PORT HAWKESBURY: The curling club will open by next month.
Tom Wagar, draw chairperson for the Strait Area Community Curling Club (SACCC), said the ice plant will be running by the middle of the month, with plans to start curling by the beginning of November.
“We’re excited about curling,” Wagar told The Reporter. “It’s only a two-hour outing in the evening so we’re hoping people can fit that into their schedule. It sounds like people want to get out and have some fun but in a safe way, and I think we can provide that. We’re just hoping people know we’re open and will come out and try it.”
Under COVID-19 protocols, Wagar said the SACCC will be able to have league nights this year from Monday to Thursday, and may host bonspiels, but with no off-ice events.
“It’s okay on the ice, the curling will always be the same as it was but once you’re in the clubhouse, we have to follow whatever is mandated by the province for food and drink establishments,” Wagar explained. “You can only have half as many people as we’re normally allotted to have in the building, according to the building permit. Instead of allowing 80 people, we’re only going to be allowed to have a maximum of 40 people in our clubhouse.”
In addition to new facility rules, like no rentals to outside groups, there are also new rules on the ice, Wagar noted, such as how many curlers can be on the ice, as well as the distance between curlers.
Noting that it “wasn’t an easy decision,” to decide to re-open next month since the SACCC stands to lose money whether open or closed, Wagar said this way the club will lose less money, while providing a great opportunity for residents to get out and be active.
To raise money, Wagar said the SACCC is considering holding lotto draws, hosting small bonspiels, soliciting donations, and they are hoping memberships increase this season just as they did at local golf clubs.
“We just have to try to get as many members out, then if we do get started, we try to be creative with fundraisers, whether it’s lotteries, or donations,” Wagar noted. “We are hearing from people saying they’re looking for something to do this winter so they’re starting to contact us, so I think our list of league members will grow this year. That’s what we’re hoping for, and that’s what we’re focusing on.”
Since the cost of making ice and running the ice plant is their number one expense, Wagar is optimistic the SACCC will be able to curl for a full season.
“If we open up and we only operate for a couple of months, and then we have to shut down, it’s a big expense to get the ice in,” Wagar added. “So we’re hoping that doesn’t happen, we’re pretty confident that things in Nova Scotia are under control and we’ll be able to curl the whole season.”