By Jenn Watt
Sept. 20 2016
Less than one year ago the Wilberforce Curling Club executive found itself in an unenviable position.
Headed into the winter season a brine leak was discovered shutting down the building just before Christmas. Volunteers moved quickly to reorganize the season partnering with Minden Haliburton and Bancroft clubs to host bonspiels and began fundraising in earnest.
In January Darrell McQuigge then vice-president of the club met with Highlands East council about the fate of the building. The Trillium Foundation had already awarded the club $150000 for replacing the ice plant equipment but more money was needed to replace the flooring and piping.
Since that time the club has been raising money in what it has called “Keep Our Community Sweeping” fundraisers – and they’re tantalizingly close to their $35000 goal.
“Our goal was originally with the municipality to raise $35000 towards the overall project” said McQuigge now president of the club in an interview with the paper.
“We’re sitting at about $27000-plus. We’re close. We want everybody to know we’ve got a couple things left to do.”
One of those things is a large Oktoberfest dinner and dance at Lloyd Watson Centre on Saturday Oct. 15. Tickets are $25 and include a buffet style dinner and dance afterward. There will also be a silent auction. For those wanting to attend the dance only tickets will be $10 at the door. Cranberry Cottage in Haliburton and Agnew’s in Wilberforce are selling tickets among other vendors in Gooderham Cardiff and Bancroft.
One of the most successful endeavours over the last year was the Legion raffle ticket sales. As of last week more than $16000 had been raised through that initiative and another $11400 through other fundraisers money jars and donations.
“It’s been great; the community’s been behind [us] 150 per cent” McQuigge said.
Ice should be going in the week after Thanksgiving with a target of having league play starting at the end of October.
With all of the upgrades McQuigge expects the ice maker will have an easier time keeping the playing surface consistent and that the infrastructure will be more reliable in the long term.
The club has switched to propylene glycol which shouldn’t corrode the piping as the previous brine did.
“It should help preserve the … system because you don’t have that corrosion aspect anymore” he said. “The old floor lasted almost 40 years well we’re hoping that this will surpass that with regular maintenance.”
The Wilberforce Curling Club usually has about 55 members and about 70 children who come in as part of their phys-ed instruction.
Volunteers are trained by the Ontario Curling Association to teach the students to curl as part of their physical education curriculum – the arrangement is the only one of its kind in Canada McQuigge said.
He is hoping that with the recent community support for the club and the improvements to the facilities there will be an increase in membership this year.
There is a special membership registration and barbecue at the club on Thursday Sept. 22 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
For more information about the club you can check out their website at wilberforcecurling.com.