August 29th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 35
Mandatory ice plant repairs delay sports complex opening
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
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Pass Herald Reporter
Imminent repairs to the ice plant at the Coleman Sports Complex means rink opening will be delayed until at least Oct. 1.

A report created by Gateway Mechanical Services determined that in order to safely operate the ice plant for the upcoming season, it would need to undergo immediate repairs and recommended complete replacement of the plant for the 2019-2020 season.

Council approved the repairs, costing between $50,000 to $70,000 to be funded from reserves, and will be discussing the purchase of a new plant during the 2019 budget process in the coming weeks. A new ice plant is expected to cost $800,000.

The skating rink is expected to be operational as of Oct. 1 and the curling rink a week later.

At a meeting on Aug. 23, some councillors expressed their displeasure at spending so much money on a single-season “Band-Aid” fix, but the two other options presented substantial risk of losing an entire season, which would inconvenience groups that currently use the facility.
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The other options presented to Council were to not offer ice services until a new plant is installed at an undetermined time in the future, or to install the new $800,000 plant immediately, delaying opening until January 1, 2019. However, neither option was not recommended by Administration. For the latter scenario, January 1 would only be a target date and delays much longer were possible.

"When I look at community services, the arena is probably the highest priority of any service that we provide to the community. None of us like spending this kind of money on a short-term basis but in my mind, I don't think we have a choice. We should be proceeding as soon as possible to carry out the fix. That's the reason we budget for reserves, is to address issues like this one,” said Councillor Gord Lundy.

Councillors also expressed that did not wish to rush the purchase process for a new plant. If Council were to approve a new plant purchase immediately, it would give administration less time to vet other systems and invest time and research into a plant that would be the most cost-effective, long-lasting and efficient option.

The new plant would be located outside and the old plant would be decommissioned. The municipality will be investigating the possibility of installing an ammonia-free plant.
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According to a report prepared by the municipality, approximately 14,000 user days will be lost with the late opening of the complex. The facility is currently used for various hockey programs, bookings by schools and other institutions, figure skating, public skating and private rentals.

Following the tragic ammonia leak that killed three people at the Fernie Memorial Arena in October 2017, the municipality started to take a hard look at their own facility. A full-scale ammonia alarm test event was conducted and industry experts were brought in to create an Ammonia Leak Safety Plan for staff and the public.

The issue spurred a bigger conversation of the need for a facility master plan, which Council will be exploring during their upcoming strategic vision planning sessions.
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August 29th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 35
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