December 2011: The Continuing National Curling Academy Saga
I am as big a curling enthusiast as any in Scotland. But frankly I'm sick and tired of the National Curling Academy saga that has dragged on now for ten years. The latest 'update' from the Kinross Curling Trust has just been issued (see here). What saddens me is that there's no longer anything 'national' about the project. All the things that would have made the rink a venue, of which all of Scotland would have been proud, have been stripped away. What the directors of the Trust are trying to do now is find a way to have a very nice rink on a prestigious site in the town to ensure the future of curling in Kinross. Good luck to them.
Debentures are the latest idea at £1000 each! Bob Tait says, “a few members have approached me offering to contribute.” With a £1,500,000 shortfall in funding, my arithmetic says that 1,500 people would need to contribute £1000 each. I believe this number exceeds the total who curl regularly at Kinross. There are 336 founder members of the Kinross Curling Trust.
I would like to think that there are lots of curlers out there with £1000 burning a hole in their pockets. I fear not. Everyone is telling me, as if I didn't know, money is tight these days. However, if you do have a tenner to go to a 'good cause' then there is always the Donate Button on this blog. Thank you in anticipation! Times are tough.
The Royal Club has taken the unusual step of issuing a 'position paper' which seeks 'to give some clarity on its position over the NCA'. This is an interesting document (see here), and I hope you will read it and form your own opinion. One issue stands out for me. Apparently someone in the Royal Club Board had 'promised' £200,000 to the Trust to help fund the museum element of the original Kinross plans, this sum coming from the sale of Charles Lees's painting. Those involved in the Royal Club at the time always denied that a decision had been made to sell the Grand Match painting without consultation with the membership. I suggested in the Scottish Curler that this was not the case, and, had a few committed members interested in the sport's history not come out with their views in support of keeping the asset, the painting would have been sold long ago. Fortunately it wasn't. I wonder if hidden somewhere in some old Board minutes the true story waits to be uncovered.
Of course, the new regime at Carnie House seems committed to saving the painting and having it restored. But fundraising to achieve this seems to have stalled, and the amount raised is far from target. In these days of financial strain I worry about ALL the Royal Club's assets!
The new plans for Kinross don't include the Royal Club's offices and museum space. Instead, our governing body has decided it might be a good idea to purchase a redundant building on the Kinross main street. Actually, this may not be a bad idea, although I suspect that not all would approve of Kinross as the best place to have our headquarters. It could well be seen as a good use of the old County Buildings, although currently the potential marketing and sale of the property is on hold, if this article in The Courier is to be believed. At least the Royal Club's thoughts about a move from Cairnie House are out in the open, and perhaps a debate might be stimulated. The current premises are inadequate, there is little doubt about that. In my own opinion, without having seen inside, the County Buildings could make a prestige headquarters for the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, and I am assured that there would indeed be some space within the building to showcase the sport's heritage, with much of the memorabilia currently in the care of the Royal Club and of the Royal Club Trust, on show for all to see.