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Fernie tragedy prompts $259,000 fix for Castlegar arena

Safety concerns prompted staff to take the 22-year-old plate-and-frame chiller out of service.

Regional district staff in Castlegar are hard at work trying to complete the installation of vital new equipment in the arena before hockey season begins this fall, according to recreation director Jim Crockett.

Results of an investigation, released yesterday, into the death of three men after an ammonia leak at the Fernie Memorial Arena on Oct. 17, 2017 point to equipment failure and operational decisions as the cause of the tragedy – a tragedy which prompted Castlegar Complex staff to examine their own equipment.

“We took apart our chiller and … found we couldn’t put it back in service,” Crockett said, adding the commission looked at a variety of different options and settled on purchasing a new one.

The chiller being replaced is 22 years old.

On July 19, the RDCK board approved a recommendation from the Castlegar and District Recreation Commission to purchase and install a plate-and-frame chiller and conduct associated refrigeration work at the Castlegar and District Community Complex arena. Canada West Refrigeration was awarded the $259,796contract.

“(The new chiller) is more efficient and has a smaller ammonia charge, so there’s a safety component as well,” said Crockett. “We’re working hard to try to ensure we have the arena open in time this season.”

 

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