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Yarmouth Curling Club's season start on hold due to equipment replacement

Rick Allwright in an image from a past season at the Yarmouth Curling Club. CARLA ALLEN PHOTO
Rick Allwright in an image from a past season at the Yarmouth Curling Club. CARLA ALLEN PHOTO - Carla Allen

YARMOUTH, N.S. – Under normal circumstances, the Yarmouth curling season would have started around the end of October, but this has not been a normal year and it could be Christmas or so before Yarmouth curlers can play on their home ice, says a spokesman for the Yarmouth Curling Club.

Problems with major pieces of equipment have pushed back the opening of the club’s 2017-18 season. First, the compressor needed to be replaced. That issue was addressed, but then it was the chiller.

“That now needs to be replaced,” said Rick Allwright, the Yarmouth Curling Association’s past president. “We can’t start making ice without that. We’ve ordered the part and we’re waiting to get it in hand, which could be, at a minimum, four weeks. It could even be a little longer than that.”

Allwright was speaking about the curling club in a Nov. 14 interview, saying, “By the time we get this equipment in and the ice made, it’ll be around Christmas.”

The chiller will cost about $43,000. The combined estimated cost of addressing both the compressor and chiller will be around $86,000, Allwright said.

The club has approached the three local municipal units for financial support and has had positive responses from the Town of Yarmouth and Municipality of Argyle. (The Municipality of Yarmouth had yet to respond as of Nov. 14.)

The Yarmouth club had about 120 members last year. As for this season, “We’re probably expecting about the same,” Allwright said. “There won’t be too much difference.”

Although it remains to be seen, he doesn’t think the delayed season opening will have much of an impact on the club’s numbers. He said the club also is looking to go later into the spring in order to try to make up for the time it loses at the front end of the season.

He said the Yarmouth club’s younger curlers in particular were itching to get on the ice.

“We’ve made a bit of a partnership with the Clare Curling Club,” he said, “so that our juniors can go curl there with their juniors so that they can get the on-ice experience.”

Ultimately, the Yarmouth club hopes to be able to relocate to the Mariners Centre as part of a proposed expansion there, but Allwright acknowledges this is a longer-term proposition. For now, he said, the curling club is trying to make the best of its existing facility.

“We have to make the repairs in order to keep curling in Yarmouth,” he said. “That’s the reality of it.”

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