The Richmond Review, Wednesday, August 05, 1981

by Graeme Elliott

I knew land prices in Richmond were falling, but I did not know how fast until I read in last week's Review that the current rate for leasing municipal land is one dollar a year for 2-1/2 acres.
That is the price the Richmond Winter Club is paying the municipality for land adjacent to Lansdowne Shopping Centre. In return for the cheap rent, the club merely has to build a curling rink, operate it for 30 years, and then turn it over to the municipality.
The hard part of the bargain will be for the club to stay interested in curling for 30 years. I find it difficult to stay interested in curling for longer than 30 minutes at a time, but those addicted to the game tell me it is an intoxicating sport. They claim this has nothing to do with the lounge that is a fixture in those facilities.
Over that period of 30 years, the municipality will have special privileges at the rink. The Review story did not spell out what those special privileges are, but presumably members of council will not have to wait
their turn for a clear sheet of ice.
The nine members of council are enough to form two rinks, with a spare left over in case somebody has to attend to municipal business and misses a game. If everyone shows up, the extra person could fetch drinks and food, or phone in votes to the council chambers so meetings will not interfere with games.
The rinks are clear-cut.
Blair, Bennard, Kumagai, and Youngberg could form one, while the other would comprise Sandberg, Steves, Novakowski, and McMath. Percival-Smith can play on either team, as the situation demands.
The big question is whether the rink will be built in time for them to play together before the November election. After the election, council may be radially changed, and none of those who have shyly tendered their names as would-be aldermen have come out on either side of the
curling question. Time will tell.
For those interested in cashing in on the kind of land lease rates enjoyed by the curling club, knowing the favourite recreation of the majority of council may be the key. By supporting the candidate of your sport in the November campaign, you may draft a council with a bias towards your game plans.
Good coaching will do the rest.
If you and nine friends come up with an imaginative proposal for a recreational facility and can scrape together $10 among you, you may be able to lease all 25 acres of municipal land at Garry Point.
The present council does not know exactly what it wants to do with that parcel of sand, now that they have bought it, so they will welcome any suggestion along
a recreational or park theme.
If council leans towards golf when curling is in the off-season, perhaps the idea of your group developing a golf course at Garry Point would do the trick.
To preserve the unique nature of the place, you could put in putting green-only, and leave the rest as a huge sand trap. It could become an attraction for duffers who need a lot of practice on their sand game.
You could build quarters for the sandskeepers, caretakers and pros as well, solving your group's housing problems. A modest townhouse-style development would be adequate.
After 30 years the whole development could be turned over to the municipality as a retirement home for worn-out aldermen.
After 30 more years, there will be a lot of worn-out aldermen, and it may be fitting for them to retire to the battleground that caused their downfall. There they can spend their second childhood, battling over the fate of the sand pile.

Scanned from original newsprint or photocopies using OCR, Epson Perfection 2450 Photo scanner. © GE

Last updated: Sunday, 15-Feb-2009 02:21:32 EST