Curling facilities will leave Roseland. But where the sport will move is still to be decided

Nearly a dozen delegates speaking to Windsor city council on Tuesday night opposed moving curling away from Roseland Golf and Curling Club to another ice pad in the city.

Council did just that, but stopped shy of specifying to which rink curling would move. Instead, they deferred that decision to a future meeting. 

“We see the potential here for bonspiels and curling events all through the City of Windsor,” said Ward 8 Coun. Gary Kaschak, who made the motion, adding he wanted more consultation. 

“Let’s take a look and maybe Grenon is not the way to go.”

Council also directed administration to see if there is a private company interested in offering curling in the city. 

A report up for consideration at council Tuesday night gave councillors three options for the future of curling at Roseland. 

Two options that would see Roseland renovated and operational in some capacity —either with a new curling pad, a complete renovation or a new curling pad in the same place — would cost upwards of $8 million, staff said in their report. 

A third option — the one recommended by staff and ultimately adopted in part by council —said that moving curling to an existing ice pad in the city, namely the WFCU Centre’s Grenon ice pad, would cost less than $550,000. 

Nearly a dozen people spoke to council on the issue, including representatives from the curling, hockey and figure skating communities. Most raised objections about available ice time and the impact on youth programs. 

Ward 9 Coun. Kieran McKenzie said the Roseland curling facility itself posed a risk to the future of curling in the city. 

“The building at Roseland is falling apart. It is inefficient and it is costly,” he said, voicing his support for the motion. 

“We’re at that inflection point where one of the big decisions needs to be made … We prioritize youth sports and youth programs. Second, continuing to deliver curling as a service in the community, also top priority. 

“Maybe not in the location everyone would optimally like, but it is a priority.”

Matthew D’Asti, vice-president of Riverside Skating Club told council moving the club from its home base at the Grenon ice pad could mean the end of the club. 

“I think things are really still up in the air,” D’Asti said following the meeting. 
“We’re going to be waiting for direction from council. It sounds like they’re going to be exploring other rinks, other options, but we’re still feeling in jeopardy.

Matthew D’Asti is the vice-president of the Riverside Skating Club. He said he feels the future of the club’s ice at the Grenon rink is still in jeopardy after Tuesday’s council decision. (Dax Melmer/CBC)

“Things seem to be rushed and I really think that the individual users like Riverside Skating Club should have been consulted.”

Many of the delegations asked for council not to move curling, or to defer a decision until more consultation and costing estimates could be done. 

In the wake of the decision, Sun Parlour Women’s Hockey Association president Francine Stadler, among the delegates Tuesday, said she was “disappointed.”

“I think they’ve just camouflaged the decision and they’ll come back with most likely the same venue because it’s one of the nicer venues in the city,” Stadler said

But the decision was not unanimously supported. While Ward 2 Coun. Fabio Constante was absent, Ward 1 Coun. Fred Francis and Ward 10 Coun. Jim Morrison voted against the motion. 

Windsor Morning7:52Curling ice

The City of Windsor seems to favour moving curling from Roseland to the W-F-C-U Centre. It’s offering to make one of the rinks there that’s currently home to hockey and figure skating a dedicated, curling-only space. It’s still not enough to satisfy much of the curling crowd.

Francis said he supported keeping Roseland in its current location as two separate facilities for curling and golf clubhouse, which he said would help minimize bills during the off seasons for each sport. 

“Will it cost more? Absolutely. But we don’t even know how much more it will cost,” Francis said. 

Francis, a former chair of the Roseland board and the ward councillor for the area, said he was concerned that if Roseland were demolished, the city would soon see condominiums or a housing development in its place. 

“Mark my words, wait until this comes back and we have housing developments in places that used to have curling,” he said. 

Ice users concerned about the availability of ice 

Staff said almost 800 people participated in consultations with the city ahead of the decision, about 40 per cent of whom said they played at least once a week. 

Ice users last month said they were concerned with the proposal, noting its potential impact on other users in the city, including minor hockey. 

Peiling Huang, president of the Riverside Skating Club, said the Grenon pad at the WFCU is their “home ice.”

“So where are all the users going to go? And then with all the youth that we are taking at this moment … in the future, where are they going to skate on the ice?”

Peiling Huang is the president for the Riverside Skating Club in Windsor, Ont.
Peiling Huang is the president for the Riverside Skating Club in Windsor, Ont. (Peiling Huang)

Huang said the skating club serves nearly 300 skaters from ages 3 to 20 and uses about 15 hours of “prime time” (after 5pm) ice per week. 

Staff told delegates and councillors on Tuesday the priority when moving users would be first to youth sports, whom several of the delegates noted couldn’t play during some of the currently available ice time — late at night and during the day. 

Staff also said the board at the Grenon ice pad, which were specially built to accommodate sledge hockey, could be moved to another rink. 

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