Curling season is over at the Parksville Curling Club and Qualicum Beach Curling Club. (PQB News file photo)

Curling season is over at the Parksville Curling Club and Qualicum Beach Curling Club. (PQB News file photo)

COVID-19: Parksville and Qualicum Beach curling clubs forced to end season

Restrictions impact financial sustainability of both operations

The Parksville Curling Club and the Qualicum Beach Curling Club have closed their doors for the remainder of the season due to COVID-19.

Both clubs indicated the extension of the public health order to Feb. 5 have impacted the financial sustainability of their operations.

“As always, our focus and priorities on the board are to keep the health and well-being of all our members both on and off the ice and to ensure the financial well being of our club,” said club president Penny Shantz in her notice to members of the club. “We are in a financial position that would not be feasible to stay open for the remainder of the curling season.”

The QBCC board in their message to members indicated “re-opening late into the winter session would not be fiscally responsible for the club nor would it be in the best interest of the health and well-being of members and staff. “

With COVID-19 cases not trending downward, the provincial health authority declared on Jan. 7 that adult group sport (22 years and up) is still restricted until Feb. 5. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry clarified that curling was included in the restriction and ordered all clubs to put their adult leagues on pause.

Both clubs are currently processing refunds and looking for ways to make up the revenue lost due to the closures. It’s going to be tough for the club to keep up with their expenditures this year, said Shantz.

“We were operating on a deficit budget and we still have utilities, insurance and maintenance costs going forward,” said Shantz.

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They are now looking for donations. Unfortunately, the club will not be able to provide a tax receipt for any donations at this time. Shantz said the National Sports Trust Fund will not provide tax receipts from donations to cover operating costs or for membership fees. The NSTF is for club development projects where the goal is to support development and expansion.

The Parksville club plans continue to look for opportunities for grants and have received the most up-to-date federal government initiatives.

The QBCC is planning to organize fundraisers such as bottle drives and are asking members to volunteer their time.

Curl BC has cancelled major bonspiels this year. They include the 2021 B.C. Men’s Curling Championship in Kamloops, the 2021 Scotties B.C. Women’s Curling Championship in Kamloops, the B.C. Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Chilliwack as well as the two high-profile youth events, the 2021 U18 and U21 B.C. Curling Championships.

“The latest extension of the restrictions has seen a surge in clubs deciding to shut for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.” said Scott Braley, Curl BC CEO. “There are still many unknowns about the length of the season for those clubs that remain open, so we decided it was not practical to press ahead with plans for spring championships. We understand this will be a huge disappointment. However, we also know that it is the best way to keep everyone safe and give more flexibility to host clubs who may need to close at short notice.”

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