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

Just Posted

World’s largest hockey stick getting new lights

New lighting system can change colours and patterns

VIDEO: Strong cast tells the story of how justice solves all problems in ‘Measure for Measure’

Plenty of passion with dollops of comedy to leaven the story as Shakespeare Festival continues

Sarah Simpson Column: Good deeds save the day

Is it fair to call it the dog days of summer? I… Continue reading

Driver airlifted after head-on crash on TCH in Duncan Friday

Two people were seriously injured in a head-on crash on the TCH in Duncan yesterday night.

Join the fun at Rotary’s Ogilvie memorial golf tournament Aug. 23

Besides golfing with friends, you are helping fund worthwhile programs

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Most Read