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Curling club scores as Penetanguishene buys critical ice equipment

‘Crucial’ equipment to make curling ice noticed by qualified councillor, asking town to pay its share in upkeep costs
curling
Stock photo.

Other than the last snows of winter melting away, it’s been a good week for the Penetanguishene Curling Club.

Council granted the Penetanguishene Curling Club (PCC) $49,500 toward replacing the dehumidifier and heater at the aging Team Howard Community Centre, located at 8 Owen Street, during a recent regular meeting.

A request was put forward to council at the previous meeting through a deputation by PCC president Stu Spiers, who asked council for assistance measuring $150,000 including a roughly $40,000 dehumidifier and $8,000 heater. During the presentation, Spiers held up 300 signed letters of support, and exhibited a video plea from Glenn Howard on the club’s behalf.

On Friday, the club received $123,000 from the province's Resilient Communities Fund.

Built in 1973, a building condition assessment in 2019 rated the facility as being in poor condition. In 2020, approximately $38,000 was invested by Penetanguishene to install drains and improve asphalt works to direct water away from the structure.

A report to council indicated that attempts to source the output of drainage were unsuccessful, noting a recent geotechnical report stating the curling facility floor had been built below the water table.

As the staff recommendation for council was to provide $5,000 in capital to the club with a $44,500 loan being offered, it was Coun. Brian Cummings who addressed the report and its “discrepancies."

“I’ve been a member since 1989 off and on,” stated Cummings. “I am also a Level 3 certified ice technician – very few in Ontario hold that – so I understand what equipment is needed and how crucial it is to make curling ice. Not so much for hockey ice, but for curling ice it’s very specific.”

Cummings noted the installation and upgrades made by the PCC over the past 20 years, including windows, fire doors, a garage door, washrooms, a new building addition and more; he stated that the town had only contributed to those aspects in 2020.

“And the drainage, we – the PCC – spent thousands of dollars without going through insurance first of all to try and rectify it themselves, not knowing that the problem was actually outside,” Cummings added.

“My request would be that we grant the $49,000 as requested,” Cummings offered, “since we need to catch up with some of these things.”

Other councillors were quick to support Cummings’ words.

Coun. Debbie Levy noted that through the pandemic, the PCC had already received a federal loan for $40,000 to be returned, and an additional municipal loan wouldn’t be realistic.

Coun. George Vadeboncoeur congratulated the PCC on reducing the requested amount from $150,000 to $49,500 as a second dehumidifier and header system had been removed. He noted that the similar argument of keeping the Penetanguishene Memorial Community Centre (PMCC) arena available for safe use also applied to the THCC building.

A proposed $49.1-million multi-use arena facility had been explored as part of a study last year, to replace the two expensive and aging recreation facilities. To maintain the PCC, the study noted the town would have to pay $1.15-million over the next 20 years; the PMCC would require $6-million in repairs and replacements over the same timeframe.

Vadeboncoeur came to council looking at the request as a partnership between the town and the PCC as per the original agreement, thinking that a 50-50 split would be prudent, but was swayed by the words of Cummings and Levy that the full amount could be an option.

Other members of council favoured the 50-50 split, but when the vote came it was decided that the full amount of $49,500 would be granted to the PCC.

Following the carried motion, council addressed the next agenda item regarding an awarded tender to the PMCC capital roofing project, to D.J. Peat Roofing and Sheet Metal Ltd in the amount of $300,566. It was carried quickly with the sole comment from Mayor Doug Leroux to clarify that the funding opportunity came through successful application of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The Penetanguishene Curling Club financial request for capital repairs report can be located on the agenda page of the Town of Penetanguishene website.

Meetings of Penetanguishene council are held on the second Wednesday of each month, and can be watched live on Rogers TV cable 53, or on the Rogers TV website.

Archives of council meetings are located on the Town of Penetanguishene YouTube channel.