FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Curling Club will have to decide by August 15, what the next season will look like or if there is another curling season at all in Fort St. John.
For the last two years, the Club has lost money. As of May 2020, the Club has lost $60,000 in the current year.
Membership has dropped to only 185 curlers, and fees are no longer supporting the operation of the facility.
The Fort St. John Curling Club has a lease with the City of Fort St. John to use the building for three years at a total cost of $10. The City is also responsible for some maintenance and capital improvements to the facility. Over the last five years, the City has invested $1.5 million in the facility.
Curling Club members were surveyed over the last month to determine what they would like to see the Club do.
Suggestions included increasing fees, finding more grants or sponsorships, and renting the facility to other groups in the community. While they have applied for grants, most grants will only cover capital costs, and the Club needs help with day to day operating costs.
Club President Connie Richter said, “There is no way we can afford to be out there with eight sheets of ice with 185 curlers. It just doesn’t make sense.”
The Club will start a membership drive in July, but if they can’t increase membership by at least 100 people, they will be forced to make changes to the current facility.
The Club is considering running only four sheets of ice instead of the current eight sheets. They believe the current membership can support four sheets of ice. The rest of the building would then be rented out to other groups in the community.
During the AGM, representatives from the City of Fort St. John made a presentation outlining the support the City has provided to the Club and the current lease and management agreements.
While the Club isn’t currently considering this, it would be possible for the Curling Club to turn the facility back over to the City and end their current lease and management agreements.
If that happens, the City would survey community residents on the best uses for the building going forward. Based on survey results, the City would determine how the building is used in the future. That could mean the end of the curling in the community.
Details about the cost of memberships and fees will be released in July when the membership drive starts.
If you would like to show your support for the Club, visit www.fsjcurling.com or call them at 250-785-2037.
Watch the full AGM below