- Council voted against a staff recommendation to shorten the ice season, but the solution is a new ice rink, users say
- Although it has been well maintained, rink failure is imminent, staff says
By Bronwyn Scott
Published: July 9, 2013
Council recently rejected a staff suggestion to shorten the ice season to prolong the ice rink lifespan, but users say the solution is a new ice rink.
Squamish’s only ice arena was built in 1977 with a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. Although it has been well maintained, failure is imminent, district staff says.
An engineering report submitted to council last year in November suggested that reducing the length of the ice season by one month might extend the life of the floor.
According to the report, reducing the season by a month would have made frost buildup beneath the concrete slab less likely and possibly prevent the floor from heaving. [manual_related_posts]
The shorter the season, the less chance there is for frost to build up and heave the concrete slab, the report argued.
With floor damage, costly immediate repairs may negate the possibility of building a brand new rink, according to the report.
Although some ice users agreed to a shortened season, but not Squamish Skating Club and Squamish Minor Hockey.
They didn’t think it was the best solution.
“Less ice for us means less time to train.”Crystal Tress, Squamish Skating Club treasurer.
Crystal Tress’ son plays hockey and her daughter is a figure skater who, during the season, trains six days per week. Because ice time is a precious commodity in Squamish they regularly drive to Vancouver to practice.
“If you look at people that have year-round ice, you can see the difference,” said Tress.
She said a new ice rink is required and should be a council priority.
“We can’t go skate on a frozen pond in the winter because it doesn’t get cold enough here,” she said.
Already local skaters have to opt out of competitions held in May and in August because the current ice season of the Brennan Park Arena cuts their competition season short.
Furthermore, the demand for ice time is rising, new rink advocates say.
For the first time in 28 years the skating club had to close its Winter Can Skate session because it was full, Tress said.
Kids’ enrollment in hockey is also on the rise, according to Derek Cranfield, Squamish Minor Hockey Association president.
“Unfortunately we are capped at what we can grow at just because of the facility situation,” Derek Cranfield said.
Cranfield was strongly against reducing the ice season because it would have given hockey players in the community less time to develop the skill set they need to compete with other teams.
“We have a limited ice availability already within our community,” he said, adding that from 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. the ice is full.
The report recommends that the floor be replaced within four to five years for an n estimated cost of $1.2 million.
Fifty-thousand dollars has been budgeted for Brennan Park upgrade planning in 2013 and 2014, and $122,000 has been budgeted for ice slab replacement or rink replacement design in 2014.