Two western P.E.I. curling clubs are coming together to build one brand-new facility.
The Maple Leaf Curling Club in O’Leary and the Western Community Curling Club in Alberton will become “Western Curling Club at the Mill River Resort”, if all goes to plan.
Clair Sweet has been a member of the Maple Leaf Curling Club for all of its 42 years in operation – he was one of the curlers who sold potatoes to cover cost overruns so the club could open in 1978.
Clair Sweet, president of the interim Western Curling Club board, shows an architect’s image of the new facility planned for Mill River Resort. – Alison Jenkins
Since then, he’s served on the board of directors and has even worked as the ice maker.
Now, Sweet is the president of the interim board for the nascent Western Curling Club.
Next to him in the amalgamation is Audrey Callaghan, a curler for about 15 years at the Western Community Curling Club.
The idea for the new curling facility came together smoothly, with both clubs co-operating easily and deciding in favour of one big club, said Callaghan.
“Two rinks are too many, we don’t have enough people for two, it’s hard for the communities to support two clubs,” she said.
Between Alberton and O’Leary, there was a bonspiel nearly every weekend. Fees from friendly competitions are a crucial source of income.
“Not everybody wants to curl every weekend,” said Callaghan. “People have other commitments.”
Sweet said a new club will combine the memberships and potentially attract new curlers to the sport.
The new rink will be larger, with four ice sheets, a large viewing area and a multi-purpose room.
Mill River Resort has set aside serviced land with space for parking for the new venture.
“So that was a good starting point,” said Sweet
Sweet expects to hear back about funding applications in September.
He’s hoping for 40 per cent of the budget to come from federal funding and 40 per cent from provincial funding.
The remainder of the budget would come from fundraising or perhaps the sale of the old clubs, said Sweet.