The Wilberforce Curling Club has cancelled its season due to the pandemic.

In a letter to members Sept. 11, club president Gord Fitch wrote about the decision to call off their 2020/21 season entirely, the first local club to do so.

Fitch said the executive met earlier this month and decided they could not proceed given the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

“After an extensive and exhaustive debate about the potential risks and liabilities we face as a club, it was overwhelmingly decided that we can not move forward successfully and responsibly with curling this year,” Fitch said in the letter.

Curling clubs across the province have grappled with whether to proceed this season with restrictions. The neighbouring Halliburton Curling Club and Minden Curling Club both put it to membership votes, with Haliburton deciding to go ahead and Minden deciding to cancel its season for now, with plans to re-evaluate in December.

The Wilberforce club uses a municipal facility and Fitch said between regulations, limited membership dues and increased costs, the season would be severely hampered.

Other concerns included social distancing restrictions, limited social interaction and the possibility of closing mid-season due to an infection.

“As an elected executive, it is our responsibility to look out for the best interest of our membership and the financial success of our non-profit curling club,” Fitch said.

Fitch added the club would help co-ordinate, but not sponsor, some winter events to help keep people active and in shape for next season.

Fundraiser goes ahead

Meanwhile, the club and the Wilberforce FUNRaising Group are partnering to go ahead with an annual birthday calendar fundraiser to help both of their suffering coffers.

The groups are selling the custom calendars which highlight people’s birthdays, with the proceeds split between the two.

FUNraising Group member Kathy Rogers said the pandemic has curtailed their usual fundraisers, but this was one they felt they could still do. She added though the curling club is not running, they will still need funding.

“Our people are hurting too much, we need to do this,” Rogers said. “They can’t hold curling at all – it’s going to be building the club back up again.”

The calendars are $10 each and available by contacting 705-448-1285 or 705-935- 0098.

“It’s good community fun,” Rogers said. “And all the proceeds go back into the community.”

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