Huntsville Curling Club decides to ‘love it’ and renovate existing building after hopes for Town funding not realized

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Taking their cue from the HGTV show “Love It or List It”, the Huntsville Curling Club (HCC) says it has decided to love their existing building and make the critical upgrades needed to take it into the future.

The decision came after Huntsville Town Council, earlier this year, said that it couldn’t commit any funds for an estimated $5.2 million multi-use facility at McCulley-Robertson Recreation Park, a project that had been initiated by the curling club.

Related: Support but no money for new multi-purpose facility proposed by Huntsville Curling Club

“Initially we were disappointed when we heard that the town was unable to support us, however we had been working on a ‘love it’ plan if indeed we had to stay,” said Beth Goodhew, VP & Club Development Director for the Huntsville Curling Club, adding that renovating the club is a viable option, although some of the needed renovations are critical for the building to be usable next season.

A new roof and replacement light fixtures will be first on the list of renovations—the roof leaks and the current light fixtures are so old that the club can no longer purchase bulbs for them. Thanks to the support of sponsors and the successful Ontario Men’s Tankard that the club hosted at the Canada Summit Centre in 2018, it has enough funds to proceed with those most critical items.

But the club doesn’t yet have sufficient funds for its remaining needs—replacing aging furnaces and refrigeration units with newer, more efficient models, making the building wheelchair accessible, and renovating the existing lounge and bar area. For those it will be applying for grants and looking to the community for support with fundraisers.

The club’s accessibility requirements, in particular, will be a major undertaking given the current layout of the building, which has narrow hallways and two levels. “We want to ensure that the club is accessible for all,” said Goodhew. “We need to install a lift that will accommodate wheelchairs at multiple levels and to do that will mean total renovation of the bottom floor, changing the entrance, creating an accessible washroom, et cetera. It’s not a small renovation.”

They will also have to work within the existing footprint—there is no room to expand and the club has parking issues as it is.

While the club hopes to complete all of the renovations quickly—within a year would be ideal—the work could take five years or longer depending on grant decisions and fundraising.

“We are a very busy, vibrant club,” noted Goodhew. The club had to add a second learn-to-curl session last season due to high demand—a total of 63 people signed up. And more than 500 children participated in club programs last year, including its grade 5 sessions, high school classes, and after-school programming, and its March break program sold out. Recent retirees moving to the area have helped push the club’s membership to 247.

We’re excited about the next generation of curling in Huntsville. With the continued support of our curlers, our sponsors and our volunteers, we look forward to future years at the Veterans Way facility.

The Huntsville Curling Club is a volunteer-run organization with a small number of employees, and has been in existence for 120 years. The club doesn’t receive government funding to support its operating costs and relies on membership dues, fundraising, and grants.

The club has two fundraisers planned for the coming months. Its annual pancake breakfast will be held on May 11-12 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. with all-you-can-eat pancakes and sausages. Admission is $10 for adults and teens, $6 for kids under 12, and free for those under 5. The club holds a craft, yard and bake sale at the same time. Craft vendors who want to rent a table at the event can contact Ev Brown at 705-635-9283.

The HCC’s annual Rocks to Ridges golf tournament will be held on Monday, August 12 at North Granite Ridge. Watch for information on the curling club’s website or email [email protected]

For more information about the Huntsville Curling Club, visit huntsvillecurlingclub.ca.

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