Windsor council sends decision to cancel curling back to Roseland board
WINDSOR, ONT. -- A month after the curling season at Roseland was cancelled by its board — Windsor’s council is asking it to reconsider.
Council voted 6-5 Monday to have the five-person board revisit the decision to cancel curling due to concerns about COVID-19 transmission.
Ward 10 councillor Jim Morrison also included in the special motion that city council supports the resumption of the season.
This, after dozens of curlers rallied in recent weeks to save the season for roughly 400 curlers.
They argue the sport can be played safely — citing examples of local curling clubs staying open, using a return-to-play guideline — as well as other indoor sports leagues like hockey also resuming gameplay.
“We brought a lot of information to the public and we think we’ve got a wonderful case for changing their minds,” says curling club member, Andrew Kuntz. “We’re willing to work with the board and we’ll do whatever is required, just give us the chance to get back on the ice.”
But Kuntz argues curlers were continually rebuffed by Roseland board chair, Fred Francis. “He would consistently say no, the decision’s been made, it’s a health and safety decision and we’re going to err on the side of caution.”
The Roseland board next meets on Oct. 30, and must either confirm or change its decision by that date. The board has the final say on the fate of the season, regardless of council’s motion.
Francis says he stands by the decision to cancel — citing public health issues.
“I’m 100 per cent steadfast that the decision we made was the right decision. If anything, I’m more confident it was the right decision a month later seeing where the COVID numbers are in Ontario now than they were before.”
Francis points to the fact that public events like Bright Lights and college, university and high school sports have all been cancelled since the board decision was made.
He adds that the board must also consider things outside of public safety, such as operating a balanced budget.
“Imagine running a business when you’re going to take on all these up-front costs but you don’t know that your business operation is going to be interrupted,” Francis says.
The Ward 1 councillor adds its strange that council has taken a stand on the issue when the five-person board, appointed by council, already made an informed decision.
“Asking for a report from the board is standard practice, so you would know you have all the information,” says Francis. “To go that one step further is a bit of an overreach based on how the city sets up the boards, agencies and committees.”
“Our responsibility is to run Roseland with a responsibility to provide a service and to be as profitable as possible for the city taxpayer and I believe that’s what the board does,” he says.
“If city council doesn’t want to have a board, then fine, dissolve the board and run Roseland Golf and Curling under the Parks and Recreation department. If you’re not willing to make that motion, then you have to respect the set-up of the board,” says Francis.
Kuntz says council’s endorsement of the curlers’ position bodes well for getting back on the ice.
“We think that having city council, who manages who owns the Roseland club, saying they agree that the club should be open is a great sign of support,” Kuntz says. “We’re very hopeful that by Oct. 30, that we’ll get a favourable result from the board.”