by Harit Joshi —

In this age of e-gaming and e-sports, if there is any place that promotes ample room for playing on the field, then Merritt is that destination.With plenty of arena for all sports, the Merritt Curling Centre (MCC) has created a special place among the community.

Completely run by its strength of volunteers, the MCC proudly boasts ‘surviving’ on the hard work of its volunteers.

For many years, the curling rink has been facing issues with the roof. Although it has been repaired several times to fix the leaks, there was still no end to their woes. However, a permanent solution is finally in place, with the roofing all set to be replaced after grants to the tune of $350,000. Jerry Sanders, one of the MCC volunteers for building maintenance, is thrilled to bits as work is all set to start soon.

“It’s been a big moment for us. We were facing problems with the roof for many years now and we tried everything to fix those leaks, but it just wasn’t enough. It reached a stage where we had to think of a permanent solution because the leaks had started affecting our structure as well with moisture on the walls,” Sanders told the Merritt Herald.

“We started applying for grants, appealed to several sponsors and finally we now have the requisite amount in place to go ahead with the new roof. It wouldn’t have been possible without the contribution of all our team of volunteers and our well wishers.”

Going from curling on natural ice in 1906, the curling rink and arena was established in 1914. Then, in 1959, a new curling rink was opened with two sheets of artificial ice alongside the natural sheets of ice. The improvements kept happening steadily as the sport grew in stature.

Sanders took to volunteering while actively participating in curling events. 

“I realized that the MCC needed support to be able to sustain itself in the future,” said Sanders, speaking about the club’s future with pride in his voice.

“I felt if I can contribute in some way, I would be pleased with that effort. I was on several committees before I took to this (building maintenance committee along with Paul Montgomery and Bob Taylor). We started working on the budgeting and then applying for grants from all possible avenues. This took some years, and I am very pleased that the moment has finally arrived for the new roofing to be in place. Once this happens, I am sure the structure will remain intact for another 100 years, probably.”

The role of the building maintenance committee is to negotiate ice contract, work closely with ice technicians, review and maintain ice plant every season, conduct furnace maintenance, and a plethora of other tasks vital to the MCC’s survival.

Sanders stressed on the importance of volunteering. “It is an excellent form of giving back to society. It also helps keep the society vibrant and alive. There is a sense of belonging and nurturing,” he concluded.