A proposed location for the new Drumheller Curling Club facility, not far from the facility’s current location, was outlined on a diagram outlining berm designs for the Centennial Park area during the Thursday, February 9 Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO) open house.
The diagrams showed an area east of the Aquaplex, and slightly north of the Drumheller Memorial Arena, noted as the future location of the Drumheller Curling Club; with a location in mind, the club is now working to raise the necessary funds to make the new facility a reality before the lease on their current facility expires in 2024.
“This (location) has been earmarked for a potential curling rink site for some time with our collaboration discussions with the Town,” says Drumheller Curling Club President Debra Walker. “The Town has committed land for the rink, and the current location or this alternative location has been earmarked.”
The need for a new facility was announced by the club in March 2022. At the time the lease for the current facility, which is owned by the Town, was set to expire at the end of June 2022 and, due to several health risks and infrastructure repairs needed to bring the facility up to code, the Town was not looking to renew the lease at that time.
Following the announcement, the Town and Curling Club held a meeting and were able to come to an agreement which would allow the club to continue leasing the facility until June 2024, at which point the club would need a new facility; some minor repair work was also to be completed to help extend the life of the existing facility. So far, some assessments and inspections have been completed, with some work started on some of the required repairs.
Drumheller Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski tells the Mail when discussions were held about a possible future location, it was discussed there may be some limitations to where the new facility could be located due to berm construction in the Centennial Park area. He explains the club could also build the new facility either perpendicular to the arena, which would allow the existing facility to continue operations during construction, or parallel to the arena which would necessitate the club to pause operations to allow for the demolition of the existing facility prior to construction.
Designs for a new facility were previously brought before council in 2018; at the time, it was estimated a new facility would cost between $5.6 million and $8.4 million.
“Our estimates were well pre-COVID, so some time ago,” Ms. Walker says. “Since then, lumber has increased significantly, inflation has hit Alberta hard, there has been supply issues all over the world, and those factors will have any materials and labour costs increase substantially.”
Ms. Walker shares the club is potentially looking at a different type of structure, known as a “Sprung structure.” This is a high performance tensioned membrane structure, which requires minimal build time, and is a structure commonly used for other curling rinks. However, although the club has not received a quote at this time, they estimate the Sprung structure could still cost upwards of $4 million to $5 million to complete.
The club continues to fundraise, through hosting Family Fun events and 50/50 raffles, including an online 50/50 cash raffle on Rafflebox.ca, and is looking at grants or other funding opportunities to help cover the cost of a new facility. Ms. Walker says these events, unfortunately, have not been “near large enough or fruitful enough” to help the club to raise the money necessary.
There are also grants and other funding opportunities the club is pursuing, but as many of these are matching grants the club is currently unable to access this funding as it does not have the “dollars to match” at this time.
Operating costs for the club have increased, including costs for the ice power plant, and some of the fundraising the club has done has had to cover these expenses.
“We are a small volunteer board, many of us have other jobs in addition to working to save the club. You can appreciate that manpower and financial resources are a challenge,” Ms. Walker says.