Bowls Manitoba is now the proud owner of a purpose built indoor lawn bowling surface. Making that happen was a multi layered effort involving many hours and many members. None more so than Gerry Chudrick. We owe him a great debt of gratitude for his leadership and his dogged determination in seeing this through. Below, in his own words, is Gerry’s account of “how we got here”. Great job Gerry!!!
Linden Ridge LBC and how we got here
Linden Ridge Lawn Bowling Club (formerly Gateway LBC) and its Triples League would never have moved forward without the efforts and commitment of our extraordinary volunteer base. It’s important that we take a step back and look at what it took for all of us to continue a triples league during the winter months on a surface more favourable to competitive indoor bowling. In 2017 a new playing surface was installed at Gateway Recreation Centre to accommodate soccer. Although the new surface was challenging for bowlers it did not provide them with the sense that skill development and/or enhancement could be optimized. A year prior, then convenor Jerome Kirby was informed by Gateway management that this would be the new reality. At the time, Jerome, Elaine Jones and I were given the opportunity to look at the type of playing surface to be installed. Once it was installed, it became obvious to us that we needed to find an alternative site and surface better suited to indoor bowling. During the 2017/18 season many individuals took it upon themselves to visit different locations that were used for soccer. It became apparent that all sites that could accommodate indoor lawn bowling had already transitioned to turf surfaces similar to that being used at Gateway Recreation Centre. Large gymnasiums now became the focal point. This also underscored the need for us to purchase our own carpet not unlike that used at Sergeant Tommy Prince Place. So in 2018/19 Elaine Jones and others began the process of looking into purchasing indoor lawn bowling carpet and a suitable location that could accommodate indoor lawn bowling.
It became apparent that carpet produced for indoor lawn bowling was not available in North America. Gerry Moore, Treasurer, Bowls Manitoba Inc., was tasked with finding suitable bowling carpet from overseas. Gerry and I, with the help of others who provided location suggestions, scoured the City for a gymnasium big enough to meet our needs. One potential space was in the Jonathon Toews Sportsplex. Meetings with management were arranged and negotiations as to rental and storage prices occurred. At around the same time, it came to our attention that the New Horizons for Seniors Program could provide us with the means to purchase indoor lawn bowling carpet. Over the course of meetings and communication with Jonathon Toews Sportsplex management, the rental cost, time limitations and scheduling offered were unacceptable. This prompted us to look at other options that would be affordable, accommodating and open to our becoming a tenant. This led us to Soul Sanctuary in the spring of 2019 as the only facility with the gymnasium of a size that met our needs. In early 2018, Gerry Moore had found two carpet suppliers one in England and the other in Scotland. Samples of carpeting and price quotes from both companies were secured. Meetings followed with Elaine Jones, Brian Kullman, John Bjornson, Gerry Moore and myself to determine the most appropriate carpet for our needs. In the summer of 2018 with the carpet selected, an application was submitted to the New Horizons for Seniors Program to assist Bowls Manitoba Inc. in the purchase of indoor lawn bowling carpets. The proposal request was for $25,000.00. Later an application for additional funding was submitted to the Canada Summer Games Legacy Fund which resulted in Bowls Manitoba Inc. receiving $3,000.00 toward purchase and shipping costs.
We were very fortunate to find Soul Sanctuary as our new location for the Indoor Triples League. The organization was very welcoming and accommodating from the start. However, our rental arrangement was contingent on us working with them to free up the required storage space for the carpets. The issue was that Soul Sanctuary had numerous rolls of carpeting used for church services and other functions that required stacking if we were to find the required space. There was no way that they could pile up their carpets manually in order to make room for us. I started an extensive search for a carpet mover that could stack and move carpets and located one at DJ Products in Minnesota. They had a device called a “carpet caddy” that could easily move and stack the Soul Sanctuary carpeting. It could also facilitate moving our large carpets to other areas of the building when necessary. Once Soul Sanctuary learned that their needs could be met it led to our rental agreement for the 2019/2020 season. I don’t believe that everything I’ve related so far tells you the full story. For starters, when the carpet caddy arrived it was in a wooden crate that needed to be dismantled by Brian Kullman, John Bjornson and Bob Arthur. When the carpets arrived we needed to rent a forklift driven by Bob Van Walleghem to transfer the carpet from the shipping container to our carpet caddy and then onto our five trolleys. The trolleys were built by Gerry Moore and we rented a cargo van from Home Depot to transport them from his home to Soul Sanctuary. Gerry Moore, Brenda Frank, John Bjornson, Brian Kullman, Bob Arthur and Bob Van Walleghem were there to help stow away the carpets in the space we prepared for them.All of this could not have happened without the support of the Board of Directors of Bowls Manitoba Inc. and the bowling club representatives who supported and approved setting aside the money to facilitate all of this happening. A special thanks to Cathy Derewianchuk, Executive Director, Bowls Manitoba Inc. who worked hard to keep the paper work moving and wire money to our suppliers in foreign currencies. There are many individuals not mentioned here who volunteered their time and contributed to this endeavor. I extend a thanks to you all. In this case it really did take a village to keep our triples league moving forward and I had the privilege of seeing the entire project unfold from start to finish.