Three men stand holding ribbon behind person in wheelchair beside accessibility ramp

The Pembroke Curling Centre underwent renovations, adding a new ramp and an accessible washroom. These updates were unveiled on Oct. 22 and were made possible by a $150,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. From the left are Pembroke Mayor Mike Lemay, John Yakabuski, MPP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, and Curling Club President Bill Cheliak. In the front is Teagan Harvey. He was the first to officially use the newly installed ramp. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

Curling Centre adds new ramp, washroom

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday November 18, 2021

Recently completed renovations have made the Pembroke Curling Centre fully accessible.

A ramp was added to the building, and the bathroom was upgraded to allow people of all abilities to use it with ease and comfort. The addition blends in seamlessly with the building.

“The architect worked really hard to make this look like it’s always been here, and from the outside, it is a very attractive addition,” said Curling Club President Bill Cheliak.

The upgrade was made possible due to an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant worth just under $150,000.

Organizers planned for the construction to take a year, but issues arose during the construction. Due to the pandemic, the availability of supplies was low, and some parts were delayed by weeks. The entire project took an additional approximately ten weeks to complete, and the city chose to provide some funds to help relieve fixed operating costs.

The remodeling was completed just in time for the curling season.

Despite the challenges, members of the Curling Club are pleased to see the results, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Our curling is up and going, and all of our leagues are open,” said Cheliak, pointing out that people are just happy to get back on the ice.

The ramp and accessible washroom were officially unveiled on Oct. 22.

The club’s members, City of Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay and John Yakabuski, MPP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, attended the event. They were invited to cut the ribbon with the help of Teagan Harvey, who was the first to officially use the newly installed ramp.

Yakabuski was at the club to announce the grant in 2020, and returned to see how things looked. He was very impressed with the renovations.

“It is something that we must be so aware of today, making all forms of activities and enjoyment accessible to the full population,” said the MPP. “Years ago it wasn’t even thought about.”

Canada’s population is aging, and many disabilities are invisible, so buildings must keep upgrading and renovating to be fully accessible to everyone.

“We want to further our ability to be part of the local community and this accessibility is just one thing,” he Cheliak. “We have additional projects that we are coming up with... There will be some pretty interesting events coming up.”