Wilberforce Curling club shutters doors for season

The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Oct. 13 meeting of Highlands East council.

By Darren Lum

The Wilberforce Curling Club won’t operate this season. “After an extensive and exhaustive debate about the potential risks and liabilities we face as a club, it was overwhelmingly decided that we can not move forward successfully and responsibly with curling this year,” a letter posted to the club’s Facebook page by club president Gord Fitch on Sept. 11 stated.
The club’s building is a municipal facility and must operate under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the letter said.
“Under the mountain of regulations, with limited membership dues, lack of regular outside revenue sources, and substantial increased costs the fun we are use to will be greatly sacrificed and our future success hampered.”

COVID-19 hampers building work
In her monthly building report, chief building official Laurie Devolin said construction in the area was down with permits at 135, down eight from 2019, and a loss of construction values to the tune of $2,319,944.
The sentiment from builders, she said, was a wait and do it next year – the result of the prohibitive costs of building materials related to the scarcity of materials from supply lines disrupted by COVID-19. Devolin was hopeful though.
“We’ll see. This time of year gets extremely busy with a lot of projects coming so they can get started before the snow flies,” she said.

Fire calls at seven-year high
During the fire report, fire chief Chris Baughman said there were 40 calls in September, up from 28 from 2015, the previous high. Up to this point in the year there have been 254 calls up until Oct. 13. This is one shy of 2018 when there were 255 calls up to Oct. 13 that year.
Deputy mayor Cecil Ryall had concerns about the rise in calls related to more people in the area.
Baughman said he believed the trend will continue, but isn’t concerned because of the nature of the calls.
“ … where I see the increases of unauthorized burning or the open-air burning people are being confused with all the rain and the cold temperatures thinking that the summer regulations have ended. It’s just burning without looking at the bylaws themselves or regulations so we haven’t had an increase in structural fires or an increase of bad accidents. It’s kind of across the board,” he said.