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Strathcona Gardens may go electric with new Zamboni

The Strathcona Regional District board may re-open this year’s budget in order to buy a brand-new, electric zamboni for Strathcona Gardens.

Regional district staff have been pursuing options to replace the current ice resurfacer which is at the end of its life expectancy and are recommending the board purchase a more expensive, but more efficient model.

Lorne Parker, operations manager at Strathcona Gardens, said to buy a battery powered machine will cost $21,000 more than what was budgeted in the current financial plan.

But he added that the savings will more than make up for the extra dollars.

“The new electric ice machines use about 25 cents worth of energy per flood, compared with $3-$3.50 for propane or natural gas machines,” Parker wrote in a report to the regional district board. “On a full charge, the electric machines can handle approximately 30 rink floods.”

Parker said the zamboni will complete, on average, 2,000 ice cleans per year and at a savings of $3.25 per clean, that will work out to $6,500 each year in savings. At the end of the zamboni’s 10-year life expectancy, that will work out to a savings of $65,000.

The electric zamboni runs on a battery that is good for five years and costs $10,000 to replace.

Parker said going electric will also help reduce maintenance costs.

“The main consideration with electric models is the reduction in operating expenses,” Parker wrote. “Repair and maintenance costs for electric machines are significantly less.”

The electric zamboni is catching on and has been used in several communities across B.C. since 2007.

The Strathcona Regional District board will vote Thursday whether it will follow suit.

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