The regional district says trace amounts of ammonia leaked from a cooling facility outside Strathcona Gardens but that it posed no risk to staff and the public. File photo

Arena services partially resume after ammonia leak in Campbell River

Strathcona Gardens planning to make facility ‘ammonia-free’ in 2019

An ammonia leak caused staff to close one of the arenas at Strathcona Gardens during the weekend, but services partially resumed on Tuesday, according to officials.

Staff shut down an outdoor cooling plant after finding that it was leaking “trace amounts of ammonia” on Saturday, according to a statement from the Strathcona Regional District (SRD).

The SRD said the leak didn’t pose a health or safety hazard, but that it’s taking every precaution to address the problem.

“The facility’s ammonia-detection alarms were not triggered as the trace amounts did not present a risk to staff and the public,” according to the Dec. 3 statement. “No one was injured, and authorities have been notified.”

The closure doesn’t affect the Rod Brind’amour Arena – the main rink at the Strathcona Gardens – where the Campbell River Storm is slated to play against the Victoria Cougars on Friday night.

Staff noticed issues with the cooling plant on Saturday, and found that ammonia was leaking from an evaporative condenser tower located outside the recreational complex. The plant was “immediately taken out of service,” according to the SRD.

Factors including cold weather meant that some activities took place at Arena 2 on Tuesday, said Koreen Gurak, facility manager for Strathcona Gardens

“With it being a bit of a deep freeze outside, we are able to keep that ice cool and we are running at a reduced capacity on Arena 2,” she said. “Very few things have been affected.”

Staff are also using a compressor to cool the ice and constantly monitoring ice temperatures, she said.

The district hopes Arena 2 will be fully operational within the next week. The ice is expected to remain open until the end of March, Gurak said.

READ MORE: Aging cooling system behind B.C. fatal ammonia leak needed replacing in 2010

READ MORE: Fernie mourns after fatal ammonia leak

She said the facility is communicating with users to let them know whether activities will go forward as normally scheduled.

“We’ll be in daily communication as it goes until we get the temporary plant, which is set to be shipped by the end of the week, and hopefully up and running by next week,” she said.

She added that users could contact the facility or check the website of the Strathcona Gardens and the complex’s Facebook page for updates.

SRD staff also said updates would be posted on the regional district’s website and social media channels.

The SRD plans to make Strathcona Gardens “ammonia free” by switching to a carbon dioxide cooling system in the next year, said Victoria Smith, manager of strategic initiatives for the SRD.

She said that money for the project is coming from the Strategic Priorities Fund of the Federal Gas Tax, a levy charged on every litre of fuel at the pump.

Smith added that the SRD is “trying to minimize impacts to users, and thank goodness we’ve got a longer term solution already well in place.”

The new system is being installed ahead of the 2019 ice season, during the facility’s annual shut-down period, and ice generally opens in mid-August, according to Gurak.

Concern about cooling systems using ammonia mounted following fatalities in the B.C. community of Fernie last year. Three men died in October 2017 following an ammonia release at the Fernie Memorial Arena.

The workers were carrying out maintenance on ice-making equipment when the fatal incident took place, according to a report released in August by WorkSafeBC.

@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Take a tour of the holiday lights in Campbell River

Brighten up your holiday season this year with the Lights Tour in… Continue reading

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Design work for seismic upgrade of John Hart Dam continues

BC Hydro’s planned seismic upgrades to the John Hart Dam are targeted… Continue reading

Residents escape fire in Campbell River mobile home

CR Firefighters respond to mobile home fire this morning. No injuries reported.… Continue reading

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Most Read