The AV Multiplex is one of the 65-70 percent of municipal ice facilities in Canada that use similar ammonia-based cooling system to freeze indoor ice rinks. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Ammonia leak closes Port Alberni hockey rink

Technical Safety BC forces shutdown of ice plant

An ammonia leak has forced the City of Port Alberni to close the Alberni Valley Multiplex until further notice.

A low-level ammonia leak was detected in the Multiplex’s ice plant refrigeration system on Tuesday, Nov. 5. All programs and services at the Multiplex have been cancelled and the facility will remain closed until further notice, City Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Tim Pley noted in a press release.

“The City of Port Alberni takes its responsibility of being prepared for ammonia leaks in its facilities very seriously and staff followed the appropriate procedures to ensure everyone’s safety,” Pley said.

“While it is unfortunate knowing that this shutdown will impact so many user groups at the Multiplex, the City supports Technical Safety BC’s decision in the interest of everyone’s safety. The City will continue to do everything in its power to repair the leak efficiently so programs and services at the Multiplex may resume.”

Accent Refrigeration Systems, the company responsible for the City’s ice plant maintenance, is on- site and has located the leak in a weld on a manufactured flange in the piping system. The City is working closely with Accent Refrigeration, WorkSafe BC and Technical Safety BC, to address the leak in a safe and timely manner; however, out of concern for public safety, Technical Safety BC has issued an order that the Multiplex ice plant be deactivated resulting in the closure.

The city expects the Multiplex to be closed for at least one week, “maybe longer,” Pley said.

The city is working with user groups to spread the word about the shutdown, and “will work with those affected to mitigate the impacts of the service interruption.”

The Midget Rep Bulldogs’ hockey team was scheduled to host its annual Remembrance Day hockey tournament from Nov. 9–11. Eleven teams from out of town were scheduled to compete along with the home team.

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ B.C. Hockey League team was also scheduled to host two home games this Friday, Nov. 8 and Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Multiplex. No information was available on whether the tournament and games would be rescheduled.