Skaters take to the ice to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fuller Lake Arena in September. (File photo)

North Cowichan to pay $435,000 for upgrades at Fuller Lake Arena

Chiller and compressor upgrades comes after three deaths in Fernie, BC

North Cowichan will spend up to $435,000 for compressor and chiller upgrades at the Fuller Lake Arena.

Don Stewart, the municipality’s director of parks and recreation, told council at its meeting on Dec. 5 that, because of the incident in Fernie, B.C. last year in which three people died in an ammonia-related incident, a number of inspections are being conducted by Technical Safety BC on arena chillers across the province.

RELATED STORY: THREE WORKERS IDENTIFIED AS VICTIMS OF FERNIE AMMONIA LEAK

He said the inspection of the chiller, which is a key part of an arena’s refrigeration plant where the exchange of heat and cold occurs, at Fuller Lake Arena is scheduled for 2019, at a cost of approximately $75,000.

“Replacing the chiller would still proceed as planned at year 17 of its life (in 2026), based on overall life expectancy,” Stewart said.

“This inspection requirement sparked a capital plan to reduce the long-term cost of the plant, from an inspection and operating point of view, increasing efficiencies and reducing ammonia load.”

Stewart said the inspection of the current chiller at Fuller Lake Arena is a complicated, costly, process that is known to lead toward a lower life expectancy.

He said that, based on that knowledge, his department has engaged a refrigeration engineer to review the current plant design and develop a replacement plan.

The replacement plan calls for changing from a “shell and tube” chiller to a “plate and frame” one.

“This would eliminate $75,000 in operational expenses and reduce future inspections to under $10,000,” Stewart said.

“It would also increase the lifespan of the chiller from 17 years to more than 25, without the inspection affecting its life span. As well, it would also reduce our ammonia load from 600 to 330 pounds overall.”

Stewart said the plan also calls for replacing the arena’s three compressors with two highly efficient ones.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN GOES GREEN WITH ELECTRIC ICE RESURFACER

According to a report from Technical Safety B.C., released in July on the incident in Fernie, the three deaths were caused by the decision to operate an ice chilling system with a known leak.

Staff at the Fernie Memorial Arena identified a small hole in a metal tube in the arena’s ammonia-chilled heat exchanger in the summer of 2017.

The system was taken off-line until Oct. 16, when it was returned to service with the decision to monitor it.

The report states that the day after the system was brought back online, ammonia began leaking into a brine solution used to cool the arena’s ice surface, and then into the machine room creating ammonia levels well above those considered “rapidly fatal”.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lake Flashback: Museum preserves future, new hope for a pool, and a murder

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Cobble Hill man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Drivesmart column: The registered owner is responsible

Have you ever stopped to consider the risk involved in handing your keys over to someone else?

Aquatic Centre renovations starting soon

More space promised for crowded fitness and aquatic areas

Mary Lowther column: Nutrition in our food on the decline

When crops don’t contain the minerals they need, they cannot provide other nutrients we depend on.

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Most Read