The Parksville Curling Club wants the Regional District of Nanaimo to give them a longer tenure that just five years. (File photo)

Parksville Curling Club wants to avoid demolition

Regional District of Nanaimo moves to delay decision

The Parksville Curling Club wants to be treated as an asset rather than a liability.

That’s the message the club’s president, Penny Shantz, expressed to the Regional District of Nanaimo when she appeared at its meeting on Feb. 25.

The building the club currently uses is owned by the RDN but the land is the property of the City of Parksville. The club has a five-year lease on the building known as the District 69 Arena. Shantz said the club wants a longer tenure so it can be eligible for capital grants.

The club maintains and operates the building without any subsidy from the regional district and the city.

The RDN has plans to demolish the building. The RDN board had agreed that funding of $1 million would be allocated in the 2019-2023 financial plan that would be spent on the removal and remediation of the property. But there’s been no date set nor any talks as to whether the building will be demolished once the lease with the curling club is up in 2023.

Shantz said curling is a popular recreation and sporting activity in Parksville. It continues to grow, having added 20 per cent more capacity this year.

She said the club provides an economic benefit to the city and area whenever they hold events. She cited the City of Quesnel Economic Impact Study that showed an $82,000 community benefit derived from a 16-team provincial championship event.

“Based on this, our previous nine hosted events brought $1.6 million economic benefit to our community,” said Shantz.

Shantz suggested a change to the structure of the relationship between the RDN, Parksville and the curling club. The rink is important to residents and to the region’s economy she said. Consideration should be given to ensure the ongoing success of the sport.

Shantz said they are suggesting the RDN donate the building to the curling club allowing it to redirect the $1.27 milion that’s being set aside for demolition. They also want a long-term lease of the property or Parksville to donate the land.

“The RDN will save $1.27 million and rids itself of a liability,” said Shantz.

“Parksville continues to own the property but dedicates it to use as a curling facility under a long-term basis. This arrangement will require a referendum.”

The club wants the RDN to negotiate with the city and the curling club to determine the most beneficial way to ensure the longterm life of a Parksville curling rink.

Parksville Mayor and director Ed Mayne said that there’s covenant in place that does not allow the city to permit leases well beyond five years. They also are not allowed to sell the land.

Mayne, at the Oceanside Services Committee meeting on Feb. 13, questioned why they should be paying money towards the removal of the curling club facility when there’s no definite plans to do it in 2023. There also have not been any talks yet as to how they are going to replace the building once it’s been demolished. Mayne said he’d rather see the money kept in the city’s coffers instead of the RDN’s.

A motion was passed that budgeting and taxation for the demolition of the arena be delayed until the City of Parksville and the curling club have had an opportunity to comment.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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