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A fiscal belt-tightening effort by the McLennan Curling Club has resulted in a delayed start to the upcoming season.
Rita L’Heureux, president of the local recreational organization, says that delay will see the curling club kick off its season Jan. 8 as opposed to previous years when the house started rocking in November.
“The executive recently made the decision to bump the season back two months as a way of trying to achieve some additional cost savings,” L’Heureux explained last week, adding that last year’s holiday season did disrupt regular draw dates to a certain extent.
“With the arrival of Christmas parties and concerts, it just seemed to be too much of a struggle to try and get the curlers together.”
“There were times when we could hardly justify turning the lights on.”
The need for reduced expenditures stems from last season which saw the club immersed in thick red financial tape to the tune of approximately $5,000.
Part of the problem attributed to the deficit (absorbed by the Town of McLennan earlier this year) was the skyrocketing surge in gas and electricity rates.
Another factor was the critically low, but sufficient, number of curlers who signed on the dotted line to play. L’Heureux says the burning issue of low curler participation isn’t something the club has been immune to in the past.
It’s a trend which has repeated itself over and over again in past years much like a broken record… a trend which L’Heureux says has to stop.
“We’d hate to have to resort to something like door-knocking to try and keep the curling program going,” she said, adding the executive would hate to see it come down to that.
“It really would be nice to break even for a change… that would be a bonus. But to achieve this we need the support of the community.”
Residents in town will be given the opportunity to prove just how valuable the curling program is to them on Nov. 29 – the date of the McLennan Curling Club’s official registration night for the upcoming 2002 season.
The event is taking place at the town office from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is open to anyone interested in curling, regardless of whether they’ve played the game before or not.
L’Heureux is encouraging junior, senior and adult curlers to get with the program and show their support.
“We’d be happy to maintain the same balance (of 10 teams) we had last year,” she said, pointing out the club’s doors are wide to accommodate more.
Despite the sagging numbers, there continues to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the club. One shining ray of hope has come in the form of a recently approved Community Lottery Board grant of $5,000, which is being used to replace carpet and carry out general repairs at the curling rink in advance of the January kick-off.
Another bright spot has been the overwhelming success of club fund-raising efforts.
The club began working in tandem with the Royal Purple this past summer in an effort to assist the organization with its bingo fundraisers, held in Enilda.
So far, the club has raised $1,800 – an amount which L’Heureux said will enable the club to get on its feet in January.
An additional $15,000 or more is expected to be generated for the club next October when members take part in a Great Northern Casino fundraiser in the Swan City (Grande Prairie).
She says the club is also pleased to announce that it has sold an estimated $2,000 in ice advertising for this season, thanks to the generous support of the business sector in town.
Registration fees for the upcoming season are: $125 for adults and $50 for juniors (up from $35) in 2000.
Draws this season are being held on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. This year’s Commercial Bonspiel is slated for Jan. 25 to
27. The Ladies Bonspiel, meanwhile, runs Feb. 22 to 24, while the Closing Bonspiel is March 29 to 31. There is no official word on whether or not a Men’s Bonspiel will take place.
For more information
For more information on the McLennan Curling Club’s registrations night, contact L’Heureux after 6 p.m. at 324-3052.


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