Skip to main content

Tag: curling rink

Curling rock with yellow handle sits in blue ring on the ice

Petition against borrowing bylaw submitted

The Town of Pincher Creek has received a petition against a contentious borrowing bylaw for a new curling rink, according to chief administrative officer Angie Lucas

Lucas has 45 days to determine if the petition satisfies a host of conditions specified in the Municipal Government Act. 

The petition, which calls on council to put the borrowing bylaw to a referendum, needs signatures from at least 10 per cent of town residents, which amounts to around 360 people, according to the 2021 census. Signatures must be witnessed and dated, with the names of petitioners clearly written out, among other MGA requirements. 

If Lucas finds that the petition satisfies the Act, council must either drop the borrowing bylaw or put it to a referendum of town residents within 90 days. 

If not, council could pass the bylaw, which would authorize council to take out a $4 million construction loan.  

If the bylaw fails, council could finance the new rink through the town’s capital reserves, or through a combination of reserves and borrowed money according to a March 27 memo attached to council’s agenda.  

 

LOCAL AD
Orange and blue flames on SGB Fitbodies ad promoting Fire and Ice classes

 

Elizabeth Dolman, who submitted the petition on Thursday, March 30, said it received 394 signatures. Lucas confirmed that number, but said she hadn’t reviewed the petition. 

Opponents of the curling rink build say the project would unduly distract from the town’s affordable housing shortage, and that council hasn’t presented enough relevant information. 

Supporters say the build’s estimated $4 million price tag wouldn’t overly burden municipal taxpayers because the town will likely qualify for federal grant funding for up to 60 per cent of construction costs. Council is meanwhile working on proposed housing solutions, supporters say. 

Few on either side would say the town’s aging curling rink at 837 Main St. has much more life to give. The building is visibly unsound and various engineering studies, mounted at the town’s expense, have found the building is beyond repair. 

Council narrowly approved the project on Feb 13, giving the borrowing bylaw the first of three readings on Feb. 27

Finance director Wendy Catonio declined to speculate in an interview with Shootin’ the Breeze last week about how or if the build might affect town taxpayers.

 

LOCAL AD

 

The town is carrying an unremarkable debt load (around $3.6 million as of the new year), she said. Passing the borrowing bylaw would not instantly dump any money onto that burden. Instead, Catonio explained that it would allow council to take out a loan of up to $4 million. 

The town would be on the hook for whatever amount council draws on the loan, Catonio said. 

The Pincher Creek Curling Club owns and operates the Main Street curling rink at the club’s expense. The town owns the land on which the rink sits.  

The club’s membership is roughly evenly split between town and MD residents, according to outgoing president Glenda Kettles. 

There is no plan for what to do with the Main Street lot after the curling rink inevitably comes down, according to an FAQ page on the town’s website.

 

[subscriptions]

Liz Dolman, a middle-aged woman with long, straight, blonde hair, sits at a table collecting petition signatures

Borrowing bylaw for curling rink petitioned

A petition circulating in Pincher Creek could upset council’s plan to build a new curling rink, according to an administration report in council’s March 27 agenda. 

The petition, launched by town resident Elizabeth Dolman on March 17, aims to block the passage of a borrowing bylaw for a multi-million-dollar construction loan, pending a referendum on the loan, Dolman told Shootin’ the Breeze

“We don’t have enough information [about the curling rink project],” Dolman said, questioning the potential tax implications and calling for more attention to other civic priorities, namely housing

“Curling is a wonderful thing, … but people can’t move here for jobs because there’s no place to live. The town’s known this for at least 20 years, and they’ve made plans here and there. But they haven’t done anything yet,” she continued. 

 

LOCAL AD
Sorge Trucking – Equipment Operator Required Help Wanted Ad

The petition is the latest development in a long-running and hotly contentious debate about whether or not to build a new rink and where to build it. 

Whatever might be said of the project, the town’s existing curling rink at 837 Main St. is at the end of its working life, according to structural studies dating back at least to 2008. The rink is run by the Pincher Creek Curling Club, at the club’s expense. The club has around 150 members, roughly evenly split between the town and MD of Pincher Creek, according to outgoing president Glenda Kettles.   

Council on Feb. 13 narrowly passed a resolution to build a new rink at the Community Recreation Centre at 942 Hyde St., to be renamed the CRC and Events Centre if the build goes ahead. The borrowing bylaw, still before council, was given the first of three readings at chambers on Feb. 27. 

Second and third readings are not listed on council’s March 27 agenda. 

 

LOCAL AD
Poster promoting Pavlo concert at Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod

Pincher Creek holds approximately $3.5 million in debt as of the new year — roughly $1.85 million for the town’s early learning centres and around $1.65 million for Pincher Creek RCMP’s current headquarters at 1369 Hunter St., according to finance director Wendy Catonio

That burden represents just under one quarter of the town’s approximately $15 million allowable debt limit, which the Municipal Government Act caps at 150 per cent of a municipality’s most recent annual revenue. For context, Catonio said the town’s current debt load is unremarkable compared to regional municipalities. 

If passed, the borrowing bylaw would authorize council to take out a loan for up to $4 million in estimated construction costs for the curling rink build. The town would then be obligated to pay down whatever amount it draws on the loan. 

The town has meanwhile applied for a federal grant that could cover up to 60 per cent of the build. Tristan Walker, the town and neighbouring MD’s energy project lead, said he hoped for a decision by the grant funder sometime this summer. 

 

LOCAL AD

Town council in 2017 committed $1.25 million to match the curling club’s hoped-for grant through the province’s Community Facility Enhancement Program. The CFEP grant didn’t come through, and council has included the $1.25 million commitment in subsequent budgets. 

The $1.25 million was always intended to be financed through a loan rather than the town’s capital reserves, Catonio explained.

Coun. Mark Barber, a longtime supporter of the build, told council last month that the curling club would contribute $200,000 through fundraising efforts, adding that the club would donate its ice plant, which Barber said was worth $500,000. 

Barber also said the MD would probably kick in some money. Reeve Rick Lemire later told the Breeze that MD council discussed that possibility in a joint session with town council, but the MD hasn’t made any financial commitments. 

 

In order to be successful, Dolman’s petition would have to satisfy a number of conditions listed in the MGA.

Petitions to council need signatures from 10 per cent of municipal residents, which amounts to roughly 360 people in Pincher Creek, according to the 2021 census. 

The petition would have to come to Angie Lucas, the town’s new chief administrative officer, no later than March 30. Lucas would then have 45 days to decide if the petition satisfies the Act’s requirements. 

If the petition holds up, council would have to either scrap the curling rink build or put the borrowing bylaw to a town referendum. If the petition fails, council could pass the borrowing bylaw and move ahead with the project, according to Lucas’s latest report to council.  

 

LOCAL AD

Lucas has recommended that council receive for information an explainer at chambers Monday evening about the petition process.

Few of the project’s vital details have been made public as of Friday afternoon, including a detailed cost estimate, according to an FAQ page on the town’s website.

The curling club owns the existing rink, while the town owns the land on which it sits. There is no plan for what happens at the old curling rink after the building comes down,  nor information about the financial implications for the town and tax implications for residents, the FAQ page explains. 

The curling club did not respond to a request for an interview before Shootin’ the Breeze published this story online on Friday afternoon. 

 

LOCAL AD

Roughly 170 people had signed Dolman’s petition to that point. Dolman has said she will continue to collect signatures at Ranchland Mall over the weekend. 

Kettles said Friday that the curling club has so far raised around $100,000 toward the new rink.

Blue mailbox with envelopes spilling out of it in the breeze symbolizing letters to the editor, op-eds and submitted content

Curling arena concerns: Open letter to Pincher Creek council

Open letter to the Town of Pincher Creek Council:

I am writing this letter to express my concerns with the decision to move forward with the proposed curling arena.

I have serious concerns with the bylaw that is being given first reading on Feb. 27, 2023, which will give the Town of Pincher Creek the ability to borrow $4 million for this project. 

As I understand, the project has no dollar amount attached to it, if this is available it’s your obligation to inform the community of the price tag. 

Who will be the partners in this? The MD of Pincher Creek No. 9 has not announced if they have any intention of supporting this project. 

 

 

When the council agreed to support this project “in principle,” the Pincher Creek Curling Club was to be a partner in this, however there is no disclosure as to this amount. A traditional P3 partnership would suggest they are responsible for 1/3 of the cost, is this the case?

I understand there is a grant that the Town is looking to apply for to cover some of the cost. This requires that this bylaw needs to be approved prior to the grant deadline of Feb. 28 (please correct me if this date is wrong). This means the bylaw needs to receive three readings and be passed at this one meeting, with no public consultations. 

Planning for grant funding either provincially or federally is an unknown, as monies received from grants rarely achieve the full amount asked for.

 

 

The location

While I understand the reasoning of attaching it to an existing recreation facility, attaching it to one that is going to need upgrades in the future is questionable. 

Moving it out of the downtown is irresponsible and damaging to the businesses on Main Street that are already struggling due to the rising costs of operating a small business. 

By removing the building from Main Street, it will leave another significant empty lot in the downtown.

I believe a parking lot is to be built on this spot to address the parking issue on Main Street. Other than in the winter and during peak times for the arena and the Multi-Purpose Facility (pool), a proposed parking lot will not be a useful place for anyone as it is a significant distance from most of the businesses.

 

 

The finances

Is the town purchasing the land from the curling club? 

If it is, where will the funds come from? 

If so, who is responsible for the demolition of the current building?

Will the town also be responsible? If so, how will we pay for this? 

Will the proceeds go to the curling club or towards the new facility?

 

 

The priorities

The Pincher Creek Regional Recreation Master Plan shows the curling club tied for third.

First for priorities is trail system expansion and enhancement. 

This “will encourage people to get outside and live a healthy, active lifestyle as well promote active transportation,” page 10. Not only would it be beneficial to all ages and abilities it is an activity that is free for everyone at a minimal investment to the community. 

Second was the Memorial Community Centre Arena upgrades. This facility can and is used at any age and is part of a sustainable and growing sport. 

Is curling? If so, please provide how many members the curling club has, and the demographics. What is the overall growth in this sport? Not just the sturling club. 

 

 

Housing

My last point, and one that affects every individual in Canada, Alberta and Pincher Creek, is housing. 

The town has completed housing studies over the last 15 to 20 years. Continually these studies have shown that housing is a critical part of the community. 

The Town of Pincher Creek has done nothing in supporting this crisis. 

I task every member of council to try and find a safe, affordable home in this town, as a family or even a single person. Housing is skyrocketing. Many families spend half their income on rent and utilities, often feeding the family is becoming a challenge. 

What are you going to tell these families? Sorry, we needed a curing club that serves one to three per cent of the population? 

How about taking the money and addressing this issue? There have been many discussions over building affordable homes for people in need. The Town of Pincher Creek can take any of the land they own and develop it for this use, not sell land to developers who build executive condos for a few. 

 

 

Conclusion

When you took your oath of office it was to serve the citizens of Pincher Creek, not for personal agendas.

Although not in the strictest definition of conflict of interest, I believe that members of this council have forgotten why they are there and who they serve. 

It’s time to look at why you are sitting in the position of responsibility and service, and decide if you are there for yourself or there to make a difference for the future of this beautiful community. 

Tammy Carmichael

Pincher Creek

 

Shootin’ the Breeze welcomes submissions about local issues and activities. Personal views expressed in Mailbox articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect views of Shootin’ the Breeze management and staff. 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

shootinthebreeze.ca/pincher-creek-to-build-new-curling-rink-pending-borrowing-bylaw/

Curling arena concerns: Open letter to Pincher Creek council

Pincher Creek celebrated as Alberta’s sturling hotbed

 

MD of Pincher Creek hits pause on rezoning applications

 

 

More Local Stories

 

 

Blue mailbox with envelopes spilling out of it in the breeze symbolizing letters to the editor, op-eds and submitted content

Community priorities: Open letter to Pincher Creek council

Dear Mayor Anderberg and Council Members,

Thank you for all the time and care you give the community of Pincher Creek and for taking the time to consider my concerns.

Coming from 35 years in Calgary to this community 33 years ago, initially part time and then full time, I have come to appreciate the immense value of living in a small town. Yes, sometimes it’s a little bit intimidating that pretty much everyone knows your business and you may know your doctor and your lawyer in various contexts.

That said, this is more importantly a community in which we care for each other, look out for each other, keep each other and our children safe because we know each other and we sense when something isn’t right. Yes, I will call your parents. If I don’t know them in person, I can surely find someone who does.

 

 

I wish to speak out about what I believe to be a potential disordering of our community priorities if we proceed with the $4-million investment in a new curling rink under consideration.

I can appreciate the social and physical benefits of curling; the richness of the camaraderie and subsequent enrichment of our community that would come with this initiative. I applaud those who care deeply about this and appreciate their efforts, and I hope that the day will come when this can happen.

It is my understanding that Pincher Creek has engaged in four publicly paid-for social needs assessments over the last 15 years or so. As a past Family and Community Services co-ordinator with the town, I was part of the assessment that followed the initial one spearheaded by the Associate Clinic. All of them pinpointed affordable housing as the greatest unaddressed need in our community. The Pincher Creek Foundation has done and is doing their best to provide this housing as they can. It is not enough. Their waiting list is long.

 

 

We see it again and again; a chronic shortage of affordable housing that means an inadequate supplement of front-line workers in:

—Day care

—Health care

—Seniors’ facilities

—Pincher Creek Women’s Shelter

—Restaurants

—Stores

—Potential new businesses that might be attracted to Pincher Creek if this were not such an issue.

 

 

As president of the Pincher Creek Women’s Shelter board of directors, I am acutely aware that women and children fleeing violence have nowhere to go other than back to their abusive situations after they leave the women’s shelter. Many of these women return to the shelter several times.

Restaurants have frequently reduced their hours for lack of staff.

Extended families are crowded in their homes.

People are living in mobile homes that are in very substandard conditions.

For all of the above reasons, we must address this urgent issue. We all care about the social and economic health of this community!

Let us not be adversaries. Let’s work together to ensure that the greatest needs of our community are met in the order of urgency. Let’s work together to have the best recreational opportunities we can afford once our primary, most urgent needs are met.

Elizabeth Dolman
Pincher Creek

 

Shootin’ the Breeze welcomes submissions about local issues and activities. Personal views expressed in Mailbox articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect views of Shootin’ the Breeze management and staff. 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Pincher Creek to build new curling rink, pending borrowing bylaw

Curling arena concerns: Open letter to Pincher Creek council

Pincher Creek celebrated as Alberta’s sturling hotbed

MD of Pincher Creek hits pause on rezoning applications

 

 

More Local Stories

 

 

Pincher Creek town councillors and administration sit at chambers table and one is on-screen, attending virtually. Four have hands raised, voting in favour of new curling rink plan.

Pincher Creek to build new curling rink, pending borrowing bylaw

The motion, tabled by Coun. Mark Barber, triggered a lengthy deliberation at chambers Monday, drawing input from all six councillors and Mayor Don Anderberg as they weighed the project against the town’s acute, chronic housing shortage, the potential tax increase to pay for the build, and the state of the existing facilities at the CRC. 

Council several times acknowledged the long-running contributions by the local curling club, which has long operated the current curling rink at 837 Main Street at its own expense. 

Council set aside $1.25 million of the estimated $4 million build in its 2023 capital budget. The remaining $2.75 million will be funded by a long-term loan, pending council’s upcoming vote on a borrowing bylaw, which will be the subject of a public hearing. 

Speaking in favour of Barber’s motion, Mayor Anderberg said that, in a worst-case scenario, council could pay for the project with a three per cent municipal tax increase. Council will apply for a federal grant that would cover up to 60 per cent of construction costs, provided the build goes ahead on a “net-zero” carbon footing, he told the public audience. 

 

 

Coun. Gary Clelland cast the vote as an “11th-hour” decision that would determine the curling club’s future.

“This is the time for us to take a positive step forward in our community, and say, ‘We want hundreds of people involved in this (curling) centre that for 100 years paid their way, have been leaders in the community … paid taxes in the community for 100 years, and still do today,” he said.  

Coun. Sahra Nodge objected that the long-term borrowing costs and subsequent maintenance of the rink would overly burden taxpayers, adding that the CRC’s gym and bowling alley are approaching their end of life.

“My role on council is to make sure that the monies that are spent by the town are done so responsibly, and with the due diligence and transparency that our community expects,” she said. 

Echoing Nodge, Coun. Brian Wright asked council, “How do we not bring a tax increase in order to get this to move forward?” 

 

 

Anderberg noted that residents surveyed in Pincher Creek’s March 2021 master recreation plan identified an upgrade to the curling rink as a top priority for indoor recreation.

“If our community tells us that a new curling facility is high on their list of priorities, I’ll follow their direction,” he said. 

Coun. David Green said housing solutions should take priority over the proposed curling rink. 

The town’s population has marginally shrunk in the past 15 years. Its housing vacancy rate was less than 1.5 per cent in 2017, when most of the town’s and neighbouring village of Cowley’s housing stock was close to 40 years old, according to a 2018 housing-needs assessment commissioned by council. 

“The lack of adequate and affordable housing for low-income families is a barrier to the economic growth and stability of (Pincher Creek) communities,” the assessment found.

 

 

Coun. Wayne Oliver, who attended the meeting remotely due to illness, said he trusted Anderberg’s business savvy. 

“Yes, housing is extremely important. But, I think we could work parallel on housing while building a new curling rink facility,” Oliver said. 

Barber’s motion passed 4-3 after Anderberg called the question, with Couns. Barber, Clelland and Oliver in favour, and Couns. Nodge, Green and Wright against. 

Council then unanimously passed Barber’s motions to apply for the federal grant and to tack $2.75 million onto 2023’s operating budget. 

Council must now decide whether to authorize a $4-million loan through a borrowing bylaw. The loan would  cover construction costs not already budgeted for if council’s grant application fails, but Anderberg said the town probably wouldn’t spend the full amount.

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Community priorities: Open letter to Pincher Creek council

Curling arena concerns: Open letter to Pincher Creek council

Pincher Creek celebrated as Alberta’s sturling hotbed

Town council considers renos and rebuilding

Short-term rental bylaw amendment deferred

 

 

More Local Stories

 

 

 

 

Laurie Tritschler author information. Photo of red-haired man with moustache, beard and glasses, wearing a light blue shirt in a circle over a purple accent line with text details and connection links