Hey VCC members –
Thank you so much for your patience while we work on re-opening. There has been a lot of work, in a changing environment. Here’s an update on where we are.
We plan to reopen January 3, 2021 – if we can. We think we can.
There are two main hurdles we have to overcome.
First, we need permission from Hillcrest Centre/Vancouver Parks Board. Under our operating agreement with the Parks Board, given the provincial state of emergency, we are required to get Hillcrest Centre’s approval to re-open. This means we have to satisfy them that our reopening/safety plans pass muster. That’s been quite an effort. Our general manager has worked diligently and well on it. We think we are close to getting that approval. We hope to know by mid-November.
Some members have suggested we could have reopen sooner. I’m afraid that’s not true. But if anyone has any questions about this process, please let me know.
Second, we need our members to commit to return: not enough curlers = not enough revenue = no season. We have been working with your league reps on that. Look to receive soon updated information from the reps.
Your membership fees and the fees charged to the leagues for use of ice are not going to increase. The curling season will be 17 weeks from the first week of January onward. We will ask members to pay a “surcharge” that will be used to pay for or at least defray most of the costs of addressing COVID-19 related expenditures we must put in place to satisfy the Parks Board and do our best to keep our members safe. This will include both up front preparation costs ahead of the season and ongoing operating costs during the season. Exactly how much that surcharge will be is being fine-tuned now; we’ll let you know through your reps.
The commitment we’re seeking from members is that by November 1st or earlier you sign up to curl in your league(s) and tender payment to your league rep(s). We’d keep your membership fees but not collect/refund the other fees if there is no season. If we start a season and then have to stop, we’d keep the surcharge and consider refunding part of the league fees; what we refund might depend on when we stop. But we hope that won’t happen.
We ask members who won’t curl to still pay membership fees – after all, this is your club, and if you want it to survive, you can help by doing that.
So we expect to know by mid-November if we are “Go” to start curling again in January.
One thing that members have wondered is what curling will look like. The most significant points can be stated pretty simply.
First, we are currently limited to 50 people in the ice shed. Allowing for 2 ice technicians, this means a limit of 48 curlers in the shed. Unless these limits (set by the province) change, we’ll only be able to use 6 sheets per draw (6 sheets x 8 curlers per sheet = 48 curlers). (There has been talk of using 8 sheets with 6 curlers per sheet, which is still 48 curlers, but we aren’t planning for or recommending that.)
There will be in place social distancing and COVID transmission prevention protocols that will be similar to what you experience every day in other places. We have some curling specific guidelines that we’ll publish in detail later. For instance, masks will be required as much as possible, but this excludes sweeping (and only one sweeper per rock will be allowed).
We expect members will adapt to the new regimen.
With the loss of two sheets per draw and at most a shortened curling season, ice times are limited and priority will be given to member run leagues. No bonspiels, rentals, clinics are anticipated.
We are cautiously optimistic we will re-open as planned, and we hope to see you back on the ice in the New Year. Again, thank you for your patience as we work on having a healthy curling season in 2021.
Jim Carpick, President