A City staff report recommends cutting the approved curling rink to save $20 million at the new Harry Jerome Community Centre without considering a number of other viable cost cutting options, including reducing unused open space and reconfiguring parking.
The overall design of the approved Harry Jerome Community Centre has an unusually high percentage of unused open space (non-activity and non-revenue space) compared with other centres. Was this taken into consideration? If the open space was reduced it would save money. Another suggestion would be to reconfigure the parking to cut costs. With these suggested design changes the 50-meter pool and six sheets of curling ice could be retained at new Harry Jerome Community Centre.
A new curling rink on the North Shore was originally approved in July 2018, as part of the new Harry Jerome Community Centre by the North Vancouver City Council. The official plan included a 50-meter pool, gymnasium, hockey arena and a six-sheet curling rink at a construction cost of $220 million.
In November 2018, the new City Council directed staff to review the plan and return to council with cost-cutting measures that would save the City $20 million in construction costs. The City staff report recommended deleting 25 meters of the pool and axing the curling facility. A construction cost savings of over $20M. There are other cost cutting alternatives that won’t reduce planned sports activities.
Curling has had a long history on the North Shore. Starting in the 1950s up to 2015 when the last curling rink was shut down and converted into a small hockey training facility. In 2015, 449 registered curlers (those who curl one or more games per week), 1,568 schoolchildren and 1,268 casual adult curlers (Source: NVRC Curling Facility Statistics), had nowhere to curl on the North Shore.
Where do North Shore curlers go? They drive off the North Shore to curling rinks in Vancouver, Richmond, New Westminster and other facilities in the Lower Mainland. Curling is a sport for life; for all ages and activity limitations. It is a sport anyone can learn at any age. It is a non-contact sport played in a safe environment, encouraging teamwork, social interaction and good sportsmanship. Curling is one of the fastest growing sports in Canada.
It is time to build a curling rink on the North Shore. We need to consider other alternative cost saving measures for the new Harry Jerome Community Centre and save curling from the axe.