Morning Edition listeners also suggested the Tartan Curling Club (1464 Broadway Avenue) for a standard breakfast at a great price. Plus there’s curling to watch at the same time.
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.
REGINA LEADERPOST — JUNE 4, 2015
Two Regina curling clubs are on thin ice with their finances, and they’re not getting the help they’d like from the City of Regina.
On Tuesday, the city’s finance and administration committee voted to deny tax exemptions for the Tartan Curling Club Co-operative and the Highland Curling Club.
The not-for-profit clubs say they are at a disadvantage with other curling and sporting organizations across the province that operate out of municipal buildings, and therefore are often exempt from property tax.
Both clubs faced skyrocketed tax assessments. The Tartan’s assessment jumped to $1.34 million in 2015 from $312,000 in 2012. That means, through a phased-in tax increase, the club will pay $29,400 in taxes this year — nearly triple what it paid in 2012.
The Highland saw its assessment leap to almost $867,000 from $345,000 in the same time period, with its property taxes increasing to nearly $19,000 from $11,300.
“I think the big thing is to be fair,” said Tartan treasurer Ken Dishaw. “We’re in trouble financially.”
City administration recommended denying the clubs’ request because there isn’t a policy for providing tax exemptions or reduced taxes to not-for-profit organizations or recreational groups.
But that’s the case for the Caledonian Curling Club. The organization signed a 99-year lease agreement with the city in 1978, under which it would receive tax-exempt land in return for financing the construction, operation and maintenance of a facility there. The city was also provided use of the building as a clubhouse for the Craig Golf Course from May to October.
“At the time, this would have been a win-win arrangement,” said Don Barr, the city’s director of assessment, tax and real estate.
Despite the golf course shutting down, the arrangement stands. Barr said a re-evaluation of the lease would require both parties to agree on new terms.
“It is what it is,” said Dishaw of Caledonian’s agreement, making it clear he doesn’t want that club to lose its tax exemption.
“They signed that lease, but the net result is we have to add $30,000 to our membership fees, and we’re in competition with the Callie (club) for members.”
Both clubs are now in the red: The Tartan suffered a $74,700 deficit in the 2014 fiscal year; the Highland, $16,750.
“We’re running losses right now, and if we don’t turn that around, we’ll have to close down,” said Dishaw.
Travis Netterfield, general manager of Highland, said the club can’t compensate for the increased taxes through membership fees alone — although they have been hiked at both clubs — for fear of scaring curlers away.
Capital improvements at both buildings have been put off and programming might suffer, the groups say. The clubs have also been trying to book out their spaces during the off-season.
Instead of tax exemptions, the city encourages not-for-profits to apply for community grants. Curl Regina Inc. received a $10,000 general grant and $6,000 for specific programs from the city this year, which is shared among clubs. Netterfield, though, said it’s not enough.
Coun. Barbara Young, a finance committee member, agreed.
“I think grants might be helpful, but I don’t think we have enough money in the grant pot to give all of these community organizations that do great work in the community,” she said.
On Tuesday, Young proposed providing a tax exemption to the clubs for one to three years, until they can balance their budgets.
“I don’t want to see local curling clubs go under,” she said. “I don’t want to see seniors’ and children’s programs have to disappear in curling.”
The requests are going before city council on June 22, where Netterfield and Dishaw hope they’ll have another shot to make their arguments.
When you walk into the Tartan curling club on a Friday night, you might expect to see middle-aged curlers wearing track suits. However, a monthly event called The Blender is attracting an unlikely new crowd to the sport. On that night, the ice is full of 20-somethings in tight jeans and black boots.
Many are more comfortable playing rock music than throwing rocks, but all of them have shown up to learn a new sport, drink a few beer, and hear some good music. Ten bucks gets you a drink, two hours of curling and a local band. No experience is needed, no special equipment required, and you don’t need to find a team to play.
Tartan lounge new hip hotspot in Regina
Upstairs, in the Tartan lounge, curlers fresh off the ice sit around drinking beer and listening to the band tune its instruments. On this particular night, The Gates of Dawn are playing. It’s a cover band that plays vintage rock n’ roll tunes. Its claim to fame is that it shares two members with the Regina indie-rock band Rah Rah.
Piper Burns is on the drums, and started working at the curling club in Grade 11. Now, four years later, he’s organizing The Blender. He says it’s all about attracting new people to the curling club.
“The idea is that it’s a pretty wicked bar and no one’s going to it. Well, that’s not true, curlers are going to it, but curlers are old.”
‘It’s the classic thing. It’s like records, you take an old thing and you make an old thing cool again.’– Piper Burns
Burns says the event attracts a very specific crowd, “It’s hippies, all different ages, punk rockers, there’s people who used to curl, and you can tell when they used to curl. But for the most part, it’s people you’d see out on a Friday night at the bar, seeing a show.”
“It’s an old thing, and it’s kinda like it’s cool, it’s the classic thing. It’s like records, it’s an old thing and you make an old thing cool again.”
Burns says the event appeals to people who may be turned-off by traditional curling leagues.
“We are just trying to make it really simple for someone who wants to throw some rocks on a Friday night and have some beers. Because to play regularly, it’s kind of intimidating, because you have to pay hundreds of dollars, and you have to be on a team, and you are getting your ass kicked every week. Whereas, here, you are playing against people who are in the same boat and you’re just kind of having a laugh.”
New life for old sport
Many of the young people had never tried curling until they started coming to the monthly Blender events. That makes Manager Alan Bratt a happy man. Bratt has spent the better part of 37 years hanging out at the club.
He’s seen a lot of changes over the years, but never anything like this.
“I’m fascinated by it. This is a different crowd. Curling’s been in a kind of decline. The regular league curling that’s been dominant in this province for 100 years seems to be not as successful.”
‘I’m fascinated by it. This is a different crowd.’– Alan Bratt, Tartan Manager
He was looking for a way to attract new people to the sport. Bratt had heard in Ontario some clubs had success just having people show up at the rink and mixing them up into different teams.
“I thought we’d try it. We had a few sheets open on a Friday night, so turn ’em loose. It’s been fantastic! Some people have shown up for this then have come out to the learn to curl program.”
What do the longtime club members think of their curling lounge becoming the new hip hangout for people in Regina’s music scene?
“Most people understand that if we don’t do something, we’re not going to be here. We are in a great location, because we have this whole area with young people and if we can bring them in, it’s a lifeblood. It’s new energy, it’s new interest. If anyone has a complaint, that’s too bad.”
The next Blender event is scheduled for February 27.
Source: By Nichole Huck, CBC News Posted: Jan 28, 2015 8:02 PM CT