feet for another 30 years, they should be able to kill the sport altogether and the present administration is doing their best to accomplish that. Is that slow enough?

With no ability to entice new curlers, the sport will die in Red Deer and at a time when the sport is growing all over the world with the introduction to the Olympics in 1992.

The uncertain future of the curling club you refer to is a club that started here on the Red Deer River before the first rink was built in 1898 on 52 Street. The club joined the Royal Caledonian Club in Scotland in 1903, and survived all those years. Does this type of history reflect an uncertain future?

The City of Red Deer is one of only a few communities in Western Canada that does not support curling: either by building the facility or by contributing operational dollars or both!

Mr. Stewart, in your research, did you happen upon the numerous due diligence requirements the curling club has addressed for the city? To name a few:

• There was the engineers report done 10 years ago indicating that the back portion of the building was past its life years ago, but now we need another one?

• Then the city requested that the club change from a private club — that was done.

• Then the city requested that the club include other sports so fencing, judo, boxing, archery and others were included in their plans and proposal.

• Then the city said they had no land, even though they developed a full quarter for Timberstone.

• The club then successfully pursued from the province 10 acres of donated land.

• We thought we were on our way … only to find that the city fees to service the land ranged in the $4,500,000, of which they were willing to contribute a $1,000,000.

So I hope you are starting to get the picture or I could continue. The next obstacle placed by the city was to wait for the major recreation study. And by then the city had spent all the money and couldn’t help us.

In the same time period that all these requirements were issued to the curling club, the city spent $30 million in renovations plus two years of down time, for the Dawe Centre to get a new roof and a water slide and, of course, new city offices!

Where is the bang for the buck? If you compare that to the $20 million that the new Penhold rec centre cost, there seems to some discrepancies in “bang for the buck.”

City staff and councillors justify the Dawe project as it was all grant money (they forget it is still taxpayer money) — is this where the curling club grant money went? All provincial and federal grant money is controlled by the city, which makes the decisions as to where it will be spent.

We also have $12 million spent on the Rec Center (plus two years of downtime) for a waiting room and more city offices on the front of an obsolete 50-metre outdoor pool! Where is the bang for the buck?

And I can’t help but mention the $130 million for the place to park our gravel trucks and the lawnmowers and, of course, more city offices. Should I mention the parkade at $50,000 per stall and figure out the payback or does the payback come with the new high rise planned next to that for yet more city offices and I am sure they will find the money for that.

Any one of these projects would have built a lot of curling rinks!

The club has jumped through every hoop for the last seven years and received nothing but lip service and another hoop.

This is one of the few sports in the city that asks for nothing to operate and is self sufficient beyond an updated facility, a facility that the membership is willing to contribute towards capital costs. The club hosts many events to this city. We know for sure that the Scotties Tournament would not be here next year nor a consideration for another Brier without an active curling club. How do you have this with no facility?

Has anyone considered the economical impact these events bring … has anyone considered how the present building will reflect across the nation when our community will be nationally showcased next February, and we have a dilapidated building to showcase?

I just hope we could find some business sense at City Hall some day. We are past Band-Aid solutions for this facility.

In a curling facility, it is critical to control the inside temperature. Our old facility still has a sand floor and is the only one I know of left in Alberta. It needs to be replaced.

The curling club needs more support than they are receiving from the city and by delaying this facility, as they have, has only made it more costly — it has gone from about $3 million in 2005 to $7 million today — shall we wait five more years so it can cost taxpayers $12 million?

Or shall we pay for six more critical studies to ignore the same results that we had 10 years ago?

Just lend us the money from the studies and we could have built the facility!

Past chairman of the building committee (due to frustration),

Reg Radford

Red Deer