Repairs should put Dawson Creek arenas back in action by October, mayor says

Aided and abetted by the successful conclusion last month to the region’s fair share agreement talks with the province, Dawson Creek area residents can look forward to the restoration of winter sports activities at three different facilities this fall.

Following curling rink and arena closures last year due to an ammonia leak, Mayor Dale Bumstead says a thorough structure and usage analysis was done, and it was determined all three facilities are otherwise “in solid shape for the next 20-plus years.”

“What we learned out of the analyses is we need to fix the mechanical systems, the compressors, the chillers,” Bumstead said.

“The pads themselves in all three of the facilities, where the lines run through to carry the brine to freeze, are all nearing end of life. That means in the next five to seven years, all three of them are going to need to replaced.

“The estimates we got in terms of repairing the mechanical components was about $2.5 to $3 million. The pads are going to be about another $6 million,” Bumstead continued.

“So, we have then a budget outlook of about $9 million. We’ve awarded a contract to a company for $2.2 million to do the mechanical systems. That will get our arenas, both the Memorial Arena, the Kin Arena and the curling rink, back in operation by mid to late October.

“But, what we decided to do is we’re transitioning the chillers from ammonia to Freon, and that eliminates that public hazard risk if we did have a leak,” he said.

That led to a question about adjustment decisions to the city’s five-year capital plan, which the mayor conceded were made much easier, with the signing of the new Peace River Agreement with the province.

“This was just a process of us going through our capital budgets for 2015 and re-prioritizing and saying, ‘You know what, in order to find the money to get these rinks done and the curling rink done this year, that’s a higher priority, we’ll delay those other projects to future years,'” Bumstead said.

“We now have certainty over the next 20 to 30 years of an agreement that gives us that revenue to plan for the infrastructure needs of our community in the long term.”