The Fernie Curling Club won’t reopen in time for the regular season.
The club was hoping to be back on the ice by late March after the City of Fernie fast-tracked work to fix a leaking flooring system, which has prevented them from playing all season.
LOOK BACK: City of Fernie gets curlers back on the ice
In January, Trane Canada ULC was contracted to design, supply and install refrigeration mats at a total cost of $124,953 plus GST, with the club chipping in $10,000.
An initial work schedule put reopening at late March, however, installation is yet to begin, dashing all hopes of curling during the regular season.
LOOK BACK: Fernie curling rink to reopen late March
“These things always take longer than we think,” said Fernie Curling Club President Annie McFarlane.
“I’m just happy that it’s still happening… Yes, we’re disappointed that we didn’t have a season but we’re still very happy that we are going to be having one next year.”
The City’s Parks and Facilities Manager Brett Logan confirmed Trane was given an April 29 deadline and equipment was ordered four weeks after the contract and account details were completed.
“The project was put in motion after council approved the spending,” he said in a statement to The Free Press.
“The contract finalizing, account setup and product ordering have been completed. Trane has had their initial site visit to confirm measurements and site preparation needs.
“They will be beginning construction in the near future.”
Trane is familiar with the rink and it’s hoped the mats will be a long-term solution that will allow the City, and club flexibility in the future.
“These brine mats have a reputation for providing good ice quality for curling,” said Logan.
The City has offered to extend the normal Freon plant operation for a few weeks to allow for a bonspiel after installation if there is interest from the club.
McFarlane said that is yet to be decided but confirmed the next season will start in October.
To maintain interest during the shutdown, the club has been hosting weekly game nights at the lounge. McFarlane said while these have finished, rentals and lounge hire are still available.
She thanked the City for supporting the project.
“They’ve been great… as long as we keep the communication open and they keep informing us of what’s going on, which is what they’ve been doing,” she said.
“We’re disappointed but we’re just glad that it’s still continuing.”