Special Update on Ice Conditions

Email message below was distributed by the VCC President on Feb. 16...

Many members have noticed that our Club’s ice situation seems to be worse than in the past, and you would be correct if you thought so. You should, however, also know that our Club’s staff have been working extremely hard since December to try to mitigate the problems.

I have outlined below a summary of what the issue is and the steps that the club has been taking to rectify the situation. The Board has been monitoring the state of affairs and we have sought external advice. Over the past month, as the ice has deteriorated, members have been growing increasingly frustrated. Any member with an issue regarding the ice is free to contact me directly at president@vancouvercurlingclub.com.

BACKGROUND

The VCC lives in a building that is over 60 years old so we have wooden beams and a sand base floor that are regularly affected by the water table situation underneath our structure. The Club also has an ice permafrost ball that has built up over many years under the Club’s brine lines, and this permafrost ball has caused substantial degradation in the base insulation underneath our sand floor. This means that every minor change in the water table levels is now translated directly to our ice surface. In addition, we have also had a couple of minor plant equipment issues over the past few weeks that have affected the ice.

POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

If the Club was not fortunate to be moving to a new facility, different steps would have been taken a few years ago. However, past and present directors on the Club’s Board have tried to minimize major expenditures for our current facility as we will be vacating the building this summer. So we have made some changes to our ice shed over the past couple of years to help address the issues above but, beyond, completely removing our entire floor structure (i.e., insulation, sand, etc), there is no way to avoid the situation we are in.

Since a complete overhaul could not be done over the past few years, the Club has been reaching out and had regular communications with Curl BC, the Canadian Curling Association and a number of the country’s top ice makers over the past couple of months to seek potential solutions to our situation.

Many ideas have been given to us and we have been trying everything that’s been suggested: major full-floor burns and subsequent floods, strategic shaving of the heaves, laser-measuring the bumps in the ice to accurately cut down the tops of the mounds, deliberate floods around problem areas, adjusting pebble heads for different parts of the sheets, half-sheet floods, and more.

MOVING FORWARD

As the number of complaints continues to escalate and our ice surface is ravaged by the water table underneath, the Club’s board and staff are continuing to do everything that we can. To that end, our league reps are currently being consulted regarding one final solution: a full-stop of curling for a few days so that as close to a “starting over” full surface deep burn and flood can be completed. The external feedback the Club has received indicates that this solution may be enough to make the final 5-6 weeks of league, playoff and bonspiel curling more enjoyable for everyone.

In closing, the Club’s Directors would like to take a moment to thank Chris, Don, Dane and Sarah for everything they have been doing to help solve our ice issues. They are extremely frustrated that the solutions we've been given are not working as well as hoped but they continue to work hard to provide the best product they can given our unique situation.

Regards,
Jen Lucas, President