Royal LePage Place, along with the adjacent Jim Lind Arena are the two ice arenas operated by the City of West Kelowna.—Image credit: contributed

Royal LePage Place, along with the adjacent Jim Lind Arena are the two ice arenas operated by the City of West Kelowna.—Image credit: contributed

West Kelowna ice-arenas safe say city staff

City council briefed in light of recent tragic ammonia leak in Fernie

In light of the recent ammonia leak at Fernie ice arena that killed three people, West Kelowna council has been briefed on the safety precautions and procedures in place at the ice arenas in West Kelowna.

The city operates two arenas, the Jim Lind Arena and Royal LePage Place, both located at the Mt. Boucherie Recreation Complex.

City staff say the ammonia refrigeration at both rinks is maintained to the highest standard and have received risk assessed facility designations from the B.C. Safety Authority. The designations are considered the leading standard in safety when it comes to maintaining, monitoring, and operating an ammonia refrigeration plant inside a community ice arena.

In addition to regular inspections by the B.C. Safety Authority, the city’s refrigeration contractor conducts monthly inspections and routine maintenance on the ice plants. City staff also conduct routine checks and fill out a detailed checklist every two hours.

Council was told earlier this week all staff are trained and have a provincially-recognized certificate, which is legislatively mandated for workers. Monitoring is done 24 hours a day and notification sent out is sent if there is a problem.

In the event of an ammonia leak, an audible and visual alarm goes off inside the rink, a signal is sent to the monitoring company and staff are notified.

A high speed fan also kicks in to help exhaust the ammonia, however, it will shut off if ammonia levels are too high and present a risk to the outside public. The arenas are located near to residential properties.

If needed, an emergency shut down button located outside the ice plant can be activated by staff. A gas monitor is mounted outside the refrigeration plant and displays the gas levels inside the plant.

Personal protective equipment is provided to staff including gas masks, eye protection and hearing protection. In the event of an emergency, the city will implement facility evacuation procedures, which all arena staff are trained to lead.

Following the Fernie accidents, Kelowna city staff reported similar precautions and procedures are in place at its arenas.

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awaters@kelownacapnews.com

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