Roseland on Thin-Ice with Windsor's Curling Community
Curlers raised their brooms in defiance outside the Roseland Golf and Curling Club in Windsor, Ont. over the weekend.
Around 50 supporters staged a protest in the parking lot at 455 Kennedy Dr. W. Saturday after a recent decision by Roseland's board of directors to cancel the season.
Board Chair Fred Francis says the decision was made out of "an abundance of caution" during the COVID-19 pandemic and with the flu season on the horizon.
Andrew Kuntz says more than 400 curlers use the facility and that doesn't include those who play outside of organized leagues.
The idea of converting one of the city's vacant rinks into a sheet for play has been thrown forward at city council, but Kuntz doesn't understand why Roseland isn't an option.
"A curling sheet of ice is 144-ft long and under those guidelines there would actually only be three people in the act of curling at any one time," he says. "It would be very easy to honour social-distancing."
The ice for curling requires a specific texture or "pebbling" for play. Even if the city did provide a rink, Kuntz says it will be difficult to replicate the space at Roseland.
"It's a six sheet facility that we would even consider dropping down to only four sheets," says Kuntz. "The guidelines from Curling Canada talk about specifics on how to clean the rocks, how to clean the equipment, where to actually stand on the ice."
He says curling can be played just as safely as team sports like baseball and hockey that have already resumed.
"People are playing other sports. We all understand how to behave in Stage Three," he says. "We all respect the mask wearing and social-distancing and we think we could do it in curling. We just want the opportunity."
Roseland is owned and operated by the City of Windsor, but Francis says the board has the final word on the issue.
A report on possible alternative options is expected to come back to city council in mid-October — the same time the curling season usually gets underway.