Rosslanders will get one more good year out of the arena’s ice-making system, but big decisions need to be made.                                 File photo

Rosslanders will get one more good year out of the arena’s ice-making system, but big decisions need to be made. File photo

Repairs made to Rossland arena cooling system, ice-making underway

But costly decision still needed on long-term repairs

It’s a short-term patch job, but work on the Rossland Arena’s ice-making equipment means ice sports will continue in the city this winter.

Crews were busy making new ice in the main rink the last two weeks, after repairs were completed to the ice-making system.

“The arena ice will be ready this week,” says Darrin Albo, the City of Rossland’s operations manager. “Now we’re just building the ice so it’s up and running.”

The future of the arena was put in doubt in March, when the brine circulation system began leaking, forcing the early shutdown of the ice-making system for the curling club.

SEE: After ice-making failure, future of Rossland arena up for debate

There was no danger to the public from the brine leak, but the city faced a costly decision — to temporarily repair the cooling system, or do a complete and expensive replacement job.

The difference was spending $20,000 to $30,000 for a temporary fix, or $350,000 for the compete overall.

Council opted for the former, and struck a public committee to explore long-term options for the 80-year-old facility.

SEE: Rossland council split on arena fix

“The elbow on the end of the brine system had corroded so much it was leaking, so with a council resolution we just replaced that one piece,” says Albo. “That will get us through until this year, when we will need to make some decisions.”

The repairs ended up costing about $22,000 in total, as it required workers to pull apart the chiller, clean and flush the ammonia tubes, clean and rebuild the compressors, and do other associated maintenance work to ensure there were no other unpleasant surprises hiding in the system.

“It required a lot of work… we also do a major and minor rebuild on every compressor every year,” says Albo. “So that invoice includes the rebuilding of the compressors as well.”

The system was turned on again at the end of September, and seemed to be working well.

Albo says they’re confident the system will last for the duration of the season, but they’ll be keeping close watch.

“We’re doing additional testing of the brine system, to ensure that if one of the tubes was to start generating a minor leak, we would pick it up right away,” he says.

“For a chiller that’s 20 years old, everyone, including the engineer and refrigeration mechanic, is happy to get another year out of it.”

Ice-making for the curling-rink side of the arena is underway and that facility should be ready in a week or two.