The ice floor of the arena at the Castlegar & District Community Complex will be replaced in 2023 to address brine leaks that have been occurring over the last few years. The work to replace the ice floor will require the closure of the arena for approximately six months, but will be timed to have the least impact on ice users as possible.
“The replacement of the floor is being planned for spring/summer of 2023, so we can minimize the impact of the closure on ice users,” said Joe Chirico, General Manager of Community Services at the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK). “The full plan for the work, including timing, will be developed in the coming months. We will advise ice users of any impacts when we know more.”
“The Castlegar and District Recreation Commission understands the importance of the ice arena and will work closely with the facility staff and management to try and minimize the inconvenience with all the user groups,” said Dan Rye, Chair of the Castlegar and District Recreation Commission. “This is a necessary repair that when completed will have the arena floor ready to use for years to come.”
The ice may come out earlier than normal in March, and the 2023 ice season could potentially start later than normal—in mid-September/early October versus the end of August. The Pioneer Arena ice season may be extended in lieu of any reductions in the Castlegar Arena ice season, weather permitting. For the 2022-2023 ice season, any leaks or repairs will be managed as needed to lessen the impacts on ice users.
The brine leaks may be a sign of arena floor failure due to age. The arena floor was installed in 1976, and has been in operation since then. The floor has performed well, but it has surpassed its intended life of approximately 35-40 years. Brine (a non-toxic salt water solution) is the refrigerant that flows through pipes embedded in the concrete. When these pipes leak, the cooling capacity is lost until the pipes can be repaired. Staff have made numerous repairs to leaking brine lines, primarily in the floor at the east end of the arena where the brine lines exit through the board footings.
“Until the new cooling floor is installed, new or worsening leaks may still occur, and more signs of floor failure may emerge that would require additional repair or remediation,” said Chirico. “This could potentially lead to ice closures or may affect the timing of the floor replacement. We will continue to monitor the arena floor carefully in the coming months and, if anything occurs, we will communicate with arena users and the public about any changes in service.”
Based on the RDCK’s analysis and the recommendation from refrigeration consultants, the Castlegar & District Recreation Commission had originally directed staff to include the cost of the floor replacement in the 2022 Financial Plan. After further discussion, the Commission decided to move the floor replacement to 2023. This decision is based on the performance of the leak fixes to date, and also to ensure the replacement work doesn’t impact ice users more than necessary.
The floor replacement will take approximately six months. The budget for the work is projected to be $1.65 million, including engineering, construction and project management costs, and will be tendered through a competitive process.