Williams Lake Curling Club expands reach with accessible elevator – Williams Lake Tribune

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A new accessible lift at Williams Lake Curling Club has already resulted in a more inclusive event. A celebration of life at the club included a guest in a wheelchair.

Manager Ken Hall said the lift will improve the club’s rental capacity and also open up the possibility of accessible curling.

“We asked Allison Duddy, one of the top wheelchair curlers in Canada and Quesnel, to do an accessibility assessment for us,” Hall told the Tribune, noting that having the elevator in the building makes the mirror and the lounge accessible. “It has three stops and that’s why there is a door on each side.”

After the 2017 wildfires, the club received rental money to host out-of-town fire departments at the site.

This part of the change allowed the club to pursue grant opportunities for the lift, which took around two years to develop a plan for its appearance and location.

The club was successful in receiving $100,000 from the federal government through the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada and an additional $47,000 from the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

In July, the club received its license for the lift.

Registration for the curling season will open September 5, with the first curling beginning immediately after Thanksgiving.

“We have the fall fair here, so we can’t start putting the ice on until everything is cleaned up. Then we’ll start freshening up the building, washing the floors and things like that,” Hall said.

It takes a full month to put the ice on, he added.

Pointing to tarps at the end of the rink, he explained how traditionally the ice had to be painted white and then all the circles were painted afterwards.

Now they use large sheets of fiberglass that are unrolled. They are white with all the circles and lines already on them.

“The boys are getting pretty good at it. They can deploy everything and set it up in a matter of hours,” Hall said. “You start with ice, lay the sheets down, then add more ice. It only goes up a little each time. »

When the rink opens, there’s just a bit of ice and it builds up over the season, slowly but surely, he explained.

Hall buckled down and became manager in 2019 at the same time Mike Pedersen was named chairman.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the club lost curling’s second season when it closed Dec. 1, Pedersen said.

“We reimbursed people, but we also asked them if they wanted to contribute to the club and help us during the period when we were not making any income.

About 40% of club members did not accept their refund and this money has really helped the club during this time.

“That’s the kind of buy-in we have,” Pedersen said.

Last year, the club had 167 paid memberships. A dedication ceremony for the new lift is planned for the start of the curling season.


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