May 25th, 2024

SPC recommends support for curling club’s Scotties bid


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on May 8, 2024.

Herald file photo - Ice technicians prepare the playing surface at the Enmax Centre for the 2022 Brier. The city has hosted a number of championship curling events in recent years and the Lethbridge Curling Club now looks to put a bid in for the 2026 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council on Tuesday swept aside concerns by the City’s chief financial officer and treasurer and voted 7-1 to recommend council support a bid by the Lethbridge Curling Club to host the 2026 Scotties Tournament of Hearts here.

Councillor Jeff Carlson was absent.

The SPC, which consists of all members of city council, voted to recommend council approve the expenditure of $400,000 if the curling club in successful in securing the bid.

The national womens curling championship is scheduled to run from Jan. 23 to Feb. 1 of 2026.

The request won’t cost the City any money if the curling club fails to secure the Scotties.

No money was left in the Major Community Event Grant budget, the SPC heard, thanks to a more than $900,000 which was provided to the Lethbridge and District Exhibition as emergency funding in January.

However, $70,000 became available when the SPC voted to recommend council approve an amended request for funding for the 2025 and 2026 PlayOn! Canada Street Hockey Festival. That request meant $70,000 earmarked for this year could be re-allocated because all planned 2024 festivals were cancelled due to PlayOn! not securing federal matching funding for this year.

The other $330,000, if council approves the SPC motion, will come from the Municipal Revenue Stabilization Reserve.

Matthews told council as of the end of December, 2023, there was just under $50 million in the MRSR. Commitments, if the $330,000 was included, would amount to about $46 million, leaving the MRSR with roughly $4 million.

Mathews said that amount would be inside his comfort zone, saying he preferred to see between $13 million and $15 million in the fund.

Councillor Belinda Crowson said she couldn’t support the funding due to needed investments in the City’s water and wastewater treatment plants and the fact the area is in the middle of a drought.

Councillor Rajko Dodic said he originally considered not supporting the funding request but noted the matter wouldn’t even be an issue if not for the monies provided to the Exhibition.

Mike Mulroy, speaking for the curling club, told the SPC said “that we stand on our record” of hosting major events here.

Lethbridge previously hosted the Scotties in 1987 and also in 2007. The curling club says all the $400,000 will stay in Lethbridge and be spent at City facilities.

Other major curling events successfully hosted here include the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier, the 2019 world mens curling championships and the 2017 World Mixed Doubles and Seniors World Championships.

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