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Picture Butte Curling Club celebrates first season with upgrades

Posted on April 4, 2024 by Sunny South News
Sunny South News Photo Submitted by Grant Gillies. New look: Ken Johnson and Bret Oosterbroek celebrate the installation of reusable matting at the Picture Butte Curling Rink.

By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News

The Picture Butte Curling Club has wrapped up their first curling season since new reusable ice matting was installed in 2023.

Grant Gillies, a board member at the Picture Butte Curling Club said the idea came about before the pandemic. The club was able to secure sponsorship to have the matting installed in time for the 2023-2024 curling season. 

The matting, ordered through a Alberta-based business called Hack to Hack solutions, eliminates the need for curling organizations to paint the floors. In addition to the matting being a reusable investment which saves ice makers time and money in the long term, the solution also offers the alternative to needing to purchase gallons and gallons of paint annually.

The upgrades to the curling rink in Picture Butte are a step in the right direction in eliminating the environmental impacts of using large amounts of paint in the facility, and offers additional cost-savings on energy. 

“The matting replaces the need for paint, which is bad for the environment,” Gillies explained, adding, “when you put down the matting, they say it uses about half the amount of electricity to maintain the ice.” According to Hack to Hack Solutions, it isn’t uncommon for curling rinks to need upwards of 100 lbs of paint to cover a four sheet curling facility. 

“It’s also less work and less painting,” Gillies added. 

The investment, which cost the club approximately $5,500 per sheet, or around $25,000 total, to complete has an estimated cost recovery period of two years, as the rink liners are 100 per cent reusable and can be re-used season after season.

The Club secured funding through a $5,000 grant from Fortis, and sponsorship from local businesses  Witdouck Farms, Vanee Farm Centre, and Parrish & Heimbecker. 

The rink provides recreation opportunities for residents and non-residents alike. In addition to hosting open-league curling for 16 teams, the rink is also utilized by the the seniors curling league three times per week. The club hosts two bonspiels each year, bringing additional visitors and non-residents to the Town of Picture Butte. The club also provides free usage to all schools in the area.

Those interested in sponsoring a sheet are encouraged to reach out to a member of the Picture Butte Curling Club’s board of directors, or contact Grant directly to discuss sponsorship opportunities at 403-715-6914. 

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