Kinross Update

The following update, signed by Chairman Bob Tait and dated December 1, has been issued by the Kinross Curling Trust in an email to members. It's not on the website yet, so I've reproduced it here:

"A general meeting of members will take place on Tuesday, January 10, at 19.30 in the McMillan Suite, Windlestrae Hotel, Kinross. The purpose is to update members on work undertaken since September. This note provides a summary of what has happened so far.

Members may wish to read the RCCC’s recent position statement. A copy is at the footnote. The position statement has significant variations from the original specification for the competition which RCCC and Sportscotland issued in 2007. Key elements no longer feature---namely relocation of the elite coaching staff and players to an all year round facility of the highest quality, relocation of the RCCC offices and creation of a Curling Museum. The statement notes the possibility of the offices and museum moving to a separate building in Kinross.

The Trust has incurred significant costs to secure outline planning consent for the original concept and is now incurring further costs to amend the scheme to provide a modern facility to safeguard the long term future of curling in Kinross. The RCCC and its Trust has declined to contribute to these costs beyond the £30,000 paid earlier.

The amended scheme provides for 6 sheets, good sized changing facilities, a bar and cafĂ© and meeting and work rooms all on the ground floor and car parking. The estimated costs are circa £4m and the Trustees are continuing to seek these funds from a range of sources. We hope to provide further details at the meeting on 10 January. At the meeting in September a debenture scheme was suggested and since then a few members have approached me offering to contribute. Advice is being sought on the detail of such a scheme, but in outline the Trust might seek sums from members (probably in £1000 units) for a period of 10 years. Interest at a competitive rate will be offered unless the member concerned declines. The debenture will not be secured and will be repaid from the income of the Trust at the end of the 10 year period. Any member who may interested in providing this very valuable assistance (or finding out more about the scheme) should contact me. Fuller details will be provided if the Trust decides to proceed with debentures.

Roseanna Cunningham MSP recently hosted a presentation and discussion about the project at Holyrood. Five Trustees attended along with the President of the RCCC and representatives from sportscotland and the Scottish Government’s Sports Division. Only one list MSP and 2 researchers from other list MSP offices attended. It was useful initial discussion which confirmed the very tight public expenditure scene and provided a few pointers which we are pursuing. The absence of any financial contribution from Perth & Kinross Council was noted (and not for the first time) and the Trustees will again pursue the Council. The Council’s priority appears to be improvements to the Swimming Pool and the Dewars Centre where they have recently committed a total of £5m. The Council also meets any annual running cost deficits at Dewars and contributes to the Area Curling Development Officer costs: in contrast the Council has not had to put a penny into curling in Kinross. The Trustees would welcome any initiative by members to lobby Councillors to try to persuade them of the merits of our case and to seek a contribution to the construction costs. £1m from the Council along with sportscotland’s £1.5 m would mean about 60 % of the costs being met by the public sector which is still far below the levels of public funding given to new ice facilities at Aberdeen, Dumfries, North Ayrshire and Stirling.

On other matters I am delighted to advise members that the Trust will continue to help fund the Area Curling Development Officer post for a further year to March 31, 2013.

The next AGM will be held early in the New Year and it is not too early for members to be thinking about standing for the position of Trustee. There will be at least 2 vacancies for elected Trustees. The Board needs members who are passionate about curling at Kinross, who have business experience and contacts and who are prepared to volunteer time and know how to make the project happen. Any Trustee would be happy to explain more of what is involved. "