April 16th, 2024

Curling Club wants to reopen lending talks with city to ensure it can pay back what it borrows

By MEDICINE HAT NEWS on July 7, 2023.

Officials with the Medicine Hat Curling Club are asking to reopen talks with the city about bridge financing for repairs to get the 400-member club up and operating next season.--News Photo Collin Gallant

https://www.medicinehatnews.com@MedicineHatNews

The Medicine Hat Curling Club wants to reopen talks with the city about a funding model approved in the spring to move needed repairs forward, including the potential offer to sell the building to the city.

A club official floated that possibility during an address to council Tuesday night, stating his group’s goal is to reduce the amount required to be repaid to the city under a bridge financing agreement. The amount borrowed would be reduced by any successful grant applications, but the balance paid off over time.

“We’re reconsidering our ability to manage debt between $850,000 and $1.7 million,” Hauserman told council, which agreed in April to have staff work on the issue. “At the low level we’d consider that (annual repayment of) debt very manageable, but have concerns about the upper limit.”

The range of payments would be between $42,500 per year and $85,000, said Hauserman.

“We have a fundraising committee and they’re very eager,” he added. “But, we want to be good citizens, and as good citizens, if we borrow money, we want to be able to pay it back.”

After the presentation, council directed staff to reopen talks and work on the agreement.

The 60-year-old facility is owned by the club, but sits on land leased on long term from the city – a common arrangement with several sporting clubs and golf courses in the city.

Last fall the club’s slab, brine piping and ice-making plant all failed, leading to a shutdown over the winter.

The club hopes to acquire a new portable chiller and temporary ice mat system to replace pumped-in slab brine lines, which could be relocated or sold int he future. That would partly secure the debt with the city, said Hauserman this spring.

An application from the province’s Community Facilities Enhancement Program has been submitted totalling $870,000, but awards will not be announced until later this fall.

“We’re open to discussing options,” said Hauserman.

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