The Kimberley Civic Centre may soon see a major re-vamp to the ice surface and boards if the City is successful with receiving a grant application that was recently approved at City Council.
The City of Kimberley is applying to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s Community, Culture and Recreation program grant for the replacement of the refrigeration slab and brine lines, boards and glass system at the Civic Centre.
Brett Clark, Manager of Parks and Facilities says the project is long overdue, and the City has been waiting for this specific grant to “come down the pipeline” for some time now.
“With the addition of the new north wall and other upgrades [that] the Civic Centre has seen in the recent years, this will be the one that’s going to put that building over the top and make it pretty much like new,” said Clark. “It will be huge for the community.”
Clark estimates that if the grant is received, construction would begin in April of 2020 and be complete by September; the next hockey season.
“We’ll work with the KIJHL, Dynamiters, Minor Hockey and Selkirk Grad to let them know that from April to Sept, that window [in the] summer of 2020 there will be construction,” said Clark.
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program funding covers 73.33 per cent of eligible project costs, so the City would need to contribute the remaining 26.67 per cent ($320,040 of $1.2 million).
Clark adds that the current refrigeration slab is the original from 1959, making it 60 years old.
“The usual lifespan is roughly 25 to 30 years,” said Clark. “The current board and glass system has also passed its expected lifespan, and both are constantly in need of structural reinforcement and repair.”
The expected lifespan of the new refrigeration concrete slab is also approximately 25 to 30 years, after which time the concrete slab becomes susceptible to lifting and cracking as a result of sub-surface heaving of the frozen ground, says Clark.
Not only will this improvement better the ice sports that take place at the civic centre, but it will allow for other indoor summer sports to take place as well.
“A level and safe cement slab would allow for [summer sports such as] lacrosse, indoor soccer, pickle ball and other sports and events,” he said. “New boards would also benefit events and festivals such as the Selkirk High School graduation.
“Each spring the stairway sections of arena boards are removed to provide emergency exits. A new board system would include proper entry/exit gates at proper locations which would reduce the amount of labour needed to prepare for grad ceremonies and other events.”
Furthermore, Clark adds, a new refrigeration slab and brine lines would also help reduce energy consumption and overall operating costs.
“The thickness of ice and the concrete slab beneath it are critical factors in refrigeration efficiency. Both the ice and the concrete act as insulators, resisting the transfer of heat to the refrigeration system,” he explained. “Excessive ice thickness will increase compressor load and energy costs. The ticker the ice and concrete, the harder it is for the refrigeration system to maintain a desired ice surface temperature.”
Finally, the project would also see some improvements by way of the shape of the ice.
“Right now we have pretty much square corners, so this will allow us also to get that round corner back,” Clark said. “We’ve also looked at two possibilities, either keep the ice at the size it’s at now, or going to the traditional NHL size ice, although it would be tight.”