The Nelson Curling Club says the city holds the hammer after the beleaguered organization posted a loss of nearly $20,000 last year.
Financial statements made public at the club’s annual general meeting Sunday show a $19,652 deficiency in revenues over expenses for the year ending April 30. That follows losses of $33,160 in 2017 and $23,125 in 2016.
The 155-member club has operated in the city-owned building without a lease since 2014. Under the current agreement the club pays for the building year-round, despite it being closed for five months during the sport’s off-season.
Club president Gordon Wiess told the Star a meeting with city staff has been scheduled next week, during which he hopes a long-term solution can be found.
“I’m hoping we can begin dialogue for a new partnership moving forward for the future that’s sustainable for all, and that we can keep curling and maintain our sheets of ice so we have a future,” said Wiess. “We want a future for curling in Nelson, that’s what we’re hoping for.”
The club has also accrued $23,900 in liabilities since 2016 for a total liability of $27,759.
Curling has been played in Nelson for 120 years, and the sport has been in its current home next to the civic arena since 1973. The club sold the building to the city in 1994, and stayed put under a 20-year lease that stipulated it pay for all associated costs.
Although the rent it pays has remained steady at approximately $2,000 per year, the club’s utility costs have gone up $4,000 over three years to $41,312 annually.
In October, the club requested the Regional District of Central Kootenay take over management of its refrigeration plant, which WorkSafe BC and Technical Safety BC say is currently non-compliant with safety regulations.
Wiess said ideally the club’s arrangement with the city changes to a rental agreement in which they only pay for seven months of the sport’s season, which would also allow them to keep the liquor licence that netted $28,268 last year.
He winced at the suggestion the club could save on money if the facility were downsized.
“You have to have six rinks to hold a provincial championship,” said Wiess. “It’s the same with swimming. Swimming needs their lanes to hold their provincial championships, so that’s the reason right there. Do you want Nelson to be a focal point for curling or not? That’s really the question you have to ask.”