Could the Fort St. John Curling Club be coming to an end? To ensure that doesn't happen, the club's board of directors is seeking feedback from its members, alumni, and anyone interested in how the club can adapt or change to be come more financially sustainable.
The club is in a bind, with a low membership count and, barring an increase in membership and league fees, not enough money to last another year at this pace. However, members don't want another increase in fees, and the club can't afford to have curlers drop out. As a result, the board has posted a survey, asking those interested to fill it out and offer their ideas for how the club could move forward.
The survey will be up until May 22, when the club will take all into the ideas into considerations and move into future negotiations with the board and its partners.
To take the survey, go here.
"We know we need to go with a different model," said Curling Club President Connie Richter. "We're getting lots of ideas, but 90% of people say the fees are too high and they don't want to pay anymore. We've checked with other clubs and don't think we're out of line, but we understand the frustration and are in a tough situation."
Further complicating the situation is the fact that the club currently doesn't have a general manager, and is short three board members as it hasn't been able to hold an AGM and vote new members in.
Further down the line, there's the likely threat of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting both the mode of play and finances of the upcoming 2020-21 curling season.
"There's a possibility of next season being affected, but we're already looking at what other clubs are doing, and working with WorkSafeBC on what our options could be," Richter said.
The board is open to all ideas, including the aforementioned fee increase with support of the members and board of directors, and even dissolving the club and leaving the building and the future of curling in the hands of the city.
All other options and ideas are welcome, including ideas on how to better rent out the space for banquets and events, or to just close the building in the summer months.
Richter said the club had 185 members for the 2019-20 season, down from it's high of 350 in 2016-17.
It understands the situation it's in, and the board of directors and other club members have been calling other curlers passionately to get the word out about the state the club is in, and the importance of having people fill out the survey.
"The Fort St. John Curling Club has been in the city for 73 years — it opened in 1946 — and when you have something open that long, you hate to tell people we’re closing our club," Richter said. "To close a sport that's been in this town all those years would be very disappointing to myself and our board members and members."
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