In the wake of the recent ammonia leak deaths of three workers in Fernie on October 17, Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski made a statement in the House of Commons Monday calling for changes to how public rinks do business across Canada.
Stetski took the opportunity to call on the government to coordinate an effort to replace ammonia refrigeration systems in public rinks with safer CO2 systems.
“On October 17, there was a terrible tragedy in the town of Fernie in my riding of Kootenay-Columbia. Three workers, Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alberta, lost their lives due to an ammonia leak at the municipal arena. Ninety-five residents living near the arena were evacuated from their homes for five days,” Stetski told the House of Commons.
“My heart goes out to the families of these workers who died and to the citizens of Fernie.
“It’s estimated that there are over 3,700 ice arenas and curling rinks in Canada and that 65% of them use ammonia as their refrigerant.
"Our most important role as Members of Parliament is to keep our citizens safe. I call on the federal government to work with the provinces to help municipalities phase out of ammonia based systems to ensure there are no more tragedies like the one suffered by the people of Fernie."
Two men from Fernie and one from Alberta died in the accident.
Wayne Hornquist, 59, and Lloyd Smith, 52, worked for the City of Fernie while 46-year-old Jason Podloski worked for refrigeration company CIMCO.