The Terrace Curling Club has received $120,000 in capital project funding from the province to install a brand new, ammonia free ice-making system.
“I was over the moon with the news,” says Germain Francoeur, club board member. “We’re a nonprofit, so every dollar saved is important. To get funding of that magnitude is like a life-saver for our club.”
An inspection of the 25-year old plant found it no longer met provincial regulations Francoeur says, and the association had to make a decision before reopening this year. Either pay $100,000 to fix the existing system, or spend $200,000 for a brand new Freon-based system.
“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,” he says. “The risk was just too high.”
To help mitigate costs, the association applied for the provincial grant and was approved earlier this month. The funding will cover approximately 60 per cent of the replacement’s total cost.
“That essentially knocks down the loan that we had to take out for the new plant. Instead of our payback being over 10-15 years, it’s down to three,” says Francoeur, president of the Terrace Curling Club.
Although the ammonia-based system is less expensive to run, Francoeur says he believes the upgrade will be a more cost-effective and safer decision in the long term.
“It costs us a little bit more to run with your day-to-day, but replacement costs or equipment failure was cheaper down the road. We were looking at the big picture five, ten years from now.”
The association hired local business Tri-City Refrigeration to gut their entire existing plant back in August, and the plant arrived in September. There’s ice in the arena already, but Francoeur says the full installation should be fully complete by December.