The Stettler Curling Club has recently undergone some upgrades, with more coming down the line thanks to federal and provincial grants.
The federal funding portion was announced in a special press conference at the Curling Club on Friday, Jan. 20 by Randy Boissonnault, parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, on behalf of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
Both the upstairs and downstairs of the curling club has been outfitted with new vinyl, durable flooring and the walls repainted. The washrooms have also been redone, according to curling club President Steve Gerlitz.
Come spring, when the ice is off the multiple curling sheets, work will begin to replace the rink’s existing lightning with brighter, more energy-efficient LED lights.
“We’re now taking part in celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday,” Boissonnault said. “We want to make it very special. We want to empower communities like Stettler throughout the country to celebrate and have this legacy.”
The Canada 150 grant money is a matching grant, which means the community organizations receiving the money must match the amount donated by the government, Boissonnault noted.
Stettler’s curling club received $38,621 from the Canada 150 grant money, but also received about $20,000 from the Community Facilities Enhancement Program run by the provincial government.
The difference made by the first wave of renovations is obvious as soon as you step through the door, Gerlitz said.
“It’s so clean, so fresh-looking,” he said.
The hall previously had dark, worn carpeting that had seen better days, Gerlitz noted, and the walls needed a facelift. With the new grey flooring and bright white walls, the hall has become welcoming and modern.
“It’s important to us that you’re able to do the upgrades you need to (do) to fully use the facilities,” Boissonnault said during his presentation. “You know what the environment is like in Alberta – sometimes, you need facilities like these to enjoy an Alberta winter.”
The Town of Consort received the largest grant, coming in at about $375,000, with the money being earrmarked for the replacement of its sportsplex ice plant, electrical and ventilation systems. The Town of Coronation received $32,000 for the upgrading of its arena, while Killam received about $67,000 to modernize its arena’s machinery and equipment. Heisler is in the process of converting its arena into a multi-use facility, and received a $36,500 grant to assist with those renovations.
With the number of groups currently using the Stettler curling club – two seniors groups, two adult groups, and two strong youth programs – maintaining and upgrading the curling rink is important.
“We may have our future curling champions out there,” Boissonnault said.