Perth: Fears Scotland’s ‘curling capital’ could be left without a rink

But now concerns have been raised that the ‘curling capital’ of Scotland could be left without a rink as the Dewars Center in Perth could close later this year.

It comes after a councilor announced that the Leisure and Conference Center and Perth Leisure Pool are at risk of closure, citing rising energy costs as the main factor.

The Dewars Centre, which opened in 1990, is renowned for its state-of-the-art Olympic-size curling rink and regularly hosts national and international competitions in its eight-rink hall, which attracts players from around the world.

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Just last month the center hosted the Scottish Curling Mixed Doubles Championship, the national mixed doubles curling championship in Scotland, with winners representing Scotland at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.

It is run by Live Active Leisure, which runs sports and leisure facilities in Perth and Kinross and counts Eve Muirhead on its honorary board.

Despite having a population of less than 50,000, Perth has made a huge impact on the curling world.

Local farmer Chuck Hay led Scotland to their first ever world curling title in front of a crowd of 2,000 at Perth’s rink in 1967 before David Smith repeated the feat by leading Scotland to victory at the 1991 Men’s World Curling Championships in Winnipeg. Canada.

HeraldScotland: Dewars Center in PerthDewars Center in Perth (Image: Council of Perth & Kinross)

Muirhead then hoisted the flag for Perth on the global stage as she won every major title and amassed 11 separate golds, six silvers and four bronzes since beginning her career at the World Junior Curling Championships in 2007.

Scottish Curling’s interim CEO Vincent Bryson said the governing body “wholeheartedly” supports any route that allows Perth Curling, which is based at the Dewars Centre, to continue there.

He said: “We would obviously like to see curling continue in Perth, but we also recognize the difficulty of the situation Perth & Kinross and Live Active Leisure find themselves in, as we all do during this unprecedented cost of living crisis.

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“The legacy of curling in Perth is of course unique and as a curling powerhouse in Scotland, Perth has played a crucial role in collecting international medals, but also in providing an entry point for so many people when they started their curling journey in Dewars .

“We wholeheartedly support any route for Perth Curling to continue at Dewars and look forward to the opportunity to consult with the P&K Council on any future infrastructure developments for the benefit of the sport and the legacy of the sport within to celebrate from P&K.”

The proposal to close the Dewars Center is understood to have been made during a briefing to councilors ahead of a meeting last week where they agreed the 2023/24 budget session for Perth and Kinross Council.

HeraldScotland: Olympic curling champion Eve Muirhead started her career on the ice rinkOlympic curling champion Eve Muirhead started her career on the ice rink

Live Active Leisure chairman David Maclehose has since confirmed that the leisure provider has “difficult choices to make from a wide range of savings proposals”.

The board will meet on March 16 to decide how to proceed.

He said: “We acknowledge and welcome the decision of the Perth & Kinross Council to withdraw the proposed 4% reduction in the company’s contract fee and provide £110,000 in additional funding support. Unfortunately, while this decision will no doubt help the company with its financial challenges, it does not completely eliminate -long-term constraints on public finances.

“The venues we manage and operate use a lot of energy and as such the increases in energy costs have had a major financial impact in just the last 18 months.

“In response to these challenges and to ensure we can operate sustainably, the company must make difficult choices from a multitude of savings proposals.

“The company’s board of directors will meet on March 16 to determine final course of action. Further updates will be provided after this date. In the meantime, we will continue to work with the Perth & Kinross Council to ensure there is a common approach to tackling these challenges.” Perth: Fears Scotland’s ‘curling capital’ could be left without a rink

Russell Falcon

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