Changing of the stones
Norfolk denies Simcoe Curling Club’s $ 30,000 grant request
As far as the Simcoe Curling Club is concerned, it was worth a shot.
The club went big last year when Norfolk County called applications for its annual grant program for non- profit groups.
The 64 stones at the club were purchased in 1955 and have finally worn out. It will cost $ 40,000 to replace them. So, the club, which was founded in 1953, asked the county for $ 30,000.
The application didn’t get past Norfolk’s tourism and economic development advisory committee, the group that vets applications on behalf of council.
Norfolk council approved the advisory committee’s recommendations without changes Tuesday, so the curling club will have to find the money somewhere else.
The club is fine with that. It costs nothing to ask, and there are other ways of raising the money.
“Over the years, the stones start to wear out,” says Dave Mcbride of Waterford, a past president of the Simcoe club and a member of the executive for the past 20 years.
“If they wear unevenly, they will react improperly or poorly. You hear it sometimes on television when they refer to ` dead stones.’”
The granite stones have a thin rim on the bottom that glides with minimal friction over the pebbled ice. The stones are symmetrical, so they were flipped in 1979 to take advantage of the fresh rim on top when the bottoms wore thin.
Fresh stones strike each other with minimal surface contact like billiard balls. Over time, striking surfaces will flatten. When that happens, stones start doing unexpected things in the house.
In 2001, the stones in Simcoe were taken for reconditioning to Canada Curling Stone in London. Gliding rims were reground and the club got another 18 years out of them.
However, stones can only be reconditioned so often before they no longer qualify for tournament play.
Regulation stones in Ontario must weigh between 38 and 42 pounds. Below that and the Ontario Curling Association will not sanction an event.
The old stones in Simcoe have seen a lot of service but they are not done yet. Curling exploded in popularity in the United States last year following the American men’s team gold medal victory at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Mcbride says rinks south of the border are popping up all over and there is high demand for stones. Canada Curling Stone has agreed to take the Simcoe rocks as a trade- in on the new set. They will be cleaned and sold to a U. S. rink.
Canada Curling Stone will grind the Simcoe club a new set of rocks from giant slabs of granite from Wales. The slabs arrive at the factory measuring 16 inches wide, 14 inches deep and 10 feet long. The new rocks will be ready for action at the start of the 2019- 20 curling season.
Other groups whose grant requests were denied include Crime Stoppers of Haldimand and Norfolk ($ 5,000), Haldimand-Norfolk Glow ($ 5,000) and the Artist’s Workshop in Simcoe ($ 3,500).
Long Point Country Bayfest in Port Rowan applied for $ 5,000 but instead received the standard $ 2,000 grant allotted to itself, Delhi Fallfest, the North Walsingham Agricultural Society ( Langton Fair) and the Charlotteville Agricultural Society ( Donnybrook Fair in Walsh).
Norfolk council also approved its annual allotment of $ 500 bursaries to Norfolk’s five high schools for graduates pursuing post- secondary studies in municipal or public administration, the skilled trades, health services or agriculture.
Other approved grant recipients for 2019 include the Capitol Performance Group in Delhi ($ 3,500), the Carillon Belles Simcoe Chorus ($ 1,000), Church Out Serving ($ 3,000), the BrantHaldimand- Norfolk Legal Clinic ($ 3,000), the Norfolk Friends of the Library ($ 2,000), Church Out Serving’s Riversyde 83 facility in Simcoe ($ 2,000), Lasalette Rural Roots ($ 1,000), the Old Town Hall Association in Waterford ($ 3,000), the Port Dover Lioness Club ($ 1,000), the Port Dover Power and Sail Squadron ($ 1,500), the Port Rowan- South Walsingham Heritage Association ($ 2,500), the Quance Dam Lighting Committee in Delhi ($ 4,000), Simcoe Christmas Panorama ($ 3,500), Simcoe Little Theatre ($ 1,000), the South Coast Cultural Society ($ 3,000), Waterford Pumpkinfest ($ 3,000) and the Tricenturena Skating Club in Waterford ($ 5,000)
Norfolk council also approved a grant to the Tillsonburg and District Multi- Service Centre in recognition that many residents in west Norfolk look to Tillsonburg for their shopping and recreational needs.
Norfolk’s grant policy allots a pool of money each year of $ 1 per county resident, or about $ 64,000. The 2019 grants will receive final approval later this month when Norfolk council ratifies its 2019 levy- supported operating budget.
The 64 curling stones at the Simcoe Curling Club are 64 years old and due for replacement. The club applied for a county grant but was turned down. Other groups were more fortunate. The Simcoe club is a busy one. On Wednesday, it played host to a seniors invitational bonspiel that featured teams from Simcoe and five other communities. Showing how it’s done is Simcoe curler Peter Wheatley, centre. He’s flanked at left by teammate Denis Grasis of Port Dover and teammate Jim Stephens of Simcoe.