Message from the President
We have already started to experience equipment failure, such as the dehumidifier last season. There are lots of items in the ice plant that need replacing, but clear priorities today are the chiller, condenser, roof, floor, compressor, air conditioning, and heating. If you are interested in learning more about these pieces of machinery, why they are necessary, and what needs to happen to ensure their performance, please click here for descriptions prepared jointly by Paul Dixon, our General Manager, and Cody Hall, our Head Icemaker.
We are at a fork in the road, presented with two ways to move forward:
- Continue rolling loaded dice on the future of the club, hoping that our antiquated machinery won’t fail.
- Replace this essential machinery to keep curling alive and well at the VCC for decades to come.
Needless to say, option one is hardly an option at all. We need to replace our equipment. But we can’t afford to do so at this time. Replacing just one major item would leave us without a financial cushion. That’s why we need to change our financial philosophy and make a concerted effort to improve our bottom line.
The VCC has always strived to provide an affordable curling experience for our members. That can’t change, but I am sorry to say that dues and fees do need to increase as part of the solution. If you apply the increase to dues on a per-game basis, curlers will be paying only $2-$3 more per game (with the exception of the Super League, which will be paying $3.50 more per game). Dollar-for-dollar, curling will remain one of the most affordable activities available in Victoria. I therefore encourage you to think of this fee increase as a change from curling being a bargain to being merely affordable and fairly priced. I know this message may be coming at a difficult time – we are all experiencing the effects of inflation on the cost of living – but the VCC is experiencing these same effects, and the numbers confronting us are inescapable.
Increasing the cost to curl won’t be enough to overcome the challenges we face. The VCC Board and Management will redouble our recent efforts to increase revenue from facility rentals, grants, sponsorship, fundraising, event hosting, upgrading our liquor licence, and other means. But in addition to these important efforts, we as a community need to change how we think about what we need to contribute to the club for it to survive and thrive.
There are at least four ways you as an individual can help:
- Recruitment. I know most of you already do this, but please encourage your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and neighbours to try curling and join the club. The more curlers we have in our ranks, the less the financial burden will need to be on each of us. Beyond generally encouraging people to curl, I invite you to consider splitting up your existing four-person teams into two teams of two, with each new team responsible for recruiting two new curlers. I can personally attest to how rewarding it is to introduce new players onto your team and help them grow as curlers. You won’t regret it and the club will benefit immeasurably.
- Ice rentals. Family reunions, corporate teambuilding sessions, birthday parties in the lounge…the club makes for an excellent venue for many different kinds of events. Please consider promoting curling at the VCC as an event venue within your professional and social circles.
- Bar and Café Patronage. The VCC is a community – your community – a place for fellow curlers to congregate and unwind. I can’t be the only one who starts whistling the theme song to Cheers whenever I walk up to the lounge! The bar won’t be regularly open until this curling season starts, but Mungo Sue’s remains open year-round. Please consider patronizing the café and the bar even if it’s not your regular day/time to curl.
- Donations. We have a series of critical yet costly items to repair or replace. This summer, to begin the process, the Board has approved repairs to our dehumidification system. Without this repair we would not be able to curl this season, so the decision was an obvious one – but now we need to recoup our costs for this work. An anonymous member of the curling community has offered to match any donations up to $10,000 toward cost recovery for the dehumidifier project, so your money will go twice as far if you donate now! Please consider donating to the VCC and please give if you can. To discuss details, please contact the office, or click here to get directions on how to donate through the BC Amateur Sport Fund which will provide you with a charitable donation receipt for tax purposes. The Club receives 95% of your donation. Finally, on as morbid and awkward an appeal as I could possibly leave you with, if you haven’t already, please consider including the VCC as a beneficiary in your will. The notion of my legacy supporting the future of curling at the VCC is one that has great appeal for me personally and I plan to update my will accordingly. If you, like me, have updating your will on your list of things-to-do, I invite you to include support for the VCC in your wishes.
Thank you for your attention and thank you in advance for your help, whatever that might look like. Making the VCC financially sustainable will be a long-term community initiative, and we have to start that initiative now. At the end of the day, it will be up to us – all of us – to decide whether and how to invest in our future. Please consider being a part of this shift toward financial and operational sustainability by taking action in one or more of the ways listed above. Together, we can solve this problem. How will you be part of the solution?
Andrew Komlodi, President of the Victoria Curling Club
P.S. If you want to learn more about our current situation and our plans to improve it, and want to weigh in with ideas of your own about how we can become more financially sustainable, you are invited to one of two community workshops at the VCC lounge on September 7th at 7:00PM and September 13th at 5:30PM. If you would like to attend, please register here. We’re in this together and I look forward to hearing your ideas and incorporating them into our plans moving forward.