The Brant Curling Club will undergo renovations

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The Brant Curling Club will be undergoing a major overhaul over the next few months.

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In addition to making improvements to the exterior of the building at 34 Morrell Street in Brantford, the club will have a new ice plant.

“The exterior of the building where the ice is located will be insulated and covered with steel siding,” said Brant Curling Club President Sean Bryan.

“It’s just a cinder block right now. This will make the ice surface much more efficient.

“We are also able to replace all the equipment in the ice plant. There will be a new compressor, a new cooler and a new rear tower. This will extend the life of the building by at least 50 years.

The renovations are made possible by the club being awarded a grant from the Capital Component of the Community Development Fund through the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The grant allows non-profit organizations to repair, renovate or upgrade existing sports and recreation facilities.

The minimum that selected organizations will receive is $10,000 and the maximum is $500,000. The BCC receives $499,000.

“It’s amazing,” Bryant said of the grant. “It will cover most renovations. Basically, we are lucky enough to do the exterior of the building and the ice equipment at no cost.

“For us, this is a huge, huge opportunity.”

At the start of the season, club members were treated to a new look in the ice shed with the walls painted blue, light gray and white to match a rebranding that was made.

But the latest renovations will be much bigger.

Bryant said the club has a capital improvement committee that reviews short-term and long-term projections of what needs to be done and there is also a grants committee that seeks the funds to complete those projects.

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“Our volunteers knocked this one out of the park,” Bryant said. “They did a lot of legwork to make sure it was successful.”

Many of the province’s curling clubs are aging and forced to fundraise on their own to repair buildings and replace ice equipment, Bryant said.

BCC’s ice making equipment is almost 50 years old. Replacing the compressor, condenser, chiller, dehumidifier, brine pump and condenser pump at the same time would have been impossible without the grant, Bryant said.

“Having the ability to do it all at once is amazing,” he said.

With older equipment and a lack of insulation for the building, spring and fall make it harder for the ice maker to work because humidity can quickly change the condition of the ice. It is also not energy efficient to have to change the temperature of the building so dramatically during these times.

Bryant said he hoped the renovations would attract more members to the club. There are currently about 300 members, roughly the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began, he said.

Work on the exterior of the building will begin soon and replacement of ice equipment will begin once the season is over.

Bryant said he expects the work to be completed by September.

During the warmer months, the club is also available for rental – the United Way warehouse sale will be held there in May. Bryant said the work shouldn’t disrupt those rentals.

Bryant said he believes the renovations will put the club on the right track to be strong for years to come.

“I think we’ve turned the corner,” he said.

“Coming out of COVID, we didn’t know what to expect, but this year has been really positive for us.”

Visit www.brantcurlingclub.ca for more information.

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