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Covid Wipes Out Club Reserves - Club Fees Likely to Rise

Saturday Feb 20 2021
by Resby Coutts, Chart - FRCC

The Covid pandemic has not only wiped out a curling season but has wiped out the capital reserve fund of at least one Manitoba curling club. It is very likely the experience of the Fort Rouge Curling Club is being shared by other clubs across the province and country.

I think Manitoba curlers should expect to pay increased fees next fall as volunteer Board members face the challenge in the months ahead of figuring out how to re-bound from this year’s effect.

An FRCC newsletter has advised members that going into the 2020-21 season, the club had a modest reserve fund in the range of $150,000 with an expectation it could increase by about $25,000 with good management during the season.

The reserve was targeted for a pair of critical capital improvements including an ice plant condenser and new brine pump/motor assembly estimated to cost about $100,000. These investments are typical of the challenges facing most curling clubs.

The newsletter reports the reserve fund has been wiped out by the combination of no café/lounge revenue and fixed costs for the lost season. In fact, with the facility now closed for the season, FRCC is likely to be in a cash-negative position to begin the next fiscal year. 

The newsletter outlines plans still being finalized for reimbursement of curling fees including the option of curlers donating the money already spent for 2020-21 fees to the club. Appropriately the club newsletter stops short of promoting these donations, recognizing no doubt that curlers have been financially impacted by the pandemic (as have everyone).

I don’t mind taking that step! I encourage every curler who possibly can to donate fees eligible for reimbursement back to their curling club.

I don’t think it an over-statement to say it is a matter of survival for some clubs. At a minimum, I project the possibility of some significant fee increases for next season in at least some clubs and maybe those donations this spring can help our club volunteers and managers from having to make crisis-level decisions as they look forward to next season.

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