timberland nellie boot Ammonia refrigeration systems in local ice rinks
ice rink has shifted the safety concerns of a nation away from the occasional brutal physicality of hockey to the backroom refrigeration systems of arenas. 17 killed three men, two of them city employees and one a refrigeration specialist.
The incident is still under investigation and has prompted facility managers from coast to coast to review their own safety protocols and infrastructure.
think everybody is taking a second look, said Paul Barnable, Leamington director of development and planning services. did a review. We compliant but we want to be more than compliant. the majority of arenas in Essex County, the twin pads at the Leamington Kinsmen Recreation Complex use an ammonia refrigeration system to create and maintain ice.
The six year old Libro Centre in Amherstburg is the only local arena not using ammonia.
will never have the issue that Fernie did, said Sandy Lindsay, Amherstburg manager of municipal facilities.
Mark Masanovich, manager of facilities for the Town of LaSalle, is shown in the section of the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex where liquid ammonia is pumped through pipes for rink refrigeration.
The Libro uses freon gas and glycol in its refrigeration system.
All other arenas in Essex County use ammonia which is the prevailing system for more than 80 per cent of the ice rinks in Ontario, according to Daniel Giguere, a refrigeration expert for the federal Ministry of Natural Resources.
it is very important for people to be informed, for people to have the training necessary to reduce the risk of a major leak, Giguere said. workers are the first guys exposed to the risk. survey of protocols at local arenas reveals an extensive list of safety measures including locked doors, sometimes double doors to refrigeration rooms, warning gauges, red lights and siren systems, exhaust fans and evacuation plans.
safe for the public, said Mark Masanovich, LaSalle manager of facilities overseeing the Vollmer Centre. since the system is separated, ventilated and contained in an explosion proof room. Mensour, Windsor executive director of recreation and culture,
said trained staff monitor the gauges that determine the amount of ammonia in the air. If it registers above 25 parts per million, no one would enter the room and the refrigeration contractor would be called in. If it registered above 95, the horn and strobe lights would activate and the entire facility would be evacuated.
Aging infrastructure is a huge concern for Terry Piche, the technical director for the Ontario Recreation Facilities Association.
been saying for 10 years that the recreation industry is the next Walkerton, a situation where a significant loss of life forced a shift to the way we been doing our operations, Piche said.
A liquid ammonia sign is shown at the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex.
Piche said too many communities are living with arenas and refrigeration plants that are 50 to 60 years old.
Many in Ontario were funded and built through the old Wintario lottery program but now buildings are in the last stages of their life cycle, Piche said. can put a coat of paint on it and a new roof but it the veins that scare us, the piping that 60 years old, the electrical that 60 years old. Fernie Memorial Arena was built in 1960. oldest arenas in Essex County are Harrow, at approximately 40 to 50 years old, and the original ice pad at South Windsor Arena and Adie Knox, both 46 years old.
Doug Sweet, the director of community services for Essex, said Harrow refrigeration plant was upgraded with new components five years ago through a federal infrastructure grant.
Kingsville (1974) and Tecumseh (1994) have the next oldest ice rinks while the area has six arenas less than 20 years old in Leamington (2000), LaSalle (2008), the WFCU Centre (2008), Essex (2010), Amherstburg (2011) and Lakeshore (2014).
Terry Fink is a veteran rink rat. He retired last year after 15 years as the director of culture and recreation for LaSalle and now serves as Lakeshore manager of recreation and leisure.
public is safe, he said. look at a lot of these places and they have pools as well. Ammonia and chlorine are high on our lookout. These systems are sophisticated, computerized and alarmed. Everybody has been drilled on safety and public safety. still plays recreational hockey himself.
Mark Masanovich, manager of facilities for the Town of LaSalle,
checks over the refrigeration system at the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex in LaSalle.