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Nelson ice plant in for upgrades

The Regional District of Central Kootenay will spend $117,000 fixing the ice plant at the Nelson and District Community Complex. It was installed when the facility was built in 2005. - Nelson Star file photo
The Regional District of Central Kootenay will spend $117,000 fixing the ice plant at the Nelson and District Community Complex. It was installed when the facility was built in 2005.
— image credit: Nelson Star file photo

The ice plant at Nelson’s community complex is in for some pricey upgrades. The Regional District of Central Kootenay has awarded a $117,000 contract to Cimco Refrigeration to do the work.

“We’re having technical issues,” community services manager Joe Chirico said. “It’s not working as efficiently as it possibly could.”

Chirico said the problems were first noted about two years ago. Maintenance was required three times last week alone to keep the plant running, although it has never stopped working altogether.

The unit was installed in 2005 when the arena was built and Chirico told the board it was designed by a “very competent” engineering firm, but there were problems with its installation.

Nelson alternate director Deb Kozak asked if the contractor could be held responsible even though the warranty has expired.

“Some of these deficiencies are safety concerns,” she said. “I’m wondering if there is any way we can recoup some of our costs through the original contractor.”

However, Chirico replied the original contractor is no longer in business and it would be “very difficult” to hold individuals responsible.

Some of the required work is due to changes in the building code, he added. Although a consultant identified things that can be done in-house, the job Cimco has been hired to do requires licensed refrigeration mechanics.

The arena closed over the weekend as normal and the work is expected to be completed in about a month, with the ice back in at the end of July, Chirico said. It will paid for out of a $120,000 contingency in the facility’s operating budget, meaning there will be no tax implications.

Cimco, which is headquartered in Toronto had the low bid for the project. The other bidder was Startec Refrigeration of Calgary at $222,000.

The awarding of the contract, however, brought a rebuke from Paul Cowan of Cowan’s Office Supplies, whose company was passed over to supply the regional district with new furniture despite having the lowest price by $20,000.

“The company that installed the refrigeration unit is no longer around and there is no recourse for the shortcomings of this project,” he said. “So here they are with an office furniture request for proposals where a local company that has been around for over 40 years, who will be around to support that purchase for years to come is the low bid and they don’t make the connection. The irony was not lost on me.”

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