The district of Sparwood is seeking feedback on its Recreation Master Plan. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Sparwood Curling Club bats away master plan ideas

The re-purposing of the Curling Rink is no longer being considered

The District of Sparwood is no longer considering re-purposing the Sparwood Curling Rink for other purposes following a vigorous defense from the local club.

Within the district’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan currently undergoing public consultation, a recommendation was made that the space currently used by the curling rink at the Sparwood Recreation and Leisure Centre could be re-purposed for other indoor uses to meet demand, with multiple options before the district for consideration.

However the curling club had other ideas, with club president, David Endicott, writing an exhaustive letter to the council to refute comments within the master plan that the club had low membership, saying that the consulting firm engaged by the district to write up the plan had neglected to include the club in its research, making its conclusions and recommendations faulty.

“It is unacceptable that the Sparwood Curling Club, who’s very existence is at stake, has been portrayed as a small self-centered group, who take up space better suited for other users,” said Endicott.

He then included an exhaustive list of 29 reasons why the club was well-attended, engaged with the community and responsible in its activities.

In response, mayor and council have since removed the two options in the master plan that would have seen the curling rink deleted.

Mayor David Wilks apologized for the confusion, explaining that the options were meant to give an idea of relative costs of several different ideas to meet the community’s desire for more indoor space.

“We heard you loud and clear – we apologize for any confusion we may have caused and any concern from the group. Mayor and council will move forward with any decisions on the multiplex/community hall that will be a new build,” said Wilks.

He went on to explain that given only the option of a new build was on the table now in regards to creating more indoor space, the question moved to cost. The master plan document had given a ballpark price of $14-$22 million for a new build multi-purpose indoor facility, compared to $4-$7 million for renovating and $5.5-$9.2M for expanding the existing facility.

Wilks said that with such a high price, the project would need exhaustive consultation, and in his opinion would most likely go to a referendum as it would likely necessitate higher taxes.

“The District of Sparwood only has so much borrowing capacity, and we don’t want to get into a predicament where we borrow as much as we can on this project, and then an emergency comes up where we do need money, and we’re in no position to do anything.”

“So I think the referendum question would probably go down the lines of ‘what are you willing to accept as a tax increase to fulfill the obligations of a multiplex’, and then that would give us some idea.”

Public consultation on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan is ongoing.

READ MORE: District ponders indoor space options



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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