Study or demolish the Parskville Curling Club building?

Regional district decides to put $15,000 into a study of the building

The regional district has committed $15,000 to studying the current state of the Parksville Curling Club.

This comes at a time when the club is considering its future after losing its 100 per cent tax-exempt status from the City of Parksville. And not all Regional District of Nanaimo directors were in favour of allocating the study money during their meeting last week.

The money comes from the Corporate Climate Action Fund and the study will confirm the building’s current level of performance, integrity and life expectancy of it’s structures and major operating systems.

“This $15,000 is a good idea,” said Parksville’s board member, Coun. Marc Lefebvre. “I really think it’s a good idea to look at the building.”

Lefebvre explained the curling club has been left in a difficult position after the city changed the criteria for its permissive taxation program which used to offer certain organizations — including the curling club — a 100 per cent tax break. Under the new criteria, the Parksville Curling Club only receives a 50 per cent tax exemption.

But not all directors said they agree committing more money to the organization is the best idea.

“The curling club was given the facility to run and operate on the assumption it wouldn’t cost the RDN taxpayer any money,” said director Bill Veenhof, who represents Deep Bay and Bowser. “And now we’re talking about dedicating $15,000 to the facility — although it’s grant money (not taxpayer money) I get that — but it’s still money that can be used for other things for the taxpayer.”

Director George Holme, who represents Nanoose Bay, said the curling club is in “bad shape” financially.

“I’ve been out of there since 2005 and I’m still getting calls asking for help,” said Holme. “If the city won’t give them a tax exemption then so be it — they’ll have to find the money somewhere — but if we’re going to give them a double whammy we might as well take this $15,000 and give it to a demolition company.”

RDN general manager of recreation and parks Tom Osborne said the Parksville Curling Club is an RDN-owned building.

“Should the curling club not become operable be it in 10 or 20 years it is still a facility owned by the regional district and it will come back to the regional district,” said Osborne, adding the RDN will have to decide what to do with the building if the curling club ceases to exist.

According to Parksville Curling Club facilities director Spish Legowski, the club has been in its current location at Parksville Beach for 11 years in a building that is 40 years old.

Legowski said it is primarily used during curling season which runs from August to April annually.

In the off season, he said the building is rented out to other organizations.

Legowski said the curling club has more than 300 members.

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