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Arena and Curling rink out of ice for the foreseeable future

We hope to have ice ready for users in January 2024; Lewis Jones
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The Village of Burns Lake announced last week that the Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena and curling rink will not be available for ice sports for the foreseeable future.

On Friday, Aug. 25, it was determined that the arena chiller had suffered a critical failure even though the plant started without issues and staff began to build the ice surface on Aug. 21.

The plant was shut down due to a Freon refrigerant leak inside the chiller. It is suspected that an internal defect is the root cause of this failure.

Staff are working diligently with a refrigeration contractor to ensure the replacement is completed as quickly as possible.

“We are working with our refrigeration contractor from Prince George to source a new chiller,” Lewis Jones Director of Recreation Services, Village of Burns Lake said.

The rough estimate for the equipment is $250,000 for supply and installation.

The ice plant cannot operate in its current state, and the chiller will need to be replaced.

There will be a significant delay for the start of hockey, skating and curling seasons.

Ice sport bookings and programs in the arena and curling rink are cancelled until repairs are completed.

Recreation staff will be scheduling dry-floor activities, and dry-floor bookings in the arena.

The curling rink will not be available until the ice can go back in.

The chiller was last replaced in 2016 with the rest of the plant when it was converted to a Freon plant; the expected replacement timeline of this equipment is generally over 15-20 years.

From September through December 2022, revenue from the arena bookings, curling bookings, and associated programs were around $45,000. “We expected this year to be similar,” Jones said.

There will be a hold off for seasonal hiring and casual arena staff. There is also a vacant full-time position which will be deferred until the ice is ready.

“We hope to have ice ready for users in January 2024,” Jones said. Staff will examine extension of the season if it is operationally feasible.