Young curlers from all over the province will be rocking at the Parksville Curling Club.
The club will host the Curl BC U18 Provincial Junior Men and Junior Women Championships March 16-22. It will feature 16 teams who will vie for the honour of representing B.C. at the Canadian U18 Championships in Sudbury, Ont. in April.
Penny Shantz, president of the club, approached the City of Parksville council for financial assistance with the cost associated with hosting the event. The club asked for $2,000.
Prior to that, Shantz updated council on the current state of the club, which has grown over the years since being incorporated in 1991. Its lease agreement was renewed for another five years in March last year.
Shantz said the club’s membership is growing every year. This year, they have 429 active curlers, up from 354 the previous season. While it’s nice to have more members, Shantz said, it does present some problems.
“We’re full,” said Shantz. “We’re exploding. We don’t have ice available for practice. It’s all leagues and we have been increasing every year.”
As well, the club has 774 people curling every week. Shantz said that’s just in league games and it does not include bonspiel and special events.
Last year, the club added one more sheet of curling ice but Shantz said it’s still not enough to accommodate everyone.
It currently has 19 active leagues which includes daytime and evening men’s, ladies, mixed, stick, Special Olympics, competitive novice, PGOSA and junior. They also have to accommodate ice rentals on weekends and daytime when available to local schools, VIU exchange students, Curl BC, Four Foot Curling Camp, RDN Kids Camp, and the RDN’s Give it a Try Open House.
Improvements to the curling rink have also been made that include a new reverse osmosis water system a new lighting upgrade, reconstituted the under-slab brine piping and a new water softener. The big expenditure for the club was the installation of a new chiller which cost $138,000. Members donated $60,000 toward the project and the remainder was funded through the club’s capital account and operating fund. No funds were received through grants or outside sources.
Every year the club also hosts nine bonspiels that bring in more than teams. These events, Shantz said, are a big help to the local economy as participants stay in local hotels, eat at restaurants and also do some shopping.
Shantz pointed out that the City of Quesnel conducted an economic impact study for hosting a 16-team Curl BC provincial tournament this year. The study showed that the city received a $182,000 economic benefit from hosting this event.
Based on this study, Shantz said that the Parksville Curling Club has provided $1,600,000 economic benefit to the community for the past nine championships it has hosted.
The 2020 provincial youth U18 bonspiel, Shantz said, will bring curlers, families, and friends to the area.
“This is an opportunity for hotels and restaurants and Parksville to showcase our great city,” said Shantz.