Ice-rink ready for major work to meet guidelines

A major renovation of the curling rink in Kinross will take place this summer after funding was secured from sportscotland.

Local curlers have been in a race against time to raise enough funds to upgrade the facility before EU regulations come into force banning the type of gas used in the refrigeration plant.

Without a new plant, the ageing ice rink would be forced to close in December 2014.

With funding now in place, however, Kinross Curling Trust, the charitable body which manages the ice rink, will embark on a renovation programme immediately.

Blair Melville, chairman of Kinross Curling Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive final approval from sportscotland for a grant of £400,000.

“This, together with a grant of £125,000 from Perth and Kinross Council, grants from other organisations, and funds raised by curlers and curling clubs, means that the sport of curling is secure in Kinross for the foreseeable future.

“It was absolutely crucial that this project proceeded this year to capitalise on the upsurge in interest from the Olympics, and now future generations of curlers will have a quality facility in Kinross.”

Mr Melville paid particular tribute to local curlers and clubs, who showed how much curling means to their community by raising over £350,000 in personal donations, loans and fund-raising events.

“Money is always tight for community sports projects, but this shows just what communities can do to help themselves if the public bodies stand alongside them,” he said.

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said it was vital, following the three medals from our Olympic and Paralympic curling teams at the recent Games in Sochi, that interest in the sport was capitalised on.

“The Kinross Curling Trust put together a strong business case for investment from sportscotland, with community engagement right at the heart of that bid so we were delighted to make this award of £400,000,” he added.

“On behalf of sportscotland I wish the Trust, and the local community every success with the project and look forward to seeing the refurbished facility welcoming its first curlers onto the ice later this year.”

Improvements to be carried out include a new insulated cladding system, new plant and ice-pad, new electricity sub-station, improved dehumidification, heating and lighting and installation of a low emission ceiling.

Kinross Curling Trust has been working since 2009 towards a new or improved curling facility in Kinross.

Last year the Trust decided the way forward was to upgrade the town’s existing ice rink, built in 1977 as a leisure facility of the Green Hotel, and started leasing the four-sheet rink, now known as Kinross Curling.

The refurbishment is expected to be completed by September.