February 26th, 2024

Curling club receives grant funding for new ice-making equipment

By Brendan Miller on December 29, 2023.

Bryden Smith, president of the Medicine Hat Curling Club, poses for a photo with the club's old brine water system. The replacement ice-making system will have easier access and will be installed above the concrete floor.--NEWS PHOTO BRENDAN MILLER

bmiller@medicinehatnews.com

Local curlers can expect to be throwing stones in Medicine Hat once again next season.

The Medicine Hat Curling Club received a Community Facility Enhancement Program grant worth more than $870,000 and expects to reopen next fall.

Club officials say the funding will help cover roughly half the cost of new ice-making equipment needed to reopen after they were forced to cease operations last year due to a brine leak.

The club was notified of its successful grant application on Dec. 20 and has already ordered a new ice plant and ice mats.

“Probably the best present we could have had going into the holiday break,” says Bryden Smith, president of Medicine Hat Curling Club. “We’ve been waiting on pins and needles from about June. So to get the relief of the (funding) coming in, we’re over-the-moon grateful, excited and looking forward to the future.”

In July the city purchased the club building on Second Street SE for $870,000 after council approved the purchase by a 6-1 vote.

In total the club has raised more than $1.7 million from the CFEP grant and the city’s purchase of the facility, as well as local fundraising efforts.

“(The grant) with the sale of the the building into the city, essentially covers the majority of our expenses for the upcoming construction, so fantastic news.” says Smith.

This will allow the club to start preliminary work on the facility as soon as next week with the majority of the contract work to start in the spring.

“It’s huge for members of the board and for members of the curling centre, for members of the community in general,” says Smith. “We’re a big curling hub in southern Alberta. We attract curlers from Schuler, Seven Persons, Bow Island, Manyberries and Redcliff. So everyone’s very relieved,” says Smith.

The club has ordered a portable ice plant and ice mats to replace the standard generalized plant with built-in brine lines.

The new ice-making equipment will cost less to run and provide easier access to make repairs in the future.

“We’re hoping that the ice should be as good a quality, if not better,” explains Smith. “The first few months might be a little bit interesting but after we work out the kinks the ice should just be as good, if not better than it was before.”

However, club officials say they haven’t crossed the finish line yet as the facility also needs minor improvements to the building after being unoccupied for two years.

“There’s a little bit of work to do here and there but for the most part we’ve done a good job maintaining the building,” says Smith.

Officials say most of the ice-making equipment will be produced in Calgary, and they are using Cimco Refrigeration to build the new ice making equipment.

The club has contacted Dynamic Industrial Solutions from Medicine Hat as its general contractor and to help install the ice making equipment.

“Dynamic has stepped up huge for us taking on that general contractor role and doing a lot of work,” says Smith. “It’s taken a lot of pressure off of those who are on the board that may not have much experience with these kinds of things in terms of construction and engineering.”

Once the new equipment is installed in the fall the curling club will have eight playable sheets of ice available.

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