(File Photo)

Due to costs, Prince Rupert will continue to use ammonia at arena

Terrace curling rink received provincial funds to switch to Freon-based system

The Jim Ciconne Civic Centre arena will continue be cooled using ammonia systems for the foreseeable future.

At the Dec.10 City of Prince Rupert council meeting, council voted to approve proposed schedules of capital works and capital purchases. Among those approved works projects was the installation and upgrades of chlorine and ammonia ventilation systems in the city’s recreation complex.

Veronika Stewart, communications manager for the city, said that upgrades to ammonia cooling systems were mandated across B.C. after the fatal ammonia leak in Fernie in late 2017. The city developed design and cost estimates for those upgrades in July in response to these requirements.

“This project was initiated as an upgrade to the existing system, rather than a full replacement, so at this time it is cost-prohibitive to consider a full replacement of the system,” said Stewart, in an emailed statement. “When the system is slated for replacement, the city will definitely explore all alternatives to ammonia.”

In Terrace, the curling club found a means to replace its ice-making system with an ammonia-free alternative.

“Because of the unknown of the regulations and safety concerns of ammonia, we decided to be done with ammonia and move on with a Freon plant,” said Germain Francoeur, curling club board member. “The risk was just too high.”

However, the cost to replace the system is also high — approximately $200,000 for a Freon-based system. The club applied for a provincial grant and in November, they were notified that the province would cover 60 per cent of the costs.

Prince Rupert experienced the risks of an ammonia-based system on July 4, when a 68-kilogram gas cylinder of ammonia being stored in a 20-foot green metal shipping container outside of the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre leaked, sending two individuals to the hospital.

A later inspection by WorkSafeBC found multiple failures in how the ammonia, a hazardous material, was stored at the complex. These failures included the tank’s location, lack of ventilation and lighting, not being secured enough to prevent falling and lack of appropriate inventory.

“Prince Rupert’s July incident was isolated,” Stewart said in her statement. “…Following the incident, WorkSafe and Safety BC have signed off on the storage procedure of all remaining ammonia on site, and the city has put into place a hazardous materials inventory to prevent future incident.”

With files from Brittany Gervais

READ MORE: Two taken to hospital after ammonia leak at recreation center

READ MORE: Inspection report reveals multiple failures in Prince Rupert ammonia leak



newsroom@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

STORY, PHOTOS & VIDEO: Brand new wrestling mats on display at Charles Hays

Team no longer has to grapple with hard surfacing and soreness thanks to generous donations

Immediate deal to reinstate AMHS in Prince Rupert not out of the question: Mayor Brain

B.C., Alaska officials fail to sign ferry deal in Juneau to reinstate service from Ketchikan

B.C., Alaska officials fail to reach ferry deal

Alaska Marine Highway System ferry service to Prince Rupert is scheduled to end Sept. 30

‘It affects everybody:’ Trudeau’s brownface photos worry Wet’suwet’en chief

Skeena-Bulkley Valley Liberal candidate declines to comment on prime minister’s indiscretion

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Ombusman’s specific concerns re-surface in wake of bus crash that killed two students

Most Read