Monday, October 20, 2014

Vancouver club given membership deadline or faces being turned into a hockey rink

The North Shore Winter Club is facing a deadline. It needs to sign up 360 members by Nov. 15 or face being turned into a hockey rink, says this article in the North Shore News. 

Now the club is a full athletic facility and therefore the curling membership can be a bit steep to a stand-alone club. There's a $900 initiation fee and then monthly dues of $113. So that works out to about $2,250 to curl (as well as enjoy a limited selection of the rest of the club's offerings).

That's a pretty tall order to try and get that many curlers in that short a period.

What's worse is that it cuts short an agreement the club made with the local recreation association.

The decision seemingly puts an end to an agreement hatched in the late 1990s between the Winter Club and the North Vancouver Recreation Commission to provide a space for public curling following the rec commission's decision to replace the curling rink at Harry Jerome Recreation Centre with the Flicka Gymnastics Club. 

The club's past president, Kevin Dancs, seemed to indicate that having a hockey rink would be beneficial financially for the club. 
If they don't reach the goal of signing up 360 new curling members, the club will start the process to transform the rink from curling into hockey, said Dancs, adding that the club must work to keep member satisfaction high while also considering revenue streams. Only 25 members of the club take part in curling, and the revenue from that ranges from negligible to negative, he said. 
"If it was converted to a hockey rink, then we know that projections are the revenue streams are going to be quite high, plus we have a big component of our membership who are hockey members. They're going to be very happy that they have more ice time for the kids."
You wonder if this is a scene that may continue to be played out in many parts of the country. There are a number of clubs in metropolitan centres that are looking at their curling operation -- which makes up just part of the overall facility -- and wondering if it should continue.

Certainly there can be lots of benefits. If it's a golf club, it allows the facility to keep staff year-round. As well, many players join as curlers and then add additional benefits such as golf or gym use.

But clearly, there seems to be a shake out coming in curling (as it is in golf). There simply don't seem to be the number of players to support as many clubs as we have in places such as Toronto.

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