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Nothing changing for Didsbury curling rink after two-year trial

New model allows the Town of Didsbury to maintain control over the curling rink year-round
MVT stock curling rock
The Didsbury Curling Club had 139 members in the 2022-23 season. File photo

DIDSBURY - Town council has received a report on the 2021-22 and 2022-23 curling seasons at the Didsbury curling rink under a new rate model adopted on a trial basis in September 2021. 

The report came before council at a recent regularly scheduled council meeting, held in person and online.

“When council approved this trial rate structure, it was for two reasons. (One) to allow the Town of Didsbury to maintain control over use of the facility year-round as we were facing ever-changing COVID-related restrictions and closures at the time,” said chief administrative officer Ethan Gorner. 

“And to provide a similar model to what is being used elsewhere within our facilities.”

The Didsbury Curling Club (DCC) is the main user of the curling rink facility. Previously, the DCC utilized a lease agreement for the full facility for five months each year, at a rate of $4,500 a month plus a percentage of utilities. 

Under the new model, an hourly use agreement process is being utilized, similar to the model used in other town recreation facilities. Users contract ice for the season or could rent a sheet of curling ice on an hourly basis.

Administration reviewed the two seasons under the new model and prepared the report for council.

The report itself detailed revenues generated within the two seasons through in-season curling, as well as other factors that impacted the trial.

Highlights include that “revenues anticipated at the start of the trial have not been achieved due to ongoing COVID restrictions in the 2021-22 season, and slower membership uptick in the 2022-23 season.

“The use agreement model is equitable though the recreational department and provides for a clear relationship between user groups and the Town of Didsbury. It also ensures authority over town-owned facilities year-round.

“Changes within our budget department allocations would reflect higher revenues within the curling rink budget, while ensuring that both the revenues and expenses associated with operations of this facility are within the same budget.”

The report found that during the 2021-22 season, revenues totalled $15,785, with 107 Didsbury curling club members.

“The government of Alberta’s restrictions exemption program was in effect until Feb. 16, 2022, which greatly impacted members of the club. The revenue numbers of this season were affected by COVID closures and/or restrictions that remain in effect until February 2022.”

The report found that during the 2022-23 season, revenues totalled $24,012, with the club having 139 members. This season was the first full curling season since 2019-20, with the Farm and Ranch bonspiel returning in January 2023, with a value of $3,770 for the facility.

The report states that the new model allowing the Town of Didsbury to maintain control over the facility year-round while offering the DCC the same rate offered throughout all other town facilities, “offers a much clearer relationship” than the previous model.

“This allows for this space to be utilized for other meetings, events and programs during the DCC season, and also gives the town full control to make decisions for operation of this facility as required.”

Council carried a motion to maintain the use agreement model of bookings for the Didsbury Curling Club for the 2023-24 season.

A second motion carried calls for the Performance Evaluation Committee to be tasked with investigating potential service levels with regards to the DCC’s use of the curling rink and bring back recommendations to council.

Dan Singleton

About the Author: Dan Singleton

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