By James McCarthy – Northern News Services

INUVIK – It’s all systems go for the Inuvik Curling Club this season, but for how long?

The club is currently in the midst of trying to find enough funds to help cover the costs of operations for this season. As it stands, the club is facing a shortfall of nearly $70,000, a problem club president Nick Saturnino said could have been alleviated if the club were able to operate a series of bingos, something it had done in the past.

“If we get a bingo series every six months, I wouldn’t be here tonight,” he said to Inuvik’s councillors during a committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 21.

Saturnino and Sara Brown, the town’s senior administrative officer, met on Sept. 22 to discuss the issue further. On Sept. 23, at the council’s regular meeting, Saturnino presented a recommendation to council in the hopes of solving the club’s problems, a reprieve of sorts, he said.

“We said we would pay $30,000 right now and then one of three things would happen,” he said. “First, we would meet with the council to discuss a new lease arrangement. Second, the club would sit down to come up with new ways to generate new revenue streams, or we would ask the town to consider changing the process in which bingos are awarded.”

Saturnino said under the old system, he was able to go and pick out a series of dates in which to host bingos.

“I would go and find dates and book them,” he said. “The money we made through those bingos gave us the funds we would need for the season. I would then wait 10 to 12 months, and do it all over again. We tried to hold six months worth of bingos over an 18-month period.”

The process for awarding bingos had been changed through a by-law passed by town council a year ago, said Brown.

“We wanted to try and keep it fair for everyone,” she said. “We had 260 requests for this year and we only have 115 spots.”

Brown countered Saturnino’s offer with one which would also allow the club to pay a fixed amount, but would give the town a little more control.

“They would pay $25,000 over six months, with the provision of us assuming control of the lounge and offering it up as a regular venue for groups to rent, including the curling club itself” she said. “We would also get half of their locker room area, with the club being given two events per year at no charge to them.”

There was no decision made by council at the meeting on the 23rd as council members voted to defer a decision until the next meeting at the earliest. The club is also holding off on a decision until a meeting with club membership, which is set to take place tonight at the club.

As of right now, Saturnino said it’s business as usual.

“We will start on time as planned,” he said. “We can continue right now and as much as we want our proposal to be approved, the town has made one also, so we’ll see what the members have to say.”Brown said the hope is to bring the matter to a happy ending.

“We want to make this work,” she said. “We don’t want to see the club in dire straits and we want people to keep curling.”

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