Global Regina – The city’s curling clubs are struggling to maintain their operating costs.
They went to city council this week asking for a tax break.
After over two hours of discussion, they were granted a partial exemption for the next two years.
That may prove to be a challenge.
In the early 1970s, at the height of curling popularity, there were seven curling clubs in Regina but they’ve closed one by one as fewer and fewer people curl.
Currently it’s estimated about 3000 people are using the curling clubs on a regular basis.
Curl Regina needs to figure out how to increase that number.
“We have adult ‘learn to curl’. We have youth ‘learn to curl’. We have family events, and school groups. We have all sorts of programs, but it’s just a matter of spreading the word and people getting started in it,” said Kenda Richards, Curl Regina president.
Getting started in curling can be the hardest part. It’s known as a lifetime sport, one you can learn as a child and play well into your golden years, but that’s only if you have the drive to stick with it.
“It looks really easy on TV and it’s become a great spectator sport, but it’s not as easy to do,” said Richards.
She hopes the clubs are looking at this as an opportunity rather than a chore.
“Is it time now to look at amalgamating the three clubs into one? Is it time for us to work together more collaboratively on things like managers and operations? These are things we’ve discussed and tried to some extent in the past, but not as three clubs coming together as one,” she said.
The Tartan and the Highland have had some discussion in the past about pooling their resources and building one new “super-facility”, but given the state of curling interest that might not be an option anymore.
“I don’t know if they have enough funds for that. They’d still have to do a lot of fundraising,” said Richards.
With all options on the table the three curling clubs will meet in July to share their ideas on a new business plan. They must present the final plan to city council no later than February 1st.
One thing the over two hour discussion at city council did prove is as a city, we’re not ready to let go of our curling roots just yet.
“If you don’t have fun in the wintertime it’s because you’re not curling,” said Richards with a wink.