A long-time West Shore curling club is grappling with the news that the rink it’s used since 1975 will soon be replaced by dry floor.
The Juan de Fuca (JDF) Curling Association has used the rink at the JDF Recreation Centre for 44 years and says it wasn’t consulted prior to the West Shore Parks & Recreation board’s decision.
JDF Curling Association president Pei Mei Chia said the club was still celebrating the end of the B.C. U18 Curling Championships when they heard the news.
“We just found out yesterday,” said JDF Curling Association president Pei Mei Chia. “We were told it’s going to take effect immediately. It was surreal, shocking….the day after, I’m still reeling.”
In a press release, the West Shore Parks & Recreation board says the new dry land floor space will be used “by the growing number of sports teams, recreational programming, child care and other West Shore user groups.”
It says the curling rink is booked for only 20 per cent of its available operating hours, “leaving the space unused 80 per cent of the time” and adds that low participation and usage rates translate to high operating costs – $11.24 for each person that comes to curl, compared to a $4.26 subsidy per usage of the JDF Arena and $2.07 for the JDF pool.
But Chia says the club, which has a total of 520 members – 260 who live on the West Shore – uses the rink daily.
“We have leagues every day, Monday to Saturday,” she said. “And on Sundays we practice.”
Chia said that above all, the group is shocked by the lack of consultation.
“We were not given any notice, period,” she said. “And that’s what we’re all very puzzled about. Why didn’t they come to us? They did not ask for us any input at all.”
Chia said there are options, with curling clubs in Victoria and Esquimalt, but she’s concerned that there won’t be space for all the members .
“I think a lot of us are going to be put out because there’s only so many sheets and only two clubs,” she said, adding that for now the group is simply trying to have a meeting with the West Shore Parks & Recreation board.
“We have questions and we need answers. We need them to hear what we have to say,” she said. “It’s all been very one-sided.”
In a statement, project consultant Jonathan Huggett said it “was an extremely difficult decision for the West Shore Parks & Recreation Owners and Board of Directors and “with limited resources and a growing population, West Shore Parks & Recreation facilities and programs must be designed and multi purposed to provide for the greatest number of West Shore residents to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle.”