The Forest Grove Curling Club plans to hurry hard to get the rink COVID-ready for a new season this fall.
The South Cariboo Joint Committee of the Cariboo Regional District last week agreed to renew a contribution agreement with the Forest Grove and District Recreation Society for $5,500 per year for a three-year term. The agreement, which had expired last year, would provide insurance to the facility, located in the Forest Grove Community Hall.
Both the rink and hall are owned and operated by the Forest Grove Recreation Society, which is responsible for all operating costs and capital projects for the facility.
Richard Bergen, president of the Forest Grove Curling Club, said the club is excited to restart the sport in the community after it was cancelled the past few years due to mechanical issues, followed by COVID-19.
“We want to get more activities here in Forest Grove,” he said. “We don’t have any sports or activities out here right now. We used to have a ball club but that’s gone defunct.”
Bergen said close to 20 people showed up to a meeting last year, saying they would be interested in curling in Forest Grove if it started up again. As a result, the Recreation Society is in the midst of completing some of the necessary repairs, such as painting and flooring and bathrooms and installing a new water treatment system.
Sylvia Griffiths, treasurer of the Forest Grove Curling Club, said the club hopes to be able to offer the rink to the local school as well as young people at the Canim Lake Band, who might want to learn the sport.
“We need something to do to keep people busy and not watching TV. It would be good,” she said, adding she is excited about getting back on the ice. “It was quite a going concern at one time. We had lots of bonspiels. It was nothing to go on the ice at two in the morning to play because there were so many rinks. We just want to have it ready so we can start it up if we’re allowed to. I haven’t curled for some time but I’m looking forward to it.”
The contribution agreement is included in the South Cariboo Recreation function financial plan and is consistent with support provided to recreation groups in the service area.
However, the situation raised some discussion around the committee table last week, with 100 Mile District Coun. Maureen Pinkney noting those who use the facility wouldn’t require a South Cariboo recreation pass as it’s not a CRD site. People who live outside South Cariboo recreation boundaries – which include 100 Mile and end at 108 Mile and Lone Butte – must buy a $200 recreation pass to use CRD services in town.
Margo Wagner, a CRD director for Forest Grove-Canim Lake, said almost all of Forest Grove and Canim-Hendrix are already included in the recreational boundaries.
“I would hazard a guess that this is not the only facility in the regional district receiving some recreational funding outside the rec boundaries,” she said.
100 Mile Coun. Dave Mingo said it’s a good example of why the CRD needs new recreational boundaries to include all of the South Cariboo.
The CRD is proposing a new South Cariboo Recreation and Culture Service, tentatively slated to go to referendum in June 2022. The new service, which would have a proposed annual taxation limit of $3.75 million – working out to a residential taxation rate of about $100 per $100,000 of assessed value – would allow the CRD to establish a new recreational service that supports existing facilities, including the South Cariboo Rec Centre, Martin Exeter Hall, and Main Beach, West Beach and Stewart Beach at 108 Mile Ranch, plus the ability to pay for new major projects.
“This is a classic example of ‘everyone pays’ and how we get that out there,” he said.
Pre-COVID, the Forest Grove Community Hall also offered a space for weekly quilting bees and the Forest Grove walking club, and was rented out for banquets, dances and Christmas markets.